"The '06 NBA Playoffs"

johnsteed

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tennis_balls

The guy banged Madonna and Carmen Electra!!! (And he worked-in Madonna during a championship series at high-altitude!!!!!) So he's a shoe-in for the shagging HOF! (no word on whether he nailed Emma Peel but I certainly wouldn't put it past the man)


I wouldn't put it past him either.


So I say Rodman is a no-brainer for HOF. He's arguably the best defender/rebounder ever and he has the rings to back it up.


Precisely why he should be in the HOF. Next to Jordan, he was the biggest name in sports for a few years, and combining that with his accomplishments, he should get in, even if he won't.


Steed

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tennis_balls

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i guess i'll be rooting for Dallas although I'd have to pick Miami to win the championship. I give the edge to Miami based mostly on Pat Riley and the experience of the Miami role players.

I still feel strongly that Stackhouse is a net negative for any club despite his impressive skills. I thought Stack made a lot of poor decisions during the Phoenix series and Nowitky carried the team regardless. I think Riley will find a way to get inside the head(s) of Stackhouse and/or Jason Terry.

I'll be rooting for Dallas as I'd love to see Dirk win a championship, but I'm really not jonesing to watch this series. I did place a winning bet on Phoenix today. I bet on the first half. Apparently I wasn't alone as the odds on that bet were horrible. ($5.00 to win $8.70)
 

johnsteed

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I can't disagree with you on your points made about the MAVERICKS, except one. I think the Jerry Stackhouse of today who is coming off the bench in '06 compared to when he was a high-scoring starter a few years ago, are two different people. He is still explosive and an unstoppable scoring machine when needed, and I think after these past two years, he understands what he needs to do. I don't feel his game and how he was used match-up well with the SUNS, and I think he'll do more good than bad against the HEAT. My selecting him for having a big series, is a HUGE gamble though.


With Nowitzky, I think he'll have a bitch of time and fold under pressure. Am I rooting against him? No, because I've always liked him and his game. Why do I think he'll fold? That's easy, it'll come down to the SHAQ factor. Heck, throw in the Mourning factor as well. There's too much brute strength (and healthy... unlike Duncan in Round 2), and they'll find a way to get to him. I actually think that had it been the CLIPPERS vs. the MAVS in the conference finals, that Nowitzky's horrible defense and fierceness would have been nullified by Elton Brand's game. Nowitzky is big, lanky, and somewhat strong, but I don't think of him as a tough player. I hope he proves me wrong. I don't see that happening though.


I'll say this, if Rasheed Wallace, with an awesome inside game, who's more dynamic of a player than the more big-named Dirk, couldn't get it done, neither will the big German.


Dwayne Wade is REALLY going to go off this series. I think the HEAT will do it in 6 games, and win at home. I dislike SHAQ, but I'm glad he's going this finesse route rather than getting called for easy fouls. Eric Dampier has nothing on him, and SHAQ will make a point of this early in the series.


DALLAS was designed to take-out the SPURS, which they did. I don't think their game will match-up well with the HEAT. The only way for the MAVS to win is to get at least 2 monster games from Stackhouse, who I consider to be the X-Factor. For the HEAT, who I don't see having any problems winning this series, the X-Factor will fall on Antoine Walker (who played with the MAVS just a couple seasons ago).


I'm pissed-off that my two favorites have faded this past round, so I'm not really excited here-on-out. I don't like either team. :(


Steed

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dreamtheatre

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sabonis

i am a great sabonis fan. i read all the treads praising him. But you do not mention a very important thing Sabonis played in the world championship in 1986 and in the olympics in 1988 against David Robinson. and he simply devastated Robinson. You praise his passing skills but in 1986 he was so athletic that he dunked many times over robinson.He blocked david's shots repeatedly simply he was too good for david. except for him i have seen only shaq to dominate opponent centers in such a manner. If a healthy sabonis had come to portland in 1986 cliif robinson, drexler and porter would be carrying at least five championship rings. I literally cried sometimes when i watched him defend shaq. if he were in his prime a shaq-sabonis match up would be terrific to watch and i believe sabas would be the winner.

gallis and petrovic were great players too. i had the previlige to watch their live performance. Their styles were opposite but gallis was simply unstoppable. At slightly over 6 feet he was at least as good as hornacek.Petrovic was probably a better overall player but Sabas was a megastar.

İ hope Turkish players Hedo turkoglu and Mehmet okur reach the play offs this year
 

johnsteed

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dreamtheatre

İ hope Turkish players Hedo turkoglu and Mehmet okur reach the play offs this year...


Unless they have access to a time-machine, I don't like their chances of making this year's playoffs. :cool:


i am a great sabonis fan. i read all the treads praising him. But you do not mention a very important thing Sabonis played in the world championship in 1986 and in the olympics in 1988 against David Robinson. and he simply devastated Robinson. You praise his passing skills but in 1986 he was so athletic that he dunked many times over robinson.He blocked david's shots repeatedly simply he was too good for david. except for him i have seen only shaq to dominate opponent centers in such a manner. If a healthy sabonis had come to portland in 1986 cliif robinson, drexler and porter would be carrying at least five championship rings. I literally cried sometimes when i watched him defend shaq. if he were in his prime a shaq-sabonis match up would be terrific to watch and i believe sabas would be the winner.


Hmmm, I think I gave him a HUGE amount of praise, and put his game into high enough detail, but I digress...


I praised his passing skills, because above all else, they deserved to be praised. He directed the offense probably better than any other big who's ever played the game. I'm not surprised that he dunked on Robinson, as I've seen Hakeem, Ewing, Shaq, and others dunk on Robinson before. Robinson, was great, and was HIGHLY overrated.


I agree that had Sabonis come to the NBA minus MANY knee injuries, he probably would have been the most dominant center with Hakeem at that time - maybe better - we'll never know.


For the record, Sabonis did a pretty good job on two bad knees defending SHAQ. When SHAQ emerged as the games most dominant player (post-BULLS era circa '99 and on) with the possible exception of Tim Duncan, and most of legendary centers had faded-away, Sabonis did the best defensive job on O'Neil, even better than Robinson (SHAQ has stated so).


I agree that the Portland Trailblazers would have won at least 2 championships had they had a healthy Sabonis back in the prime of his game. They'd still have to fend off a pretty darned good LAKERS squad, a fiery PISTONS squad, and the BULLS. I think they could have taken away a championship away from each of those squads.


Above all else, Sabonis was the most skilled big man at his peak and of his era, a man in his prime could run the court (he's 7'3"!!!), a legendary passer, and a man with incredibly soft hands. Bill Walton has said as much, so have other greats. I don't discount what they were saying.


Sabonis and O'Neil's careers crossed-paths, but they're of a slightly different generation of centers.


gallis and petrovic were great players too. i had the previlige to watch their live performance. Their styles were opposite but gallis was simply unstoppable. At slightly over 6 feet he was at least as good as hornacek.Petrovic was probably a better overall player but Sabas was a megastar.


I'm a Jeff Hornacek fan, but from everything I know, he can't be compared to Gallis. Gallis was a European superstar, that likely would has translated to perennial star in the NBA. He would have been great, similar to Petrovic, but a completely different game. Petrovic was an exceptional player, and was highly skilled as you said, but Sabonis was a once in a lifetime type of player who by all accounts was better overall.


Interesting insight though, and it's interesting that you would have seen these guys play in Europe. People think that European basketball has only been good for the past 10-years or so, but that's completely wrong. It's only getting better for sure, but they'll always had great players there who were just never discovered, or if they did come over, they were misused.


Steed

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dreamtheatre

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1987 europe championship finals and 1989 europe championship semifinals. greece vs ussr. both times the squads are nearly the same. both times greece wins while ussr is the great favourite of everybody(including me. i was about 13 -15 years old then and cried every time sabas's team was beaten)

USSR sabas, volkov(atlanta hawks), marchulienis , kurtinaitis (another great european player), khomucius , walters , belostenny , tikhonenko ( at 2,06 meters he played for major teams till 2000 or so but never became the player i thought he would. but he became really famous :). He lost an airball to tyron bogues:) at 1986 finals)

Greece: yannakis , fassoulas , kristodolou and gallis . The fifth man i can not even remember. no reserves. remove gallis and put hornacek. let me tell the result. Two more ussr championships.

This might seem a stupid comparison but gallis was the heart of every team he played for. The ussr squad above beat USA in 1988 . USA had david robinson, mitch ritchmond, danny manning, .... .

by the way i am not so pessimistic about my player's play off chances. Utah and Orlando are good teams and have a good chance of making play offs.

all europe team

centers (5)

Sabonis
Radja
Divac

Forwards (4)

nowitzki
gasol

Forwards(3)

stojakovic
kukoc
danilovic
karnishovas
krilenko

Guards (2)

gallis
hedo

guards (1)

petrovic
marchulienis
tony parker

sorry for the spelling mistakes
 

dreamtheatre

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and i will bet my last penny on dallas . they will beat miami 4-2.

comparing dirk to bird (my one time hero) is not comparing a star to a superstar.

it is comparing two superstars.

bird always played with great players . i will never go as far as criticizing bird's talents. i just wanna say that dirk is a great player and deserves more respect.

one thing is certain that he deserved the mvp reward this year.

comparing him and bird the only great difference is birds superior passing skills. dirk is a tough player too. he is a great shooter. grabs as much rebounds as bird did. he is still not as good as bird but not so far away either.
 

johnsteed

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dreamtheatre

by the way i am not so pessimistic about my player's play off chances. Utah and Orlando are good teams and have a good chance of making play offs.


That's fine, but both of those teams didn't even make THIS year's playoffs. You were talking about this year's playoffs. I like their chances next year ('06-07), but the FINALS start later on in the week so there's only 2 teams left.


comparing him and bird the only great difference is birds superior passing skills. dirk is a tough player too. he is a great shooter. grabs as much rebounds as bird did. he is still not as good as bird but not so far away either.


Bird is often considered the greatest small forward of All-Time. Some people consider him the greatest (not many, but some), and I can't put him much lower than Top-5 on my All-Time list. Big Dirk is extremely talented, and has a better long-distance shot (check out their lifetime 3 pt %'s). Neither Dirk nor Bird are/were great defensive players, although I'd give Bird the edge because he seemed to play some when it mattered most. I like the comparisons between the two, and it's not so unreasonable anymore. Dirk can hang with Bird, but I don't think he's on the same level... yet. He has to do this for a little longer, and he has to become a winner. He seems like a completely different player in these playoffs and I'm rooting for him.


Is Dirk a tough player? I'm not sold on that yet. We'll see in the Finals. Again, I hope he steps up. I've always liked him. You're right to suggest that he doesn't get enough respect. He doesn't, but if he wins it with this squad, he'll be inching closer to the Bird comparisions, making it a reality.


Was Dirk the MVP? It could have gone to a few players this year, and I have no problem with Nash winning it. If we're talking about the best player in the game, I'm going to have to go with Kobe Bryant. I know LeBron and Wade are younger and are incredible talents, but so is Kobe, and he'll be awesome for several more years still. He's still young!


Great list by the way. :) I've always hoped that the European players would do well, and the landscape has certainly changed for the better over the past few years. I think the NBA is better for it. Dino Radja sure put up some nice numbers in his brief stay in the NBA.


Steed

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dreamtheatre

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i have made an all time white players list. all of them at their peak form and only the ones i have actually watched.


john stockton
chris mullin
larry bird
dirk nowitzki
arvydas sabonis

reserves

steve nash
predrag stojakovic
andrei krilenko
toni kukoc
yao ming
emmanuel ginobili
pau gasol
mark price
ilgauskas or vlade divac


do you think this team has any chance against a jordan, barkley, drexler ,kobe , shaq, malone, duncan , kemp (i believe he is as good as duncan or malone), mourning, iverson team?

i believe they have. it would be fun to watch.
 

dreamtheatre

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i have forgotten a key player.

kevin mchale of course. he would be great help at the power forward. and i should have included hornacek too.
 

johnsteed

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I must say, that the idea is an interesting one. But Yao Ming is not white/Caucasian, he's Asian from the heart of China.


I'd ultimately have to give the edge to the African-American squad, because of the Jordan factor. Heck, even for the Kobe Bryant factor. They would have their way against that defensively inferior squad. Only Andrei Kirilenko and Sabonis at his peak could be considered defensive stoppers, with most of the others being great steals artists (but that doesn't mean that they're incredible defensively as in 1-on-1).


In a short series, it could go either way. It's not a racial thing, but I happen to feel that the guys in the All-White line-up would move the ball around better on offense and play better as a team.


I would have Barkley and Malone coming off the bench, only in spurts. There games get in the way of winning basketball, as far as I'm concerned. You mentioned that Kemp was just as good as the other power-forwards mentioned, and you know what, I concur.


Shawn Kemp was not a +20 PPG player, he was an 18 PPG player who played to win. He was incredibly explosive, strong, he could sky (4.5 foot vertical as I recall), he played great defense, and at his peak, Dennis Rodman said that he was the most difficult player he ever had to guard! That's high praise. Kemp could have been a HOFer, but it just didn't work out. I'm not saying he had a greater career than the other great power-forward, what I am saying is that at his peak he was right there.


I would never want Allen Iverson on my team. I love watching him play, I love his scoring ability, and he's a better passer than he gets credit for. He just doesn't mix well on a team with so many scoring options. Drexler did a little bit of everything, and as far as I'm concerned, was one of the most underrated players in the game's history. Even in his final year with the ROCKETS before calling it quits, he could still put up fantastic numbers across the board. Although it's never said, a far better player than a George Gervin.


If you included all of the All-Time greats, the decision would tip even further into the African-American squads favor. Think: Oscar Robertson, Chamberlain, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Elgin Baylor, Nate Thurmond, Dr. J, Moses Malone, to name a few...


The great White players that could still be included would be Jerry West, Bob Cousy, Rick Barry, Bill Walton (at his healthy peak), Bob Petit, ect...


The thing is, if these teams played in a best-of-7 games series, you can only have a team 12 men deep, and you can only start 5. Despite what many would believe, it might be a draw. Again, I'd give the slight edge to the African-American squad because of Jordan.


Steed

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dreamtheatre

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great post Steed .thank you

and i agree with you completely. The Jordan factor is something to reckon with.

I always prayed for his team to lose (except for the 1991 lakers - bulls finals)
but of course my prayers always went unanswered.

Of all the teams they played agaianst at the finals (lakers, suns, supersonics, blazers ) only Jazz gave me the slightest hope that Jordan could be beaten. But god was always with Jordan . When it mattered none dared stop him. I always wanted him to lose when he played but now i miss him very much.

And once again i agree with you that among the currently active players Kobe is the second best after Jordan. People used to say tracy mccrady was a more dangerous offensive weapon than Kobe and i always laughed at the idea(i still do)

Have you ever watched Sabonis at his prime. (1985-1988)

I have a few videos of him shattering rims, blocking robinson's two consecutive shots, dunking over robinson and so on and i could send them to you.

By the way Sabas was often rejected from games because of punching opponets. Well i would not want to recieve a punch from him:)
 

tennis_balls

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book recommendation

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this book is from 1994, but it's a great read for Euro hoops enthusiasts. it's of particular interest now as the writer follows Mike Di'Antoni (Suns coach) while he coached an Italian team. The writer is a bit of a tool IMHO and goes way overboard trying to schmooze any player with a hot wife or girlfriend to the point where you start laughing every time he does it. The writer isn't a total push-over though and he does take some shots at some of the American players who are playing a year or two in Italy for some cash. (Bob McAdoo in particular as I recall)
 

johnsteed

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dreamtheatre

Have you ever watched Sabonis at his prime. (1985-1988)

I have a few videos of him shattering rims, blocking robinson's two consecutive shots, dunking over robinson and so on and i could send them to you.


I've only seen a bit of him in his prime, and from what I saw of him, it was on a lousy quality tape. Over the years, I've read countless critiques and studies on the domination and rise of his game throughout Europe, so that's pretty much all I'm left with to judge him by (and whatever tools he had left to work with in his final years with the Trailblazers). Something that I may or may have not mentioned before, was that Bill Walton had seen him play in his prime, and said that had he come over to the NBA in his prime, he could have been the center of that time. Those are steep praises, and ironically, both greats had succumbed to injuries that took their peaks away from them, before either one REALLY peaked.


I always prayed for his team to lose (except for the 1991 lakers - bulls finals)
but of course my prayers always went unanswered.


Oddly enough, I was a big Magic Johnson fan, and I was very much rooting against Michael Jordan in the '91 Finals. It was painful watching this man control the game, and although he missed shots, I swear it seemed as though he didn't. He's the only player I watch in any sport, that looks like the game was scripted for him to look great, constantly prevailing when the other team looks as though they may have figured him out, but he'll win.


I really disliked Jordan in those days, and I did a complete turn-around when he decided to quit. People were laughing at how poorly he had done in Double-AA baseball (ChiSox farm club), and kept talking about how Penny Hardaway and SHAQ would be the new dynasty. Although that never became a reality, it sure seemed that they were pretty close to achieving that goal. I missed his game, and I knew that based on everything I saw of the man, that I knew he could get his game back. By that, I wanted him back in the game, and I realized how important and how great he was. I decided that if a player was this special, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start enjoying the journey. Frankly, I look back now, and wonder why I didn't like him in the first place. He was the perfect basketball player as far as I can see.


An odd story about when Jordan was with the Double-AA club, he and (then minor-league rising star) Ray Durham (who's only like 5-10) were seeing who could jump higher. Now, of course Jordan can jump higher, given that he was a GREAT leaper and he has about 8-inches on Durham (and an impressive wingspan with big hands). But based on vertical alone, Durham took a bet and beat-out Jordan's vertical. I guess that says more about Durham's athletic ability than Jordan's, but I was stunned when I read that.


I was listening to the "Dan Patrick Show" on ESPN radio the other day, and he had made an excellent point about how well Jordan would score in today's game. He averaged over 37 PPG back in '86-87, playing in the grind-it-out style made famous in the East. At that time, it was okay to "hand-check" on defense. That was about the only thing that slowed Jordan at the height of his scoring days. Patrick claimed that in today's wide-open game, Jordan could very well average over 50 PPG (as Wilt had done roughly 45 years ago). That might be a bit of a stretch, but averaging over 40 PPG would not out-of-the-question, nor would the occasional +80 PPG throughout any given season.

People used to say tracy mccrady was a more dangerous offensive weapon than Kobe and i always laughed at the idea(i still do)


That was the debate, up until a couple years ago when the Draft Class of '03 showed that they were set to take over the majority of the game's attention on who the next great one will be. I'll still go with Kobe, even over LeBron (and that will sound crazy to many). T-Mac is quite electric and smooth at the same time. He can play pretty good defense, but sometimes I question his wil and his enthusiasm for the good of the game. T-Mac is as talented as Kobe, but Kobe is just better. Funny to imagine, but I'm not sure if T-Mac has even turned 27-years old as I'm writing this! I really dislike T-Mac, but for his sake, I hope that he can get his health issues straightened-out. Although he's an awesome force, who thinks about T-Mac these days? That's how much his stock has dropped, fairly or not.


I always wanted him to lose when he played but now i miss him very much.


It makes me feel sad how you put it that way. I wonder if many people will feel this way about Barry Bonds 10-years from now.


It's funny, but I remember when the '98 NBA lock-out hit, I heard lots of talking about whether or not the BULLS ownership would bring their great team back. I remember talking to a friend of mine, and he wanted Jordan to retire once and for all. I asked him why felt that way? His reasoning was simple. He felt that he was sick of seeing Jordan, and wanted someone else to win for a change. He wanted one of the young guys to emerge and become the next great one.


I could never understand that line-of-thinking. I've always felt that to become the best, truly become the best, you have to go through the best. If no player at that time was up to the test, than they weren't worthy enough to dethrone the Jordan era. And no one did. :notworthy


I have a few videos of him shattering rims, blocking robinson's two consecutive shots, dunking over robinson and so on and i could send them to you.


I'd love to get my hands on those!!! :thumbsup: :notworthy :)


tennis_balls


this book is from 1994, but it's a great read for Euro hoops enthusiasts. it's of particular interest now as the writer follows Mike Di'Antoni (Suns coach) while he coached an Italian team.


I'd love to buy that book. It sounds a bit jaded, but it could be highly entertaining. Michael Ray Richardson seems to be the perfect example of someone who did everything wrong in the NBA, and turned everything around in Italy. I have a documentary of him back home in Canada, titled, "What Ever Happened To Michael Ray?" It wasn't a great documentary, and I'm still wondering out of all the people they could have done a documentary on, why him? Nevertheless, it's still enjoyable. :)


Steed

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Daffy

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Mavs win Finals in 5 games...Shaq will be a none factor...Dirk will run wild...Howard will smother Wade.

All of Dallas' dragons are behind them (Spurs, Suns)...Heat will try to play half-court...Mavs will run them ragged.

Pistons would have been even easier...East cannot play with West.

the dUck
 

johnsteed

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Ladies & Gentlemen, straight from the good 'ol heart of Texas, none other than the "dUck!" :notworthy


I guess I'm the only one who's picking the HEAT here. If you would have asked me this question just 2-3 weeks, I thought that would have been ousted already. But they've really shown that they could take care of business. It took them 6 months to really become a team.


I'm not really a fan of either team, so I'm okay with DALLAS winning it, but my prediction has the HEAT in 6. Believe you me, I'm not a SHAQ fan, but he's really taken it to another level over the during of those 2-3 weeks wherein I've changed my mind.


I'm going to base this one on two simple facts. Wade won't be stopped from driving into the lane whenever he so chooses. SHAQ won't be stopped either, and he still has quicker feet than Dampier or Diop.


Only time will tell, I hope I'm wrong. :)


Steed

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tennis_balls

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johnsteed said:
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I guess I'm the only one who's picking the HEAT here.

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i'm picking the Heat as well (7 games) I figure that Riley will find a way. It will be a tough mental adjustment for the Mavs to go from playing the soft rebounding of the Suns to the take no prisoners mentality of a Riley team.

it will a tough mental adjustment for the viewing audience to go from the quality coverage and analysis of TNT to ABC's garbage.

my ideal finish is a game 7 where Miami is trailing by 1 point with 2 seconds left and Shaq gets fouled.......brick.......brick.
 

Daffy

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You guys are thinking of the old Don Nelson Mavs...not the new improved Avery Johnson Mavs. These Mavs have out rebounded their opponents in 17 straight playoff games...this includes the SPURS.

Wade is not quicker than Parker or Ginobbli...Howard will prevail.

NBA championship has already been played...(between Mavs and Spurs).

I'll spot Shaq and Wade 25pts each...where will the other 45pts come from???

That 85/game they scored against the East won't be enough.


the dUck
 

johnsteed

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Daffy

You guys are thinking of the old Don Nelson Mavs...not the new improved Avery Johnson Mavs. These Mavs have out rebounded their opponents in 17 straight playoff games...this includes the SPURS.


You're right, this is a very different team. The old MAVS would never have gotten past the 2nd round. You're also quite right that the Finals have already been played... but nobody told the HEAT this so they don't really care what road the MAVS took to get here.


I'm not sure what player you've been watching, because Wade is certainly faster than Ginobili. Parker and Wade are about the same speed, true, but Parker isn't Dwayne Wade either. Parker has NOT been a great playoff performer thus far in his career, and despite being only 24-years old, he's gone relatively deep into the playoffs each of his 5-seasons since joining the league. Wade has already demonstrated that he's been highly effective at being productive whenever he needs to be. He has that Jordan fire in him.


Another point to make here, is that this isn't the same HEAT team that you may have seen in the regular season. This team has come together, and plays with purpose now. I couldn't say that at any point prior to April. Once the HEAT figured things out in the Chicago series, they haven't looked back. SHAQ has not looked "old" like he had all year. He's returned to his normal self these past few weeks. He's not looking so sluggish, and playing more of a finesse game. And frankly, his finesse game probably has more power than any other player's power-game.


I don't want to make excuses for the SPURS, because it was up to them to win their series with the MAVS. But Duncan has been playing on a bad foot all year, and he was probably no better than Elton Brand this year... or another power-forward who averaged 20 pt/10 rebounds per game. I think that the MAVS exploited that weakness as best as they could.


I'll spot Shaq and Wade 25pts each...where will the other 45pts come from???


Although I'm not an Antoine Walker fan by any stretch of the imagination, he's had a pretty great scoring/passing/rebound career in the 9-years prior to this one. I think what he brings cancels out whatever Jerry Stackhouse might bring. I think Stackhouse is far more explosive on the offensive end, but I think Wallace - ignoring his laissez-faire defense - has a more extensive offensive skill-set to work with. Walker is not the Walker of the past regular season, or first round of the playoffs. He was a big reason as to why the HEAT played well against the NETS and the PISTONS. He's the teams primary X-factor. Like SHAQ, he's playing like he can and should be able to. It seems like Walker is ancient, but he's still only 30-years old!


Mourning, as the back-up PF/C, is better than any of the MAVS centers. He led the league in blocks per minute this year, meaning he's still effective when he plays. Haslem is a solid rebounder, and reminds me of a shorter version of P.J. Brown. He's not as good as Brown at his peak, but he's not exactly a notch below him either. Jayson Williams, who I'm no fan of, is a different player than the one who played in Sacramento several years back. Hardly a defensive wiz - in fact one of the league's worst - he seems to allow the game come to him better than at any other point in his career.


The biggest factor that you've been overlooking here dUck, is that the HEAT players/coaches have tons of playoff experience, compared to the MAVS. Yes, Avery Johnson was a key part of that '99 SPURS team that won it all. But the team's players haven't gone this deep. Nowitzky, as far as I can recall, is pretty much one of the only MAVS players who've made it to the conference finals.


With the HEAT, you've got:


- Gary Payton has tons of playoff experience, making it to the Finals twice, and to the conference Finals another time with the SUPERSONICS back in the early '90s.


- Antoine Walker made it to the conference finals with the CELTICS a few years back, and he was a massively BIG reason why they were lucky enough to get to that point (if anyone cared to remember that). Also, Walker was a pretty good (not very good... but good) player in his stint with the MAVS, similar to Stackhouse, although Stackhouse has bought-into the team concept better than Walker had.


- SHAQ has been to the NBA Finals 5 times, and has been the conference finals oh-so-many times. He REALLY wants to win, and probably more than any other year because these chances won't be around much longer. The Kobe/SHAQ feud has taken a backseat after this year's All-Star game (where they apparently kiss-and-made-up with the help of Bill Russell), but I'm sure that SHAQ wants to prove that he still has game and that he'll make good on his promise to Riley and the city of Miami.


- Wade and Haslem, specifically Wade, made it to the conference finals last year, took the PISTONS to 7 games, so they're similar to the PISTONS of '89 who inched their way closer to a championship. Okay, that PISTONS teams took years to get there, but I get the sense that Wade is as hungry as Isaiah Thomas was back then. Wade won't regress in this series.


- If I had a team, I'd want Avery Johnson to be my coach. Period. But... that's Pat Riley on the other team. He's been to the Finals, what, 6 times? Sure, it's been a while since he got there, but he hasn't forgotten how to coach. Aside from Phil Jackson, he has the most playoff experience of any coach. Actually, just based on their astute knowledge of the game, Jackson would be left spinning-out-of-control in Riley's jet wash.


Dirk Nowitzky has been "uber-iffic" in these playoffs. He's played with a new set of mental toughness, that he's lacked over the years. He's a different player, he's confident, and this year, he's probably the games best big man who's really more of a small forward. Having said that, this is the first real test so far in the playoffs, where he'll have to take a beating down low. He won't have his way with the HEAT, unless he's camping-out on the perimeter. I still feel that he'll get his points, but they'll be a HARD 25 PPG (just a prediction), whereas I don't think SHAQ or Wade will have to expend as much energy getting their points. Also, if Nowitzky does play more of a perimeter game in this series, I think that James Posey will be giving him a handful on the wings as well.




If we're talking about teams that like to push the ball and run, DALLAS has proven that they can still do this. But look at what the HEAT did to New Jersey in the 2nd round. The NETS were probably the hottest team going into the playoffs, and they had the horses that many thought could run the HEAT out-of-the-building. That didn't happen. Vince Carter lit them up in the regular season, and was hardly great in their series. This, again, is not the same HEAT team you may have seen in the regular season.


Perhaps you're right that the Finals were already played in the 2nd round. I think that the MAVERICKS will (as a team) do as they always have this season, but I just don't think big Dirk will be the same player he has been in the past 7-months. Hope I'm wrong though.


The MAVS are not a low-post team, and while I agree that the West has greater teams across the board, who's to say that the HEAT don't stack-up with the elite in the West. Sure, the MAVS looked good down low in the 1st 3-rounds of the playoffs, but SHAQ, ZO, and Haslem are all healthy. It's difficult winning the big one dialing long-distance.


These Mavs have out rebounded their opponents in 17 straight playoff games...this includes the SPURS.


Again, Duncan was not himself this year. The SPURS traditionally have been a good/great rebounding team, but I don't think that was the case this year as much as in years past. That "17 straight playoff games" has been pretty impressive, but you have to consider the competition. Even had the SUNS won that series (which they obviously didn't), they STILL would have been outrebounded.


In conclusion, the MAVS have Larry Bird-lite on their team, while the HEAT have Jordan-lite AND SHAQ-lite on their team. I think the rest of their respective teams are pretty much a wash. The HEAT have far more toughness, the MAVS have better wheels and are more youthful.


I'm going with the HEAT in 6 because SHAQ will be SHAQ in at least 3-4 games, and Wade will be Wade in 5 of them. That'll be enough to get them over the hump.


Steed

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tennis_balls

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Mar 18, 2006
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Albuquerque, NM
1st draft pick

LaMarcus Aldridge (Texas) 11/10

Andrea Bargnani (Italy) 6/5

Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) 5/1

Brandon Roy (Washington) 12/1

Tyrus Thomas (LSU) 7/2

Any Other Player 7/1

I know nothing of Aldridge, but I'd avoid him solely due to the fact that you just can't trust anything coming from Texas. (the prosecution calls Ricky Williams to the stand)
 

tennis_balls

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i'm one of the few that took Miami in game 2 and won.

i bet the 1st quarter and got 1.5 points. :D (i suppose that makes me a really good, bad handicapper)

i found a sportsbook that gives you entry into a $1500 freeroll every Sunday if you make 4 $10 bets that weekend. i didn't do it this weekend but i'll post when i do if it's any good.
 

tennis_balls

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Location
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another Texas-sized collapse

wow! how did that happen?

it's hard to believe the Mavs won't win this thing as they're controlling every game, but you gotta kick Pat Riley while he's down.

was it my imagination or did Dirk have a slight "yip" in his stroke on that final free-throw? it wasn't a bad shot, i just that i notice a little flinch but it's hard to say as he has such a long stroke.

i can't wait to read Mark Cuban's blog although he takes losses pretty hard and sometimes doesn't post for days after a Mavs loss.
 

Daffy

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Dallas,TX
Biggest hole in the Mavs game is working the clock with a lead. They try to hold it at the top of the key until about 4 secs left on shot clock...then bring it down. Usually ends up being a hurried, poor percentage shot. Same thing happened against Phoenix. Blew a 9 point lead in last three minutes.

the duck
 

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