Wednesday, June 07, 2006

NBA Finals Hype Day 4

Day 4 without games in the NBA Playoffs, as the Western Conference Finals has been a while ago, now….and…needing….basketball…soon…

Here is some Day 4 Hype:

In Miami, here is a feature on Dirk

He is a hybrid, a new dimension all unto himself, a Teutonic giant who shoots rainbows with the touch of a feather -- Germany's answer to Larry Bird and more -- a seven-foot wunderkind.

He is the face of a franchise that lies deep in the heart of Texas -- light years away from the Fatherland -- an irony that is never lost here in Big D amid the cowboy hats and deep-twang accents, in a town where T-shirts are sold that read ``Dirk is My Homeboy.''

Dirk Nowitzki is that and much more, and as he steps into the harsh spotlight this week on the biggest stage of his career, Nowitzki is not only the man who will try to lead the Dallas Mavericks to their first NBA title, but he is perhaps the future of the NBA itself.

''The game is changing and the rules are changing,'' said the Heat's Shaquille O'Neal, who will face the problems Nowitzki's rare mobility brings to his position.
``The NBA centers are going more toward the European player. I tell my kids you won't be able to play the game your daddy played. It's becoming a different game.
''He [Nowitzki] is where the big-man game will be in four or five years,'' O'Neal added. ``When you talk great big men, it'll be based on whether guys can play like Dirk or not. Stepping out, shooting the three, midrange game and the low-post game. I'm going to actually let my children watch his game.''

Nowitzki was overwhelmed by O'Neal's comments.

''That's pretty sweet,'' Nowitzki said.

In Dallas, it is all-hail Dirk

One play convinced Johnson, possibly because it was the play that happened to save the Mavericks from playoff extinction against San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals.

"Dirk's drive against the Spurs," Johnson said Tuesday of Nowitzki's move to the basket that ended with a three-point play and forced overtime in Game 7. "I mean, I'm too young to be his father. But I felt like a big brother. Do you know how many times he worked on that? That I've told him, that's not going to work in the playoffs, you shooting a 25-foot fadeaway? Or your pick-and-pop? It's not going to work."

Nowitzki isn't the only one. But as the franchise player on a team that has truly reached maturity this season, Nowitzki can be the face that is no longer pockmarked with acne. All the blemishes have cleared up on the Mavericks.

"Avery has always told us that we have to expand our game," Nowitzki said. "That's been a big key for this team since training camp."

And Johnson knew it was a long process. It wasn't going to happen in November. But he kept hammering away. Sooner or later, Johnson knew he would either get the players' attention or the backlash would be overwhelming.

What had to happen between learning what won't work and what would was that the team had to trust Johnson. And vice versa.

Mark Stein picks the series

This series will be played at a speed that drains Shaq's effectiveness. I'm also figuring that Howard's length and activity will nag Wade more than this flu he can't shake.

The Mavs, furthermore, are better equipped than anyone Miami has seen in the playoffs so far to expose the two biggest weaknesses these Heaters have been dealing with since Riley re-did the roster:

• A shaky perimeter defense that exposes Shaq to extra fouls trying to protect the rim.

• A lack of consistent perimeter shooting to space the floor for Shaq and Wade.
I suspect that Riley had accounted for all of the above when he told reporters in Miami the other day that he'd be "relieved" to win it all for the first time since 1988 … as opposed to delirious with joy. (Shaq and Zo insist that the 61-year-old has mellowed, but only so much apparently.)

One problem that I see: if Howard is on Wade, then what do we do when Howard is on the bench with 3 fouls before the first quarter is over? I don’t like Howard as a full time defender, because he doesn’t have the ability to defend without fouling over 48 minutes…

Seems kind of a weird time of year to write this, but Peter King wants Michael Irvin in the Hall of Fame

Michael Irvin, WR, Dallas. Three knocks on Irvin I always hear. 1) He cheated: He held and pass-interfered when the officials couldn't see. 2) He was a mess off the field. 3) Dallas will have Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith (and maybe Larry Allen) in the Hall when this era's team is considered. That's enough. Poppycock. This man was the leader of the Cowboys, pure and simple. The leader. And he was a great player who simply refused to lose. I know it's a cliché, but ask anyone around that team -- Aikman, Jimmy Johnson, Jerry Jones. It's absurd he hasn't made it. And re: the off-the-field stuff, we are not allowed to bring those considerations into the meeting room. Only what happened between the lines should matter. Catching 750 balls for a three-time Super Bowl winner and being the key guy in the locker room on game days ... that should make him a gimme.

Insider says Drew Henson was the best player in Europe

1. QB Drew Henson, Rhein Fire (allocated by Dallas Cowboys)

Henson is a household name we have all heard about and at first glance he is a higher profile guy than we are used to seeing in NFLE. However, Henson is a player who still needs game experience and live snaps. Henson's biggest problem in his young NFL career has been his inability to read defenses, process information, and make quick decisions … and that's what you do in these game situations. He has all the physical skills that you are looking for and he is coming off a season for Rhein in which he completed 109 of 209 passes for 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns, but most importantly, he threw only three interceptions. The latter statistic leads you to believe that his decision making has improved. So, where does Henson fit in the Cowboys' plans? He will compete again with Tony Romo to be backup quarterback behind aging starter Drew Bledsoe. However, with Bledsoe near the end of his career, the Cowboys must decide whether Romo or Henson is their quarterback of the future and Henson's positive performance in NFLE should raise his confidence level entering training camp.

Edmonton needs a goalie …trouble is, neither of them have ever started a playoff game….

Ty Conklin and Jussi Markkanen call it a second chance. Critics suggest it's more likely the fourth or fifth, maybe the sixth, for those keeping score at home.

Pick a number, any number, but whatever digit you choose, Conklin or Markkanen will get it tonight when the Edmonton Oilers face the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final without Dwayne Roloson.

What makes either of them think they can fill the skates left vacant by Roloson?
"It's just confidence in yourself," said Conklin, who allowed the winning goal by Rod Brind'Amour with 32 seconds to play in a 5-4 loss Monday after taking over when Roloson went down.

Ed Belfour’s son tries out for the Tornado

Texas Tornado Head Coach and General Manager Tony Curtale, has a reputation of having Tornado players with an NHL flavor, and this weekend's Texas Tornado Tryout Camp in Michigan will be no exception. Over 120 players will compete for a spot on the 2006-07 Texas Tornado roster to compete for a 4th straight NAHL National Championship, and one of those will be goaltender Dayne Belfour, son of former Dallas Stars goaltender Ed Belfour.

The camp begins Thursday, June 8th at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena in suburban Detroit, Michigan, with two goalies only sessions. Friday-Sunday, the remainder of the forwards and defensemen will join the goaltenders for a weekend of competition and a spot on arguably the best junior A team in the United States the past three years. The Michigan camp is one of two tryout camps that the Tornado will hold this summer. The other will be July 27-30 at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco, Texas.

The Red Wings ponder moves

Sam Jackson and U2

Reese offers me the demolition of the Chinese Dam …That is awesome!!!

The long touted amazing unintentional comedy of Bill Shatner’s Rocket Man


MrSimic said...

Give me Turco in the regular season.

Give me Eddie's son and a bag of sticks for Turco in the postseason.

Anonymous said...

Avery knows that J-Ho will get into foul trouble if he guards D-Wade for long stretches. That's why he'll save it for then end, when/if the game is on the line.

I'm still not convinced that Diop stands no chance against Shaq. Sure, he could use some more bulk, but Diop's ability to get out and run for a bit will exhaust Shaq.

With Jason "Out of control" Williams, 'Toine "Jack-it-up" Walker, and D-Wade, it'll be VERY HARD for Miami to be disciplined (as Dallas was against the Suns) in slowing the game. This'll reduce Shaq's effectiveness.

Go Mavs!

Jared in Irving said...

I still say Griff starts game 1 of this series and guards DWade anytime he's in.

With Griff on the floor that does give Walker someone to guard without getting torched, but that also means Wade has to guard Josh, and spend a lot of energy there. He'd also have to work on the defensive glass, which would limit him in transition.

I think Diop will pick up two fouls in the span of two or three minutes every game, and then Damp will come in and hold the fort.

Cap It said...

Great Names:

Udonis Haslem-looks nothing like I thought he would with a name like that.

James Posey-great criminal name for a movie like Raising Arizona (Remember John Goodman's character talking about James Spivey?)

Rick Bentley said...

My basketball-boner is in full throb. I've been waiting for this, literally, my entire sports life. The Jim Cleamons/Quinn Buckner Mavs are who got me interested in the exciting world of sports as a youngster, and when the Mavs take home that trophy, it may rank as one of the proudest moments of my entire life, not just my sports life. If my wife complains that I watch every minute of this series, I will surely go to Staples and get a quickie-divorce kit.

Cap It said...

anyone see cuban's blog this morning? odd? wierd?


Go Vammer!

MrSimic said...

Cuban is such a dork.

Luis M said...

man this wait time seems longer then the wait for the superbowl.

let's do this!
go mavs!

Fake Sturm said...

Does anybody know exact tip time on Sunday? I got conned by the old lady into going to some engagement party on Sunday at 6:00, and needless to say, Fake Sturm is not happy. Who has parties on Sunday at 6:00, especially during the NBA freaking Finals??? Rick would you pick me up an extra kit while you are out. Surely this is grounds for divorce.

F Me

Luis M said...

man, the wife knows that i will slap her pregnant ass if she even considering scheduling something during a mavs post season game, let alone a finals game.

she might do it during a cowboys game but that is because she hates the boys.

you dont need to pick up a kit you need to have him bring you some balls so you can man up!

Cap It said...

Fake Sturm,
Wow, 8pm tip. If this dude has any test tickles, he'll have the game on somewhere.
REALLY bad timing!

MrSimic said...

FYI, all the games have an 8pm central tip. Schedule accordingly.

Fake Sturm said...

Not so much MrSimic.
Game 1 scheduled for 7pm and game 2 is schedule for 8pm central. Which I hope means 7:30 and 8:30 actual tip off. I think I can make it home for that but I need a comfirmation on that time.

And yes I will punch this dude in his mouth for not knowing the Finals schedule in April when the party was planned

Anonymous said...

There's way too much ass kissing between the Mavs and the Heat in the media. I want some fire, controversy. Hey Shaq, Dallas wouldn't trade your fat ass for Dirk. Hey Ericka, are you still the second best center in the league. Hey Glove, better where a cup when you're on Terry. Hey Nellie, why don't you where your clown nose to a couple games. Hey Wallace, how about a guarantee, oops, you're out, oh what the hell give us a guarantee anyway.


Cap It said...

Anyone seen the Corby / Shaq video from the Press conference today? The look on Shaq's face when he realized who it was asking the question was Freakin' priceless!

It's on, if you haven't seent it forward to about 8:35 or so...

Sam said...

Great find, Cap it! that was awesome. i can't believe corby was able to squeeze that into a national press conference. major baby arm to corby.

Jared in Irving said...

Fake Sturm,

The game tonight actually starts a little after 8....