woensdag 15 juni 2011

Signing Off: The 2010-2011 NBA Season

Bij deze mijn laatste post voor het 2010-2011 basketbal seizoen, de hoogte punten uit the Bill Simons retro diary van Game 6 van de NBA Finals. Enjoy:

1. The X-Factor:
[3rd Quarter]
10:17: Tyson Chandler misses a layup, grabs the board and puts it back in. He was tougher than any Miami frontcourt guy this series, bringing us to a rarely seen double irony: Oklahoma City nearly traded for him in February 2009, then voided the deal after giving him a physical (and lost to Chandler's team in the conference finals 28 months later); and Michael Jordan gave him to Dallas last summer for Erick Dampier's waivable contract, inadvertently giving Dallas the missing piece it needed to beat LeBron James in the Finals … you know, the guy everyone keeps saying is the next Michael Jordan. MJ really is the greatest.

2. The confrontation:
Remember when Wade tore into LeBron with three-plus minutes remaining in Game 3? When he yelled at him for eight solid seconds? When there was genuine anger in his eyes? When he did it right on the court, right in front of the other players, right in front of 20,000 fans and 10 million TV viewers?
LeBron was never the same after that.

3. The unsung hero:
Quick Marion tangent: Could you make the case that he's one of the best 100 players ever now? Regular-season career numbers: 16.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.7 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 49% FG, 81% FT, 19.7 PER (72nd all-time), 0.162 win shares per 48 mins (64th all-time). His playoff numbers weren't quite as good, but he played for two Conference Finalists in Phoenix (putting up a 20-12 for the undersized '06 Suns), then was the third-best player on the champion Mavs (and shut down the league's best player). Throw in four All-Star games and two 3rd-team All-NBA's and he's at least on the short list of Top 100 honorable-mention guys along with the likes of Chauncey Billups, Tony Parker, Bill Laimbeer, Lou Hudson, and Jack Sikma, right?

4. The King who did to little:
[3rd Quarter]
6:42: Just wanted to commemorate this moment: Miami down three, gets a rebound and gets the ball to LeBron on the right side of the key, with J.J. Barea defending him one-on-one … and LeBron turns and throws a pass 20 feet backwards to Wade at midcourt. A few seconds later, Miami gives it back to LeBron, who reluctantly backs Barea down to the low post … and bowls him over. Offensive foul. All hail the King!

5. The role player:
[3rd Quarter]
5:07: Give-and-go with Nowitzki and Cardinal for a Dirk 3. (Dallas by 6.) Exactly 72 seconds later, Cardinal correctly reads Wade's patented transition move (when he pretends to go right, then takes a hop step left) and takes a charge. That's the great thing about the Finals: Role players matter. You can't win with three guys. You need seven, at least, then you need a couple of random Brian Cardinal-type moments every game. That's why Rick Carlisle so pointedly kept mentioning "team basketball" in the postgame presser last night. You need eight or nine guys to come through to win a title. We learn this every spring. And then, we forget it every summer, fall, and winter. The 2010-11 Heat tried to buck the system. Didn't work.

6. The Facts:

Pts: 7.6 … 2.2

FG: 45% … 25%

3FG: 8-18 … 0-7


7. The irrational confidence guy:
[4th Quarter]
9:30: Terry hits a midrange jumper, giving him 24 points in 25 minutes. (Dallas by 10.) And yes, when you combine Dallas' title with Terry's play the past three games, plus the 28-footer he nailed to win Game 5, plus the fact that he tattooed the NBA trophy on his right arm before the season, it's clear that we have to rename our Irrational Confidence All-Star Team after him. Sorry, Vernon Maxwell. You had a great run. The torch has been passed.

8. The Dagger:
[4th Quarter]
3:59: LeBron orders a double hot potato, followed by a Miami turnover and Nowitzki nailing a jumper. Dallas by 10 … with Nowitzki now 7-for-24! Crisis averted! We'll remember this sequence for two things: (a) LeBron wanted no part of that possession (he couldn't get rid of the ball fast enough),9 and (b) Wade finally gave up on the other end, jogging back on D, halfheartedly standing next to Marion and not even helping on a drive. This was the same guy who patrolled the court in Games 3 and 4 with his chest sticking out like Tim Olyphant in "Justified." It's like LeBron briefly broke him. You could have stuck a fork in Miami right here.

9. The moment:
[4th Quarter]
2:27: Wade goes one-on-one and makes a banker. (We're in "every man for himself mode" now.)10 That's followed by Dallas missing twice, getting offensive rebounds both times, then Dirk hitting an impossible double-clutch stepback right in front of Miami's bench, then casually pumping his fist like Larry Bird circa 1988. Dallas by 10, timeout, Miami. Every Finals has a moment when you know it's over. This was the moment.

10. The Hero
f. On my podcast last month, Charles Barkley talked about what he called a "shit list," how he grew to dread the names on it every time they mentioned who hadn't won a title: Barkley, Karl Malone, Dan Marino, Ernie Banks, and others. He thought it was woefully unfair, saying that he learned to take the list as something of a compliment because everyone on it was great … but at the same time, seeing it always hurt, and he hated seeing other players face the end of their careers with that "shit list" guillotine looming. Dirk avoided the guillotine. We'll remember him as one of the 20 best basketball players of all time, the best European player ever, one of the best shooters ever, someone who came through when it mattered … and someone who wouldn't allow his name to end up on that list. You could even say he made a decision.

Het gehele artikel is te lezen op Grantland.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten