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Hey, The Heat Won

Well, this is an awkward post. For a lot of reasons (and this Bill Simmons sentiment is dead-on-balls accurate), I’m not happy that Miami won the NBA title. But I don’t want to be a parade-rainer… and any Heat fans who might be visiting today should be spared my bittnerness, so… I’ll just save it for another day, congratulate them, and talk about the Mavericks. I actually decided to keep a log of things that Antoine Walker did in the game that made me laugh, but… I don’t feel like using it now. Maybe tomorrow.

The Mavs lost last night for the same reasons that they lost Games 3 and 5… poor execution down the stretch. For some reason, the offense tightens up. Jumpshots take the place of penetration. Shots stop going in. They can get open jumpers… the shots they’re taking aren’t necessarily bad, but it’s not when the Mavericks are at their best. When they become a jumpshooting team, they’ve proven to be very streaky. And those cold streaks seem to come at bad times.

On officiating-related matters… well, when you lose in six games (including four straight), you pretty much give up the right to bitch. That doesn’t say that bad calls didn’t take place, but it’s not like it came down to the last second of the 7th game. There were a couple of questionable calls at the end of this one too (Nowitzki getting called for the violation of taking a Dwyane Wade forearm to the stomach, or Gary Payton clearly having a handfull of jersey on the in-and-out Terry three at the buzzer), and both of them went against the Mavs. That doesn’t help things.

But just like with the Super Bowl, I think it’d be unfortunate if this series was remembered for the officiating. There’s not much anyone can do that change that, though… that’s the way it’ll be. Seems like we can’t have any sort of championship game anymore without the talk always surrounding the officials. Are officials worse now than they were ten years ago? Or do players and funs just bitch more? I’m not sure of the answer to that one… but it’s a bad direction for things to be going.

This series turned, quite obviously, at the end of Game 3. The Mavs blew that one, and then responded Game 4 with a total hangover game, getting blown out. From that point, they lost confidence, Miami’s confidence started to snowball… and the series went where it went. Antoine Walker and Jason Williams now have rings.

Matthew J. Darnell

28 Comments

  1. It’s sad it couldn’t have gone 7. Do you think that Cuban’s constant bitching about the reffing could have affected his team so that they felt an almost “well…the league’s against us” vibe?

    Sad how the offense which was off and running in the first half became non-existant in the 2nd half.

  2. Gary Peyton does not deserve to have a ring. Cheers to Miami, DWade, Shaq, Coach; I’ll even give deserved Thumbs up to Walker. Posey. EVEN WHITE CHOCOLATE. Fucking Zo gets a pass for having more rings then Charles Barkley because of the “Doing it for the kindey transplant patients” post ring press conference. Gary Payton’s an asshole. 39 year olds surfing the contender’s rosters to get a ring is bull no matter who’s the offender. Mav’s are the better team. On the Sport’s Guy 42 point benchmark, Wade averaged 40 a game. Studly considering his position on the team. That piece of SHIT doesn’t deserve to ride Wade to a championship

  3. What would have happened if the Wade forearm shiver had resulted in no-call, or even more appropriately, a Miami foul? How would the game have played out from that point? How would game 6 have been played if the Heat were down 3-2, because Wade had not been bailed out by a terrible call at the end of game 5? When terrible calls are made in crucial situations, fans of basketball in general are the victims. It seems logical that Wade will simply resort to throwing himself at defenders in the waning minutes of games from now on. I’ll give Wade credit, though; that strategy only works if the star makes his free-throws, which Wade normally does. However, it makes for boring basketball, and reduces the legitimacy of the championship.

  4. The officiating is the same as it was 10 years ago. The difference is now that the losing fans have more of a voice (via blogs, talk radio, message boards, etc) to be heard after the game. And since the majority of the fans can’t point at their own team, the obvious choice of their ire is the officiating.

  5. Are officials worse now than they were ten years ago? Or do players and funs just bitch more? I’m not sure of the answer to that one… but it’s a bad direction for things to be going.

    mjd…the answer is clearly the latter. It’s going to get worse too. The fact of the matter is that with commentators ripping on refs, sportscasters ripping on refs, fans ripping on refs…the propaganda machine is unstoppable. You don’t even need any evidence anymore. If a coach or an owner doesn’t feel like being accountable for a loss, all they need to is blame the refs and people will hop on the bandwagon. This gets magnified in big games and even moreso in championship games. With all of the cameras, and all of the analysts, you are going to have people creating stories that aren’t there. The refs have always made mistakes. They’re not getting worse. It’s very very hard to officiate a game. Everything is so subjective. Losing teams and fans of losing teams and analysts and even objective viewers chose to pick spots where they feel the losing team got jobbed and blame the loss on that. It’s easier than saying, we weren’t good enough. Do you know why you never see replays of the bad calls on the winning team? The winning team isn’t making excuses. As a matter of fact, the Steelers-Colts playoff game this year may have been the only time we’ve had an officiating controversy against the winning team. The fact of the matter is that there were tons of phantom fouls called against the Heat this series too. There were tons of hacks against them that were ignored. If they had lost, those would probably be what people are talking about.

    By the way, in game 7 of the Mavs-Spurs series, with 2 seconds left in regulation, Duncan grabbed a board and went back up and got gang-raped by 3 Mavs and the refs turned their heads. That should have been the series assuming Duncan hits one FT. It amazes me that the Mavs can even think about bitching about officiating. Just like Holmgren, I suppose it’s easier for Cuban to go that route than to say “we weren’t good enough.”

  6. Here’s the deal, I would have been in shock if Mavericks won the Finals – even a bit angry if you will. Let’s face it, the Heat played better ball for the majority of this series. They refused to simply jack up shots like the jumpshot happy Mavericks. They made key rebounds and capitalized on second chance buckets. You can make the same lame argument of an MJ era win, but let’s not forget that the Mavericks were desperately looking for leadership during the Finals and never found it. As much as I enjoyed Dirk’s play during the regular season, he is going to have to look long and hard at himself over the off-season and decide whether he wants to lead the Mavericks or continue to lose in the playoffs.

  7. As much as I hate the Heat, they had balls and dallas didn’t, going soft in 4 straight games. Inexcusable. The problem about the ref thing is that the calls are so ridiculously inconsistent and the star treatment is just so out of control, the competition loses credibility even though it shouldn’t. These whole playoffs I have never understood this, but using the off arm is a foul! Lebron did this EVERY play these playoffs. No call. Wade did it to Dirk, foul on Dirk? I mean it’s crap like this that just sucks. So Payton can grab Terry big time and no whistle, but Dirk and Devin got too close to Wade in game 6 on an out of control layup and that was a foul? This is why people bitch about the refs. It was a consistent call it’s one thing, but it’s just absurd how inconsistent and one sided the calls get.

  8. I’m also amazed the Mavs bitch about refs after the San Antonio fiasco.

    The refs made mistakes on both sides. Example, end of game six, Wade misses free throw, Haslem gets rebound and they immediately call traveling. Example 2, next play Payton fouls (grabs jersey) Terry to prevent 3 point attempt, ref ignores foul and allow Terry to shoot a wide open, potential game tying 3.

    Bottom line: Cuban has built a great basketball team but also instilled a whiney bitch culture and it cost the Mavs. Every freakin call they throw a tantrum on the court. This is not the behavior of champions.

  9. Few things

    1- technology makes it easier to scrutinize the refs
    2- 3000% more sports coverage means more time to talk about the refs
    3- NBA rules expose refs to situations where they’re forced to make more iffy calls
    4- because of 1 and 2 refs are bigger deals, and I think the worse ones do attempt to shape things to revolve around them.
    5- players are bigger, faster, stronger and harder to officiate
    6- Unlike 5, the refs are still the same old dudes they were 10 years ago, literally the same dudes.
    7- Players like Wade are making exploiting the refs a science

    I pretty much think officiatting has always been horrible (NBA really should have 4 refs on the floor) it’s just that now it’s being exposed. Think this is mostly true across the board in sports.

  10. Why is everybody complaing about the call on Dirk with 28 seconds left? Wade was coming around a screen, Dirk ran into him, Dirk had no position, Wade was driving to the hoop…when has that not been a foul? He “ran into Wade’s elbow”…do tell, where should Wade’s elbow have been?

    As for the foul on Terry at the end of the game that didn’t get called. I knew I’d hear complaining about this so I was wondering- Mavs fans, down three would rather pass on a wide open three point look from terry and instead take two free throws with under two seconds left? If Terry buries that three is anybody whining about that non-call? Of course not. You’re star had an absolute WIDE OPEN three pointer and missed it, that’s what ended the game, not a missed a call against payton.

  11. Uh, Sarcastro, that was a blatant forearm shiver delivered by Wade to Nowitski. How you can even suggest that it was a foul on Nowitski is beyond bizarre.

    And, no, I’m not a Mavs fan, not a Heat fan, not a Spurs fan. It has nothing to do with a rooting interest: That was the worst crucial call I’ve ever seen. And the fact that ABC and ESPN refused to even discuss it is indicative of how gutless they are (Hubie “Great Call” Brown made no comment the single solitary time that ABC showed the replay).

  12. That’s absolutely right Sarcastro. That non-call on Payton very much helped the Mavs.

  13. Forearm shiver? If you believe that then this isn’t even worth discussing. So if Wade hadn’t intentionally bludgeoned Dirk with his forearm then there would’ve been no contact at all? Riiight.

    Here are some tips for dallas:

    If you don’t want to have such a foul disparity maybe you should’t have a defensive strategy that involves intentionally fouling somebody who is going to get the ball on every possession.

    If you want to get to the line more often, consider driving to the hoop instead of taking a million jump shots.

  14. People absolutely bitch more about calls and it’s highly annoying.

    That being said, I’d like to bitch about the calls. They need to do something in the off-season about the not allowing hand-checking, letting moving picks, and calling touch fouls on drives. The two most bitched about series were the DET-CLE and the Finals, and it was because Wade and Lebron are unguardable if you allow this. All the other new rules have been great (resulting in more team play, faster games, better shooting), but the attempt to create another MJ flies in the face of all these other improvements.

  15. I don’t see how you can justify the foul on Nowitzki by saying, “Well if Wade hadn’t fouled Dirk with his forearm, then Dirk might’ve fouled him, so I’ll call it on Dirk.”

    And if they called the foul of Payton, Terry would take three FTs, not two. If he made the three-ball, he’d have a chance for a four-point play to win the game.

  16. John, that’s not accurate at all. The grab was well before the shot when Terry was getting around the pick. He wouldn’t have had 3 FTs. Their chances of winning were much better with Terry taking that wide open 3 than the foul being called and sending him to the line for 2.

  17. I think this NBA finals won’t be remembered for the officiating, only because of how dominant Wade was. It will be remembered as Wade’s first title. If Wade had not been so spectacular, perhaps the poor officiating might stick in people’s memories.

  18. SHUT UP! Jesus! The bitching about the officiating is so ridiculous! You tools act like this just started because a) you secretly like the MAvs or b) the Mavericks incessant whining worked. I am a Spurs fan and I say you all should go back and watch the Spurs / Mavericks series and see Games 3 and 4 decided on the line with questionable calls. Dirk is the king of receive the “forearm to the chest” call. While you are at it…go back and watch all the Laker rings with Shaq and Kobe and you will see the ridiculous amount of calls they received. Stop acting like Cuban’s bitch and thinking something NEW just happened. If the NBA was called correctly, Dallas would not even have been in the Finals. Jesus! Shut up!

  19. Wow. The sensativity from Heat fans is breathtaking. I am not a Dallas fan, and I was rooting for Miami in the series. I am a Pistons fan, and a basketball fan in general. The Pistons lost to the Heat legitimately; the Mavericks didn’t. It is as simple as that. Dwayne Wade should not have had 21 free throw attempts. He wasn’t touched on at least three fouls, and the call against Dirk was blatantly incorrect. If you take those free-throws out of the game, an entirely different storyline develops; one that is less influcened by the officiating, and this more “legitimate.”

    As for people who claim that Wade was “dominating,” that’s true only to the extent that he used his preferred status with the officials to repeatedly use out-of-control drives to garner foul shots. Kudos for him for learning about the flaw in the system and taking advantage of it. Still, it is a flaw, and should be rectified.

  20. chuckdaddy- my thoughts exactly. Great point

    maxpower- i absolutely hate Zo and everything he stands for. No one in his situation should be allowed to act like an ass like he routinely does after QUITTING on the one team that was willing to give him a multiyear deal,and being such a bitch as to use his illness as a reason to ‘shut it down till I get traded’. And then go running back like a little bitch to ride Wade’s coattails. He’s no champion in my book. Champions earn theirs. I felt badly for the guy when he got sick but his actions in NJ invalidated any right he had to gloat, fight, intimidate or do whatever stupid else things he does

    Sarcastro- i agree that the mavs didnt drive it nearly enough to draw fouls, but to say that Wade would’ve been hit so call it anyways is bogus. Let the foul happen and no one disputes it. But when guys like Wade, Lebron, etc (even my Pistons, Rip did that a lot) it is against the rules and the refs blatant disregard for that makes them the bigger story. Also, while I see your point about the payton grab, a) it should’ve been 3 ft’s on the shot, and even if not called, you try shooting a desperate 3 w/ someone yanking your shirt, it’s probably not going down.

    The main thing I want out of all of this is no more nonsense talk about Shaq = Superman, #1 option, and Wade is the sidekick. Shaq would be lucky to be Wade’s sidekick. Haslem made a way better case for a sidekick than anything Shaq did. Fuk the Heat. Pistons in 07 baby.

  21. talking about officiating and how it relates to the past finals… anybody remember the pistons/lakers series a few seasons back? pistons were allowed to body up on shaq and anybody else in the lane, playing them physical and there were plenty of non-calls. why? because whistles are normally swallowed in the postseason. play is going to be more intense and games aren’t going to be decided on the FT line. i’m not a pistons fan, but they won it legitimately. the plays shaq was getting to the line in the regular season and playoffs were no-call vs the pistons and rightly so. PLAYERS were allowed to decide those games. it’s been said time and time again that unless you get mugged at the end of the game, you’re still going to have to prove you can make that shot. game 5? game 6, wade coming off the screen and dirk getting called for that foul? if ANYTHING a no-call, sure it could be called offensive but you let that go in the finals. the grabbed jersey on the terry 3 could even pass as a no-call, he had been ice cold all quarter. the heat were allowed to stay in the game in the first half on weak flippers and bailed out on that dirk/wade play with nothing happening

    sure, going to the rack hard for freebies is one thing, and wade does do that. however the in-and-out jump hook on the left side of the bucket in the first half as well as the running flip shot where daniels got whistled for a grade 6 girls league touch foul don’t fall into that category, yet he continues to get that treatment from the officials. can’t blame him for going to that strategy of flipping it up when he’s out of control, the onus has be placed on the refs

    i can whole heartedly say that this may be the last year i watch the nba after being a die hard my whole life. from the opening credits to mike breen to their halftime crew to a brutal display of favorism by officials. and why the hell would you go 2-3-2 for one series when it’s been 2-2-1-1-1 since the dawn of time? no the nba isn’t rigged, but maybe it should be so the fans can be certain of the quality of product they’re getting

  22. oh yeah, and how often do you hear fans complaining about non-calls as opposed to bad-calls made? case in point to let the players decide their own fate

    you’d have to be a sad individual to say “we should’ve won the championship IF the refs sent us to the line!”

  23. diehard seahawk fan here… i feel for you, mavs fans. sure, you can say that both the hawks and the mavs could have played better to put themselves into position to win, you can say we are whining… but f#*@ off. your team didn’t just get a championship stolen by, at best, EXTREMELY poor officiating. you didn’t watch the other team seem to get every single close call, and at the most inopportune times.

    i hope your team loses a heartbreaking world series in which calls in games 3 5 and 6 adversely affect your team. you’ll be standing there going, “What the f#*@?!? We had this game, we had this series, if not for the jackasses in blue.”

    Meanwhile, much of America will call you a whiner and command you to stop bitching because your team lost– they had opportunities to win, and, “It isn’t like it was in game 7.”

    I would love to see that. Plus with a poorly officiated World Series we would have the triple crown of poorly officiated professional championships.

    People haven’t bitched like this in past years because it hasn’t, even in the officials’ poorest days, been done so egregariously on the highest platform– championship games/series.

    And do you really think the commentators make statements against the officials? How many times (in a game that perhaps you don’t even really care about) do you see what you think is an absolutely ridonkulously poor call, but you never hear a peep about it, never see a reply. If anything, the game announcers protect the officials–just like they protect coaches and players in general, and their own network in general.

    I don’t know if overall officiating is better or worse. I just know that it has been bad at top levels lately, and these days we expect better. We don’t put officials above the law, nor above review. They can expect Monday mornings to be just like they are for the coaches and athletes– if someone does a poor job, they hear it from all the talking heads.

    And also… just a thought… when people pay 40 bucks or more a ticket, pay 40 bucks or more to park, pay 87 dollars a beer, 23 dollars a hotdog– they expect the officiating to be perfect. You go to a high school game and pay 4 dollars at the door and 1.25 for a hotdog, you almost expect poor (but hopefully honest) officiating.

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