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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I don't hate the Heat

The final round of the American pro basketball playoffs starts tonight, with the Dallas Mavericks in Miami facing the Heat. The talking heads in the mainstream media keep telling us that the Heat are the most hated team in the league, and that everybody except people in Miami wants them to fail, but I'm not buying that. Sure, Lebron James is an egotistical jerk at times, but we the fans enable that sort of behavior. And yes, the stockpiling of three superstars in James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh makes for an uneven matchup against the vast majority of other teams, who will never have the money or the cache to attract such a trio. But that's what the Lakers did, and that's what the Celtics did, and that's what's going to win in the NBA (if there is an NBA after the upcoming lockout or strike).

One aspect of the Miami triumvirate that some folks don't like is that the players put it together, using their rights as free agents, rather than the team owners doing it through trades. To me, that's not a reason to hate the players -- they're just doing what they have the right to do.

I still like Dwayne Wade as a basketball player and as a public figure. And Pat Riley will always be a favorite. I will not be disappointed at all if the two of them get another ring.

Then again, there's a lot to like on the Dallas squad. Dirk Nowitzki is a force of nature these days, throwing up shots that back on the playground we used to call "assy," yet they are all falling through the net. He's now teamed up with Shawn Marion, a quirky guy to whom I was introduced a few years ago when I had him on a highly successful fantasy roster. He was a statistics machine back then, and he's still a great player now.

The third of the Dallas Medium 4 is Jason Kidd, a wily veteran point guard who's not exactly lovable, but an icon on the court. His newly found long-range jump shot devastated the Blazers, and the Mavericks will need some of that in a few of the games ahead if they expect to overcome Miami. The other Jason, Jason Terry, is technically a bench player, but he cranks out starter numbers, including 16 points a game -- 17 a game in the playoffs.

Either way this series goes, we're good. Let the games begin.

Comments (14)

Mavericks in 6, unless LeBron gets as many calls as Kobe does. If so, then Miami in 4.

I don't like LeBron either, but he is getting scary good and I don't see any major problems in his game. I kinda thought he wasn't too interested in defense, but he was able to shut down everything BOS or CHI could put against him.

In addition, they've been able to come up with a really tough tean defense for short periods (like game-ends) when they need it.

I would like to see DAL win though.

As long as Allen owns the Blazers, it will take a move similar to the Miami threesome to even catch a glimmer of hope for a championship in Portland. Wouldn't it be an absolute delight if Roy and Oden got together and advised the Blazers that they want to play for less money so they could bring in some help for Andre at the point? Allen has demonstrated that he's no judge of talent and Nate can't develop it, so we're stuck in mediocrity. We need our franchise players take over like James and Wade. Clearly not holding my breath that it will ever happen here. As for the series, I like the Dallas depth over James/Wade in a long series.

LeBron is a BORE, the man is so full of himself that he is intolerable (to me). Being old school, I still think Jordan, Bird and Magic would have taken him to school and left him with a ton of homework. That said, I want Dallas, and (though improbable) let's do it in 4.

It's another round so here's another theory for measuring basketball greatness. The last one was called "The Degree of Unusualness" until another reader upgraded it to "The Degree of Remarkableness."
This one is called "The Waiter Clone Test" and I'm sure there's a better name out there for this too.
When I was a Banquet Captain I would sometimes tell a waiter who was not performing, "I want you to imagine if every waiter on this party was you. What would that look like?" Then I'd wait for a dramatic pause before asking, "Would the party even happen at all?"

Using this theory my initial response would be to favor Lebron over Jordan. Imagine a team of 5 Lebrons. It would be ridiculous. Now imagine a team of 5 Michael Jordans. It would be ridiculous but not as far as big men under the boards.
We just saw Lebron shut down Derrick Rose so he's quick enough, plus he's a rebounding force. Lebron has a lot of greatness to him using this theory.

Screw it. I'd still bet that Michael Jordan would wear him down with his willpower.

I should have just skipped the theory and told the waiter to sign out.

Now the time has come, this is the much awaited match or a rematch from 2006 Finals. I can’t wait to watch this game now.

Imagine a team of 5 Lebrons. It would be ridiculous. Now imagine a team of 5 Michael Jordans. It would be ridiculous but not as far as big men under the boards.

There's one fundamental, gritty difference between these two: the will to win. LeBron's will to win never has (and likely never will) come close to what Jordan had. That one difference is all the difference in the world.

I'd take a team of five Jordans any day--many have called him one of the greatest defensive guards in the history of the game. Jordan could've (and did, on a few occasions) play forward. Hell, he could play *any* position, I'd imagine. He was Defensive Player of the year once, and All-Defensive First team NINE times.

In the postseason, Jordan's stats routinely went *up*; James's routinely go down, especially assists.

And LeBron is 1.5" taller than Jordan was (he's not the advertised 6'8"), but with a slightly smaller wingspan.

Here's a more interesting fantasy scenario: a peak 5-Jordan team vs. a peak 5-James team. I already know which team would want to win more, and would do everything necessary to do it.

I'd take five Magic Johnsons.

There is one major problem in the logic of all this. How do you handle fouls? If Michael Jordan gets one Lebron to foul out do you get another Lebron clone off the bench? If so, then why not just foul every play?

Fouls are a problem. Since both get All-Star treatment, the refs would likely collapse from exhaustion in the first quarter from foul calling, and the rest of the game would be played referee-less. Except for Bennett Salvatore--he'll be calling fouls from the grave.

But wait. I want to revise my answer. 5 peak Magic Johnsons. That would be ridiculous.

Tonight's game: Dallas lost by not attacking the boards a bit more aggressively. The best part, though, is that LeBron played all but about 2 minutes of the entire game. Miami knows that unless LeBron is on the court nearly all the time, they lose fast.

If Michael Jordan gets one Lebron to foul out do you get another Lebron clone off the bench?

On the bench you get 4 Martell Websters and 3 Travis Outlaws.

5 Magic Johnson's would be a brilliant team - no doubt.That's a great choice considering he played center that last game when Kareem was hurt in the Finals.

You know what would be fun? 5 Kobe's all trying to hog the ball.

I'd take 5 Charles Barkley. That would be fun.

Hear hear, my friend. I'm hopelessly partisan about the Mavericks, but then I've been a fan since 1991. Back then, cheering the Mavs was like cheering the Chicago Cubs, and I'm a Cubs fan for the same reason. (I might go back to Rangers games, now that Tom Hicks is no longer the owner, but I've had a soft spot in my head, er, heart for the Cubs since I lived in Chicago in 1979.)

The only sane way of looking at this? May the best team win. Really. The Mavericks and the Heat are excellent teams, and they've earned everything they've achieved this season. If we're lucky, we're going to get the best over-the-top battle this side of a Godzilla movie.

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