Tag:Mike Miller
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 4:25 pm

Five offseason questions for the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- They didn't win it all. They came up short. And so the Heat are left asking themselves questions today. Why didn't they get it done? What went wrong? And what can they do to fix it?

Reality is, they were two games short of an NBA title and the way the series went, they can kick themselves quite a bit for blowing it. Dallas was absolutely the better team and rightful winner, but remember: The Heat blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead and had Game 4 in their grasp before faltering late again. So it's not like they have a thousand mile road to walk. They're at the gates. They've just got to break through.

But here are five questions they'll be asking this offseason.

1. What's missing?
Obviously the weakest link on the team is the point guard position. The Heat tried out Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers and eventually Mike Bibby before coming back to Chalmers in Game 6 of The Finals. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade handle most of the playmaking responsibilities, but they need someone reliable and responsible to run the offense well and defend his counterpart.

So much the reason the Heat's offense bogged down in big spots was because there wasn't real chemistry or cohesiveness on the court. That could be remedied by having a solid floor general next to LeBron and Wade to make sure each set is ran properly. Chalmers isn't a horrible option, but he's a really strange player. One second great, the next horrible. And consistency is extremely key here.

2. Is Erik Spoelstra the right man for the job?
My opinion (because who else's would it be?) -- yes. There's absolutely no reason to give up on Spoelstra just because of the way The Finals played out. Everyone wants to find a reason for the Heat's demise, and while Spoelstra certainly has blood on his hands, if LeBron hadn't disappeared, Miami would probably be planning a celebration today or at least practicing for a Game 7.

Spoelstra is still one of the youngest coaches in the league and considering all that he managed and had to work through this season, I'd say he did a pretty terrific job. So much outside distraction, so much drama. But Spoelstra took his team -- which has a ton of talent of course -- to within a couple wins of a championship. Could he have done better? Duh. But there's a lot of blame to go around with the Heat. Just like the Mavericks won as a team, the Heat lost as one, top to bottom. Continuity is a good thing and pinning it all on Spoelstra simply isn't fair.

3. Is there something structurally wrong with the roster?
Yes, absolutely. Not in terms of Wade and LeBron not fitting together. But just in terms of vision. Pat Riley, for as good a job he did in constructing this monster of a team, sort of panicked and didn't stick to his original plan of filling out the roster with young talent that can grow alongside Wade, LeBron and Bosh. Instead, he sort of panicked and started piling up aging veterans at minimum contracts.

I mean look at the back end of that roster. Jamaal Magloire, Erick Dampier, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Eddie House, Mike Bibby, Juwan Howard -- that looks more like a group that should be playing in a Saturday morning men's league, not the NBA Finals. That's half the active roster too.

Riley needs to scrap the veteran plan and look to find some young talent to develop that fits around his big three. Players that can adjust, adapt and improve as they go along. A really nice core is there. Bosh, Wade, LeBron, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and even Joel Anthony can be a good piece. But the Heat need talent, not older guys trying to sail one last championship. There might be some growing pains to go through next season if Riley went that direction, but that's what LeBron, Wade and Bosh are for. They can carry you through while the young guys figure it out.

4. What's the offseason plan?

Say goodbye to all the expirings. Just let them walk right out. Peace out Mike Bibby, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (he's retiring anyway), Jamaal Magloire, Juwan Howard, Erick Dampier and even Mario Chalmers. I'd let them all go. Eddie House and James Jones both have player options so you have to think they'll exercise those.

But between Miami's top six players, they have almost $67 million tied up. So figuring out how to fill in a roster around those guys will be a challenge. And a lot of where their future goes depends on the new collective bargaining agreement. Assuming the system stays somewhat similar to what we have now, a couple veteran minimums and a then younger players that can develop. The Heat don't need a ton of depth. There's a flaw in the plan because they need a good point guard and they'll never have the money to get one, but that where Riley's got to earn his money. Go find one.

5. Are they the favorites in the East again?
Right next to the Bulls, absolutely. It'll likely be a three-team race between the Heat, Bulls and the aging Celtics. Orlando could make some noise and the Hawks aren't terribly far off. Even the Knicks could challenge for that four-seed with a full season of Amar'e and Carmelo.

But the Heat simply have the most talent in the conference. There are issues on the roster -- big ones -- but that should tell you how talented Wade, LeBron and Bosh are. They were able to win 58 games and reach the NBA Finals in spite of all those flaws. They need a little more help and a little more structure to the team, but there's absolutely no reason this group can't find themselves right back in The Finals again.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 2:45 pm

Governor Kasich: Mavericks are 'Honorary Ohioans'

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, declared the Dallas Mavericks "Honorary Ohioans" after their 2011 NBA title. Posted by Ben Golliver. john-kasich

Revenge for "The Decision" now bears an executive seal.

John Kasich, Governor of the state of Ohio, took the unusual step of honoring a team with no geographical ties to his jurisdiction. On Monday, one day after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals, Kasich's office released a press release noting that the governor had issued a resolution that declared that the Mavericks, their friends, family and fans are now officially "Honorary Ohioans."

Why would he do this? Retribution, of course.

The Heat were led by Ohio native former Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, who opted to take his talents to South Beach last summer rather than return to play for the Cavaliers. In return, fans in Ohio booed him mercilessly during his two return visits to Cleveland and openly rooted for the Heat to get bounced from the playoffs.

The resolution specifically praises Dallas' "loyalty, integrity and teamwork" and specifically praises Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki for choosing to re-sign with the Mavericks last summer. Kasich's resolution bears the official seal of Ohio, bestows upon the Mavericks "all privileges and honors" that goes with the title "Honorary Ohioans" and is signed at the bottom.

You know who definitely finds this hilarious and awesome? Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who issued his own decree on Sunday night. 

Below is a small version of the official resolution. Click here to read the whole thing.

Hat tip: IAmAGM.com.

Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:44 pm

DeShawn's shirt: 'LeBron, How's my Dirk taste?'

DeShawn Stevenson wears a shirt that says, "Hey LeBron! How's my dirk taste?" Posted by Ben Golliver. stevenson-shirt-small

After poking and prodding Miami Heat forward LeBron James throughout the 2011 NBA Finals, Dallas Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson got in one final shot following Dallas' NBA title. 

The Mavericks closed out the series on Sunday night with a 105-95 win in Game 6 before taking to South Beach club LIV to celebrate with the Larry O'Brien trophy.  

On Monday, the Mavericks flew home to Dallas, where Stevenson was spotted wearing a Mavericks blue and white t-shirt with lettering that read: "Hey LeBron! How's my Dirk taste?"

That slogan is an obvious reference to a Shaquille O'Neal freestyle rap. O'Neal used the line, "Hey Kobe, tell me how my a** taste" to mock his former teammate with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant.

To add a play on teammate Dirk Nowitzki's name here is incredibly inspired work from Stevenson, who may well have created a legacy for himself as "The Guy Who Got Into LeBron's Head Completely" in these 2011 NBA Finals.

The most underrated part of this shirt is that it bears the sponsorship of HDNet, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's television station. It's almost like Cuban is personally endorsing the joke.

Picture via BallinWithBryan on YFrog.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 12:36 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 12:42 pm

Miami Herald runs ad congratulating the Heat

Posted by Royce Young

MIAMI -- Nothing like a little "Dewey defeats Truman!" situation to wrap up this NBA season.

The Miami Herald screwed the pooch on an ad in Monday's edition of the paper. Here, let the Miami New Times explain:
As if reading the Sports section didn't suck enough for Heat fans this morning, Miami Herald readers opened their paper to find a nearly full-page ad reading "Congratulations Miami!" next to photos of Heat championship T-shirts and hats from Macy's. ("Raise Another Banner" -- ughhhhh.)

Maybe Mark Cuban took this out as a extra special Monday morning foot-to-the-balls for Heat fans? He's devious. We won't put it past him.

Just for extra effect, the ad runs directly under a banner headline about how badly the Heat's point guard's sucked and an all-caps header proclaiming: DALLAS WINS BEST OF 7 SERIES 4-2.

Thanks, Miami Herald. You are the fourth-quarter LeBron James of local sports coverage.
What's really odd to me about that is the Heat weren't even the ones that had a chance to win the title last night. It was just Game 6 and they still had to win two more. That's a pretty incredible whoopsy right there.

But man does it ever fit the story of this season's Heat. Celebrating before a title was actually won. Even the DJ last night was yelling in the arena before the game, "Let's get ready to celebrate tonight!" I guess forcing a Game 7 would've been great because it's better than the alternative, but the Heat weren't set up to raise a banner Sunday night.

Also: Nice dig there at the end, Miami New Times.
Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:36 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:55 pm

NBA Finals: Mavericks legacies redefined

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- The season is over. NBA life (as we know it) is over (shudder). And the NBA Finals have come to a close. The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions.

As we sift through the aftermath of the 2011 NBA Finals and one of the best seasons, maybe the best season in NBA history, it's time to examine how the Mavericks' championship shifts the narrative of the careers of their players and staff. There will be time enough to tear the Miami Heat into tiny heart shaped pieces, stomp on them, set them on fire, and then bury the ashes. And it's coming. (Tomorrow, actually, from CBSSports.com's own Gregg Doyel!)

But for now, let's turn our attention to the Dallas Mavericks, and look at how their legacies shifted on Sunday in Miami.

Dirk Nowitzki: He goes from "the Best Seven-Foot Euro Pure-Shooting Power Forward" or "Greatest Scoring Power Forward to Never Win a Ring" to "Elite Championship Power Forward With Toughness, Resliency, and a Jumper You'll Never Forget." Nowitzki had a terrible night, until he didn't, stepping up and delivering "when it mattered." The talk of Nowitzki's lack of mental resolve, of being soft, of not being a player that could play defense or lead a team to a title? All washed away, forever. Nowitzki redefined his entire career arc, reshaping it from lovable loser and guy you feel for into NBA champion and one of the truly greatest players of our time. Of the players in their prime in the post-Shaq-Lakers era, he joins Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Dwyane Wade as guys who led their teams to a title as "The Guy." His resiliency and effort make up the new benchmark for NBA greatness.  

Bryant had the fadeaway, Duncan had the off-glass leaner. Wade the shifting layups. Nowitzki will be remembered for that elbow jumper, and more importantly, for doing what Shawn Marion told Dirk to do in these playoffs. "Take your ass to the rack," Marion told reporters this week he'd said to Dirk in the Portland series. Dallas never looked back. For one of the consumate teammates and most tireless workers in the NBA, there could not be a better ending, a better shift in the career narrative. 

"You start to see [opponents and teammates] watch Dirk on a day-in and day-out basis, how hard he works, how hard he practices," Cuban said with his hand on the trophy Nowitkzi had won him. "Then watching him in a game, guys would start shaking their heads, because you don't really truly appreciate who he is and what he does and how truly hard he works until you see him on a daily basis."  

Nowitzki could have gone star-chasing in the summer of 2010. He re-signed almost immediately with Dallas. And now he's not the same old Dirk.

He's Mr. Champion, Dirk Nowitzki to you.

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Jason Kidd:  For Kidd, this must in part be bittersweet. He came so close in his prime, always outmatched by teams with superior talent. In the back of his mind, he had to have the same concern about this series, especially after Game 1. But he's done it. He's reached the summit. He's home free. He was a Hall of Famer to begin with, but a title clinches it. While he'll be remembered for those years with Phoenix and New Jersey, he gets to cement his legacy in Dallas -- where it all started. Instead of basking in the moment, though, all Kidd could do was focus on deferring credit to the rest of his team. 

"Man, it's a dream come true," Kidd said Sunday, a satisfied smile on his face. "My teammates, their character and their will to come every day and work to get better they deserve all the credit. And I'm so just happy to be at the right place at the right time."

Kidd has always been what his teams needed him to be. Distributor, leader, playmaker, MVP, and now role player and, dare we say it, spot-up shooter. Kidd's improved 3-point shooting, adding it to his game late in his career, only serves as further testament to his adaptability. Kidd hit huge shots in the playoffs, and in the Finals -- in Game 6. He defended LeBron James. He served as a locker room leader. He provided the foundation of what the team wanted to do. 

He got the ring, the icing on the cake of his career. For him it must be like getting home after a long journey.

"To finally finish across the line of the marathon in first place is huge," Kidd said before limping his way to the party. 

Jason Terry: Smack-talking, contested-jumper-taking, enormous-stones partner-in-crime to Dirk Nowitzki to championship supporting player and one of the gutsiest players in the NBA Finals. The man they call Jet goes from just another sidekick for a contending team to a legend in Dallas and in Finals history. Terry's emergence as the series wore on was a huge turning point for the Mavs. As much as they pointed to defense in this series, it was their offense waking up that changed the terrain of the series. Terry started bombing from deep, which opened up his mid-range game. That gave him chances at the rim, in turn making him confident and leading to him being unstoppable. In Game 6 he took over for a struggling Dirk Nowitzki, blistering the notoriously stiff Miami defense with a series of pull-up-jumpers in transition which rendered the Heat's strategy moot. What do you do when a guy is knocking down shots like Terry did in this series? 

You watch him win a title and then pretend to fly around the room. That's what you do.

Tyson Chandler: So, he doesn't really seem like the injury-plagued former-Bull bust he was a few years ago. And we can probably put down that narrative about how he was only good because Chris Paul made him good, too. Oh, and that bit about him being nothing more than a guy with size and no savvy? Yeah, that's out as well.

Tyson Chandler won't be remembered like Dirk, Terry, or even Kidd will. But it was Chandler that changed the Mavericks' defensive attitude, their identity, and put them in a position to win this title. His brilliant work against the Heat's pick and roll while managing to divert cutters from the lane and avoid foul trouble should be the stuff that's taught in basketball academies. It was Chandler who brought the attitude of true toughness, not fake posturing but real, "I will give and take the hard foul, make the hard play, dunk the difficult pass to catch, stop the difficult player to defend." The Mavericks needed that guy for so long, and Chandler's arrival means that he takes his place in the lore of Finals Big Men as "The Man Who Snuffed the Heat."

Shawn Marion: Oh, Matrix. One of the truly funniest storylines of these Finals for the media was Marion's constant bristling at those who said that he redefined himself. Shawn Marion always has been an elite defender, in his estimation. Shawn Marion has always been a championship caliber offensive player, in his estimation. Whether these things are true (and they certainly are to some extent) is irrelevant. Marion said the same thing over and over again in a champagne-soaked locker room.

"Nobody can take this away from me. They can all kiss my ass."

Yup. That's the Matrix. Championship supporting player, offensive savior, defensive stalwart. 

J.J. Barea: Hey, guess who gets to be an NBA trivia question for the next twenty years? Answer: The same guy who is now a national hero to Puerto Rico. Jub Jub did well for himself and gets the distinguished honor of being "that little guy that beat LeBron James off the dribble."

Carlisle: Carlisle walks away as one of the modern era NBA's best coaches. So highly considered by his peers and yet never discussed as one of the best by media or fans, Carlisle changed all that with one of the best coaching runs in NBA history. Carlisle naturally deflected all the praise, crediting his players and the organization. But in the course of a single playoff run, Carlisle helped the Mavericks shed a reputation as choke artists by firmly kicking in the Blazers' teeth, then downed the defending champions in a sweep, crushed the dreams of they idyllic Thunder by devolving them into pure chaos, and then toppled the mighty Heat for the title. This Mavericks team will be remembered for their comebacks, which are a product of its resolve, which is a reflection of its coach. 

More on Carlisle tomorrow, but just know that this title will shift the way we look at Carlisle going forward. He's no longer underrated. He's simply rated. 

He's a winning coach, in every sense now.

Posted on: June 13, 2011 3:17 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 3:37 am
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Posted on: June 13, 2011 2:23 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 1:53 pm

Photos: Mavs party with trophy on South Beach

The Dallas Mavericks celebrated on South Beach folllowing their win in the 2011 NBA Finals. Posted by Ben Golliver.

To the victors go the spoils.

The Dallas Mavericks won the 2011 NBA Finals on Sunday night, their first NBA title in franchise history, and they wasted no time celebrating the accomplishment.

Just hours after the final buzzer sounded on their 105-95 Game 6 victory over the Miami Heat, the Mavericks took their trophy to South Beach.

That's right: The Mavericks, led by owner Mark Cuban, Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd, among others, celebrated the title with the Larry O'Brien trophy at South Beach nightclub LIV.

In case you were curious, Nightcure.com reports that LIV is a futuristic nightclub located inside Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
With truly breathtaking decor, top class DJs, a state-of-the-art sound system, first class VIP service and some of the sexiest on-stage dancers you'll find in all of Florida, LIV nightclub simply cannot be beaten. It's amazing and will definitely impress even the pickiest of party-goers! LIV nightclub covers two floors and has three bars, a gigantic dance floor, gorgeous decor and a mesmerizing lighting system, which further enhances the upbeat party atmosphere. 
Here are a few photos of Dallas' South Beach celebration.




Posted on: June 13, 2011 1:31 am
Edited on: June 13, 2011 8:01 am

Winning NBA Finals validates Mavs' Cuban

Posted by Matt Moore

MIAMI -- He's the owner you want. You may despise his attitude, his bombastic attraction to the spotlight, his incessant assaults on officials, and how he blatantly and painfully reaches out with metrics and trades and promotion in every way he can. But it will not change what you have to admit, what you had to admit before these Finals and what you cannot escape after the Dallas Mavericks secured their first NBA championship.

Mark Cuban is the owner you want.

For 11 years Mark Cuban has invested in the Mavericks. Not only money (has he ever spent money), but time, energy, brainpower, manpower and emotion. He poured his lifeblood into the Mavericks. He fought with other owners, he fought with Phil Jackson, he fought with the league over every officiating tendency. And year after year he was denied the promised land, year after year he was met with only failure. How many other owners would continue to pump that much money, that much emotion into an investment that had caused so much disappointment and grief? 

Cuban would. Cuban did. And now, he's got the ring to show for it.

As Cuban sat at the podium Sunday night, a you-know-what-eating grin on his face, he didn't offer a cocky "We knew this would happen." There weren't any pot shots at the league. There was only gratitude. Cuban, for all his faults, wanted this badly. And after finally reaching the summit, instead of gloating about how smart he is, instead he talked about what he had learned.

"I learned chemistry matters," Cuban said. "That it's a team game. That you have to have players that believe in each other and trust each other and trust your coach. And that's a process. It doesn't happen overnight."

It didn't for the Mavericks. Over the past 10 years they've seen the kind of heartbreak that can fracture franchises. The Big Brother Spurs always lording over them. When they finally pushed past, they slammed head-first into the Heat who -- in 2006 -- celebrated capturing the same trophy Cuban clutched as his own Sunday night. The next season, they lost in one of the most devastating playoff upsets in NBA history, a loss to the Warriors that destroyed the hopes of one of the truly great teams of the 2000s. They dealt with injuries, second-guessing of trades, their methods, the metrics they used. And on Sunday, all of it was wiped away in a champagne rain of celebration. Cuban was in the locker room, boisterous as ever, and oh, yeah, even gave the media what they came for, a magnificent I-don't-care-I-just-won-the-title curse on national television. 

Shawn Marion was asked in the locker room if Cuban could talk now. Marion, high on the moment, said: "Oh my God, if you think I have swag? He's got ultimate swag!"

That ultimate swag is defined by Cuban's intelligent decision-making. He runs his mouth because he backs it up with his pocket book and in his approach. Maybe more than anything, these Finals showed that it's not only about putting together a championship team, it's about a championship organization. From the head coach -- who was respected, won but ultimately was fired everywhere he went -- to the advanced metrics approach Cuban relentlessly pursued, to the massive amount of in-game entertainment Cuban puts together. The Mavericks are a class-act organization, even if Cuban doesn't always portray that. And as of this moment, it no longer matters.

They're a championship organization.

Cuban spoke effusively about Dirk Nowitzki's work ethic and about what the Big German has meant to his franchise.

"I never questioned Dirk. Never even a little bit," Cuban said. "Dirk helps set the culture of a team. And culture is critically important for a winning organziation. It's critically important for a successful team."

He credited Carlisle, and even said that metrics played a part in the decision to hire Carlisle (though his interview clearly was more important). He credited the people in his organization, from Donnie Nelson to Keith Grant and on down. Cuban didn't act like he did all the work, though to think Cuban isn't heavily involved day-to-day, that he didn't help build this team, is naive. He put in the money and time, the blood, sweat and tears.

And now he finally has his trophy to show for it.

Fans are so often stymied by ownership. They'll know their guy won't spend, or he'll spend irrationally, or he'll always overreact to situations, or that he's completely disloyal. What they want is a guy who will spend to win, who will work to improve no matter what, who will stay involved and fight for his team. They want an owner who does all the things the guy at that podium did on Sunday night, grinning to all the world and asking the press when he walked in, reeking of champagne and sweat, "Did anybody inform you guys we're the world champions?"

They want an owner like Mark Cuban.

Hail to the King, baby.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com