Conventional Wisdom

Conventional wisdom: June 10th

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Friday, June 10.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

These Mavs know what they are doing, and clearly, they have figured out that they work best when they play from behind. Dallas just can’t stand the sight of prosperity; they have to be the underdog or everything falls apart.

Still don’t think the Mavericks are a team of destiny? Did you see the shots they were hitting in Game 5?

The Mavs are a very good team playing very good basketball right now, but most importantly, they are in the Heat’s heads, and ultimately, that mind control will end up putting them in control (once they get behind by a few buckets) in Game 6 and finally putting this thing away.

Give it up already:

Miami Heat

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The Heat? Not so much. For the second (third?) straight game, LeBron James disappeared in the clutch, and he could have had a quintuple-double and still no one would care when he only scores two (and a relatively meaningless two at that) points in the fourth quarter. This time, Dwyane Wade wasn’t there to save him.

You reap what you sew? LeBron is one game from reaping the hell out of what he sewed last summer. Dan Gilbert must be happier than a pig in slop.

Some sports psychologist is going to make an awful nice living shrinking King James’ head in the offseason to find out what makes him shrivel up like a raisin when the stakes get high. At least it’s only one more game before the nightmare ends.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: LeBron James edition

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Wednesday, June 8.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

The screenplay I am writing about the Mavericks’ championship season is starting to become too fantastic. I may have to tone it down so it will be a little more believable when I start shopping it to the studios.

Come on, Dallas, really? You win a game when your franchise, the one guy who has to have it going for you at all times, comes down with the flu, has a bad shooting night, commits the ultimate sin of MISSING A SINGLE FREE THROW, and you still somehow pull out another come-from-behind victory?

Walt Disney won’t even look me in the eye with that pitch.

Clearly, this Dallas team is more than just Dirk Nowitzki. Jason Terry, for all his yapping the last few days, did what champions do and backed up his talk when it counted.

Dirk, unlike LeBron James, knows what to do when the chips are pushed in to the middle – he attacks. He couldn’t hit water from a boat last night from the perimeter, but still managed to score more points in the fourth quarter than LBJ did in the entire game, and that, my friends, ain’t a coincidence.

They may have to disinfect the Larry O’Brien trophy after Nowitzki touches it because of the German’s germs, but so be it. The Mavericks storybook ending is just two games away now.

Give it up already:

Miami Heat

Gregg Doyel, you were a game early with your question for LeBron. Scottie Pippen thinks this guy could be better than Jordan? MJ never scored less than eight points in a Finals’ quarter, forget a whole game.

Dwyane Wade has got to be rethinking his decision to re-up with the Heat in the offseason. After all, he could have gone home to Chicago and made sweet music with a guy like Derrick Rose who actually, you know, doesn’t pretend there is an invisible forcefield around the painted area when the season is on the line, doesn’t play hot potato with the basketball as soon as it touches his hands in the fourth quarter.

Here is a stat: 44-9. You know what that stands for? That is the scoring numbers for Dirk vs. LeBron in the fourth quarter of the four Finals games so far. Don’t tell me that doesn’t mean something. It means everything. James can say all he wants about making the right basketball play, hitting the open man, etc., but last I checked the best way to win a basketball game is to score more points than the opposition. When you are playing 3-on-5 every possession, you are going to have to actually attempt a shot or two on occasion.

Seriously, how do you lose that game with Wade playing the way he did? How do you blow another big fourth-quarter lead?

Put that coffee cup down, LeBron. Coffee is for closers only.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: June 6th

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, June 6.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

All hail Dwyane Wade, the ultimate playoff closer. The Mavericks had no answer for him in Game 3, and I don’t reckon they’ll find one before this series comes to an end. Also, that game-winning shot from the baseline by Chris Bosh? That’s there any time they want it, and CB4 is one of the best mid-range shooters in the NBA. Kind of a nice option to have, yeah?

We all know the stat by now — of the 11 Finals series that were tied 1-1 since the NBA went to the 2-3-2 format, the team that won Game 3 won the title all 11 times. Miami will make it 12-for-12 in just a few more days.

Give it up already:

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks continue to amaze with their ability to rally from large deficits, but at some point you wonder why they keep falling behind by such big margins so often. In this case, it’s simple — they aren’t as good as their opponents.

For the second time in three games, the Dallas bench came up short. For something that was supposed to be a big advantage for Big D coming into this series, they are running short on time to make their mark. Jason Terry is a hit-or-miss contributor, and Game 3 was a miss. It almost seemed like he wanted to erase his tattoo.

Dirk Nowitzki is unbelievably good, and it almost seems like he can do this on his own. He can’t. Which is why the Dallas run is nearly at its end.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: June 3rd

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Friday, June 3.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

I don’t know how many times it has to happen before teams begin to understand — STOP GETTING 15-POINT LEADS ON THE MAVERICKS! What are you, idiots? Don’t you know what that means? A 15-point deficit to Dallas is like popping open a can of spinach for Popeye. It’s over.

This Mavericks team is the toughest band of SOBs the playoffs have ever seen. They are the the bad guy in a horror movie; every time you think they’re dead they rise anew to torment and torture their opponents.

Payback for 2006 is upon us, and now that the Mavs have yanked home-court advantage away from the Heat, look for them to finish the job in front of their hometown fans with three straight in Big D.

Give it up already:

Miami Heat

Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooft.

The Heat love nothing more than an early celebration, whether in July or with a 15-point lead, and as we all know, vanity is the devil’s favorite sin.

You knew the Heat’s penchant for late-game meltdowns would surface at some point, and I don’t know if there are enough games left for Miami to overcome the devastation of last night’s loss.

And by the way: Scottie Pippen! You-know-who wouldn’t settle for long jumpers down the stretch of every important game? Exactly.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: June 1

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Wednesday, June 1.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

Yeah, LeBron James is amazing. If we didn’t hate him so much, we’d really have to be in awe of how well he’s playing in these playoffs. However, the real star of the show for Miami is its defense. As much praise as we heaped on Chicago for its defensive presence all season, it has been the Heat who have played the best “D” when the stakes got raised. It is their ability to choke out any attack that has them rumbling towards a champagne bath.

Give it up already:

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks’ bench was supposed to be a big advantage in this series, but man, did they look bad last night. Jason Terry was the only player who made anything that can be called a positive contribution, while Peja Stojakovic, J.J. Barea, and Brendan Haywood each should petition for part of Miami’s playoff share for their contributions to the Heat win in Game 1.

When Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd become your second and third best offensive options, your team is in trouble.

Dirk can’t do this by himself, but it looks like he’s going to have to try.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 30th

by Micah Hart

After each game day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is the current favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, May 30.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

No one seems happy about it outside of area code 305, but the Miami Heat are on their way to completing the journey they set out upon last summer. LeBron James and Chris Bosh will get their first title, Dwyane Wade his second, and afterward they’ll drink champagne while sipping on the tears of Cleveland residents and puppies, most likely.

The saddest thing about how all of this is playing out is how incredible those three are performing in this postseason, and no one is able to enjoy it due to the circumstances that brought them together.

Is that irony? It’s something.

Give it up already:

Dallas Mavericks

If this were a Disney movie, there is no doubt the Mavericks would win the NBA championship, besting the evil empire and their history in the process.

Unfortunately, this is real life. And as much of a feel-good story as Dallas is, the Mavs have only one of the best basketball players in the world while the Heat have three. Usually, that’s all that matters.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 26th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Thursday, May 26.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

Sometimes it just seems like fate. Was there any doubt that the Mavs would corral that offensive rebound last night, and that the ball would end up in Dirk Nowitzki‘s hands, and that his three-pointer would begin the final comeback to put Dallas into the NBA Finals? It certainly felt pre-ordained.

The Mavericks just have too many weapons at their disposal to be stopped over the course of a playoff series, and they have proven in this postseason that their veteran poise will keep the team grounded in even the toughest of circumstances.

Dallas already beat the Heat twice this season — expect them to do it four more times in the coming weeks.

Give it up already:

Chicago Bulls

Perhaps the Bulls can extend the series tonight in Chicago, but there is no way they are winning three straight against this Miami defense. Derrick Rose has given it everything he can, but even the NBA MVP can’t do it alone — especially when he is settling for fadeaway jumpers in late-game situations.

The Bulls achieved to their fullest potential this season, and that potential’s ceiling is Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 25th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Wednesday, May 25.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

The Heat are getting excellent play from LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. That much we probably could have expected. What we didn’t count on, but Miami has been able to rely upon throughout these playoffs, are clutch performances by some of the Heat’s much-maligned bench players.

Last night it was the ghost of Mike Miller who got his turn in the spotlight, hitting several clutch shots down the stretch to keep Miami in the game long enough for the SuperFriends to eventually take over.

All along it was thought that if you could coax a bad game or two out of Miami’s big three you would have them, because they’d have no one else to rely on. But with guys like Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, Miller, and James Jones each making plays at various points in these playoffs, that strategy is coming up empty.

Give it up already:

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Bulls would appear just as dead in the water as the Thunder, but at least their Game 5 will be played at home.

OKC will be in Dallas tonight for their final contest of the 2010-11 season. It’d make for a great story if they could nab a victory and send the series back to Oklahoma, but this ain’t no fairy tale. Young teams (or old, for that matter) don’t come back from the kind of mental devastation that was Game 4.

After tonight, the Thunder will go gentle into that good night.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 24th

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Tuesday, May 24.

Start planning the parade:

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavs are starting to take on a bit of that “Team of Destiny” sort of feel.

Dirk Nowitzki is playing at a level right now that few have ever attained, and last night’s game will be remembered at least in part for his tremendous performance down the stretch as Oklahoma City’s collapse.

This Dallas’ postseason run has a very “Disney sports movie” feel, which makes all the more sense when you consider they’ll probably have to defeat their old nemesis the Miami Heat to finally win an NBA title.

Give it up already:

Oklahoma City Thunder

The look on Kevin Durant‘s face says it all:

Nothing in sports comes easy, and for those that thought the Thunder might skip a couple steps in the process of becoming a dominant NBA franchise, well, they ain’t.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.

Conventional wisdom: May 23rd

by Micah Hart

Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.

Here’s how it looks on the morning of Monday, May 23.

Start planning the parade:

Miami Heat

We already know the Heat have two unstoppable offensive forces in Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. That’s hard enough to stop as it is. But if Chris Bosh is going to put up 34 points, we might as well just save everyone the time and effort and hand over the ole’ Larry O to Miami  right now.

Bosh has gotten a heap of criticism this year, and frankly, he only has himself to blame for a good portion of it. And while the haters will be right back on top of him the next time he throws up a single-digit scoring performance, I imagine he’s going to savor last night for a long time. I know I would.

The SuperFriends are going to win the title folks. This is happening.

Give it up already:

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls can’t score. This is an important note to make, as I’m reasonably sure you need to put more points on the board than your opponent to advance.

Carlos Boozer had a good offensive game last night, and that still didn’t make a dent in the Bulls’ offensive fortunes, as they once again barely cracked the 80-point mark. This team would have killed in 1995.

Job #1 for Chicago this offseason will be to add at least one perimeter scorer into the mix. Or four.

Seen something that belongs on All Ball? Let us know via email or Twitter.