Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Is the Heat culture adapting?

In the wake of Chris Bosh’s 37 point, three pointer game winner, many are starting to take notice that this Heat team is not just a conglomerate of mercenaries but something more.

They are proven winners with a proven system. They have a plan.

It is not easy to win one title in the NBA, let alone two in a row. The Heat are shooting for a three-peat and are doing it with Dwyane Wade sitting out games and Lebron James being given less minutes over the course of the season. The reason? Keep them sharp and healthy for the playoffs – the same notion that got Coach Popovich in hot water last season with his aging veterans.

USA Today published an interesting article with insight into the adaptation. Miami has always had a winning culture – instilled in them when Pat Riley made the move from New York to Miami back in the mid-90’s. He brought in Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, PJ Brown, and others to build a gritty, tough winning franchise. The Heat, for years, had been solid – making runs to the playoffs every few years but never quite getting over the hump despite the best efforts of players like Glen Rice, Steve Smith, and Rony Seikaly. The common denominator? The culture was different.

After Riley took over at the helm, he began instilling a championship vision. In his opening press conference he made mention of his now famous vision of a parade waltzing down Biscayne boulevard. This led to a daring Shaq acquisition which vaulted the Heat back into contention again since the days of the Zo-led Heat of the mid-90’s.

In order for the 2010 offseason of miracles to happen, the foundation had to be laid in place. Wade and Udonis Haslem were the cornerstones of this foundation. In Wade, the Heat had a star that could lead by example – he had been Finals MVP in 2006 while leading the team to its first ever title. In Haslem, the Heat had a gritty player in the lineage of a Grant Long and a PJ Brown. He was a local kid that had tremendous heart, playing overseas after his days as a Gator, losing weight, and turning into a very serviceable, if under-sized, power forward. He had flaws in his game, but he was a tireless worker.

Now, the Heat have appeared in 3 straight NBA Finals – and are shooting for a 4th. They are off to their best ever 23-7 start. The critics have talked about how mental fatigue will set in – human hunger and thirst for greatness has to be eventually quenched at some point. For the Heat, the trick is keeping them sufficiently “greedy” while also making the run at titles their sole purpose. Excellence is the standard, nothing less. For lesser situations and cultures, this would never work. A team might get over the hump once and get lucky (see the Mavericks of 2010) but sustainability is tied to the idea of not being stagnant. Once must not get too comfortable and seek to be defined, but rather must go beyond the familiar in order to keep pushing the boundaries.

Chris Bosh is a pretty good example of that. He has taken to living in south Florida, and has been working on his Spanish to the point that he can speak it a bit publicly in doing interviews. It is this knack for continuing to educate oneself, to never be satisfied with your current state, that leads one to transcend normal boundaries.

Erik Spoelstra has recommended Fred Hassan’s Reinvent: A Leader’s Playbook for Serial Success to his players. Following in the Riley mold, Spoelstra is finding ways to engage his players’ minds – as that will drive their efforts and guide their collective vision for success.

The USA Today article really gives insight into the process that Spoelstra often refers to in post-game interviews. It is more of a mentality than anything, something that simply cannot be bought and paid for but something that has to be a part of someone. This trait also has to be recognized by evaluators and cannot be easily quantified with measurements and data. This is one of the reasons why teams that succeed continue to have success while those that don’t fail despite finding players with good skill sets. The Spurs and Heat, for example, have a culture and find the players to fit those components. As Wade says in the article, “You’ve just got to play, to continue being hungry. I think the biggest thing is that each person has to be self motivated. You’re self motivated to want to continue to be successful, and that’s half the battle.”

Miami Heat and MiamiHeatwave Are Back!

With the NBA finally getting things done with their much-anticipated CBA, the games will start on Christmas Day – with our Heat forced to watch the Dallas Mavericks raise their championship banner. And MiamiHeatwave.com will be right there with the rest of us loyal Heat fans, watching Run DLC shift into year two and finish what they started. Only 66 games until the playoffs, and we will be right there the entire way for our 8th year. Stay tuned!

Mavericks Stamp Out Heat; Rise to Champions

It wasn’t supposed to end this way, but end this way it did. It was supposed to end with Wade and Lebron, hugging at center court, with the trophy in their grasp. It was supposed to be a moment of elation, a moment of validation. It was supposed to be a moment where the criticism and the titles of “soft” and “not clutch” melted away.

In a way, it was – just not for Lebron James, but instead for Dirk Nowitzki.

The Mavericks beat the Miami Heat on their home court in Game 6 to take the title for the NBA’s best team this season. They did it with heart, with grit, and by never failing to believe in themselves. These were supposed to be the traits the Miami Heat were going to display on their way to an inevitable title. The Mavs proved themselves to be the better team while winning two games in Miami – a feat not accomplished at all during this postseason by any other team. The Mavs proved to have the better offense, despite being characterized as a one-man team while the Heat had their big three. The Mavs also proved to be the better defensive team, the better coached team, the deeper team. They held all the intangibles as the series ground down to its eventual conclusion.

While there is going to be a lot of criticism mounted on the Heat, the fact that they ran their way to the NBA Finals in their first year as a team should not be forgotten or overlooked. It is extremely hard to get to an NBA Finals, just ask the Bulls and Celtics as both franchises felt they were in contention. The Heat should not be characterized as anything other than the best team in the Eastern Conference. Their failure in winning the title was not so much by their own doing as it was also by the Mavericks making the most of every opportunity that came their way. There was a chance to rally at the end of Game 2, the Mavs did it instead of laying down and accepting they weren’t supposed to win. Game 3 saw a defensive stalemate bested by a Bosh jumper on the wing – it could have gone either way. The Mavericks talked up their game and came out the more desperate team and stole Game 4. They pushed the issue in Game 5. And when you thought their time was up and the Heat were going to get back on track, they came down to Miami and snap the neck of their mighty opponent on their home floor. Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t lead his team there, they carried him to his first ever title.

And the party is still going on in Dallas.

As Heat fans, we will try to rationalize this loss. We will say, they’ll be back and we will point towards the future as it is human nature to point to ever-fertile potential of tomorrow. Still, we will have to swallow losing to Dallas in 6 games on our home floor despite what we thought our hometown heroes were capable of. In truth, it is a good start for this new team, to have a little bitterness mixed in with sweetness. The fact is, the Mavs were ready and the Heat were not. They should be commended for their accomplishment. Now, the Heat have to look to the Mavs to try and learn what went wrong. And to not make the same mistake again.

Dear Miami; Really is Now or Never

A lot of hulabaloo over losing Games 4 and 5 in Dallas, huh?

Well, the stats say 73% of teams that win Game 5 win the series. So, it is the Mavs series to win. Then again, wasn’t Dallas up 2-0 heading to Miami back in 2006? That team just needed one win in Miami to take control of the series, too.

Something to ease our minds:

“Dear Miami, you’re the first to go

Disappearing under melted snow

Each and everyone turn your critical eye

On the burning sun and try not to cry…”

Seems applicable to the way things are going these days for the Heat. The time is now or never truly, Lebron. But this isn’t all about Lebron, despite the media’s outcry. This is a game in which they have to defend better and get back to spreading the floor and generating free throws. Erik Spoelstra has been able to avoid strong criticism, but he is definitely failing his team at this point in making seemingly winning adjustments. Everything Rick Carlisle has done to this point has worked and the Heat, under Spo’s guidance, have been avoiding making any changes maybe out of a lack of confidence.

Then again, everything can change back in Miami. We’ll see Sunday.

Oh, and if you think it can’t be done, just look at the Lakers/Celtics finals in 2010. Boston had a 3-2 edge then went back to LA…

Dirk Has Cold, Heat Goes Cold in Game 4

If you told me that the Heat would shoot 42% and get very little production – on either end of the floor – from one of their best players in Lebron James and still have a chance to win, I would have laughed in your face. No way. You would add that the game would be won in the low 80’s and the Heat would only lose by 3 on the road, in Dallas, with the Mavericks backs against the wall playing for all the marbles in this series – and still, I would say you’re crazy.

But, no one is giving the Mavs any credit. They are saying that the Heat lost this game and point the finger to Lebron, who attempted only 1 shot in the 4th quarter. They almost steer clear of any mentioning of how the Mavs had more at stake and how Dwyane Wade made some critical mistakes down the stretch, too.

Let’s not forget the Mavs: they had quite a bit of drama heading into last night’s game 4. Dirk Nowitzki played with a 101 degree fever. Jason Terry found himself admitting that Lebron James had shut him down in Games 1 and 3, but not in Game 2 and asked if Lebron could keep it up for seven games. Deshawn Stevenson called Dwyane Wade and Lebron James great actors.

The Heat? Stayed composed. There was no fire across the bow. No diatribe to spark paper clipping collecting. Simply put, the Heat got beat. They got beat by a team that was at home, more desperate for a win, and fed off of that scenario to get it done. You tip your cap to your opponent, make no excuses, and get back to work.

Yes, the Heat were able to build up leads throughout the game, but the Mavs were able to answer and go on runs. You will hear coaches so this is a make or miss league. Some nights, with even matches, you will make a shot and you’re the hero. You miss a shot, and you’re the goat. (See Dirk Nowitzki in Game 2 then in Game 3.) The Heat made shots in Game 3, the Mavs made the shots in Game 4. Yet, even that isn’t such a strong indication of this game.

The Mavs shot 6-19, 32% in the 4th while the Heat shot 32%. Despite the horrific field goal percentages, the Mavs outscored the Heat 21-9 over the final 9:58 of the game. The Heat offense does get clunky at times, but the only player able to score consistently throughout the game was Dwyane Wade, who scored 32 points on 13-20 shooting. Chris Bosh did score 24 points on 9-19 shooting, but most of that scoring came in the first quarter.

Lebron James only put in 8 points and was largely lost in the game outside of some spectacular assists and strong defense. Deshawn Stevenson claims James “checked out”.

Realistically, a finger can be pointed at Wade, too. He did drop the ball on a possession that would have given the Heat a chance for a shot at the end of the game but also, he missed one of two free throws which would have had a larger impact on the end of the game.

Speaking of, no team seemed to have the ability to score for the final minutes of the quarter. In fact, in the final 2:16 of the game the Mavs hit 4-4 on FTs while making only 1 FG. The Heat were 3-4 on FTs while only making one field goal as well. So it wasn’t like anyone shut it down and put this game to bed at the end of the game.

The Mavs should have blown out the Heat last night. They got more production from their bench and their starters than the Heat did. Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Deshawn Stevenson, and Dirk Nowitzki all had double figures in scoring. For the Heat, only Wade and Bosh had double figures. The Mavs shot 39% while the Heat shot 42% but a lot of the Mavs shots were misses – not because of the Heat defense, but just because they were rimming out. Nowitzki actually should have had a lot more production, considering his 6-19 night and fever, his shots were just spinning out.

The Mavs should have won last night’s game and in truth, it was expected. The Heat really didn’t have much business being in this game with Lebron only scoring 8 points and getting very little production from the rest of their team. Outside of a 40+ point performance from either Wade or Bosh, the Heat just had too flat of an offense and defensively were not able to solve Chandler’s offensive rebounding (9) and Marion’s clean-up offense. They were at home, got more FTs and had more to play for than the Heat.

If the Heat have shown anything this year, it is their ability to play better when the drama increases. They will get their chance to do so because, statistically, the winner of Game 5 with a series tied 2-2 wins the trophy 73% of the time. If the Heat can pull it off, they will go back to Miami up 3-2 with a 9-1 record at home this postseason.

Who Peed in My Mojito? Heat Choke in Game 2

A 16 point lead with just about 6 minutes to go. Everyone was celebrating, even the Miami Heat. And that is when the problems began.

You can’t just get apathetic in the middle of a game and think your opponent is so weak-minded they will just lay down and die. The Mavericks have a collection of old farts that don’t know when to quit. Yes, you may be faster and quicker and sexier, but there is a reason why they are representing the Western conference. Just ask OKC if a lead is safe with them.

Look, let’s not overreact. The Heat are not all of a sudden bums. The media will prop up Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki as if they are immortals, and overstate their heroics, but the fact of the matter is Miami choked this game away themselves – they gave it away. Who knows why they were feeling so charitable.

The problem? This was vintage Miami Heat 2010 – when they were struggling to beat good teams and everyone was dumping on them. The cause? Lebron’s Cleveland Clearout tactics resurfaced. Wade was the hot hand in this game. He was vintage 2006 – the Mavs killer. Mark Cuban was practically going into shell shock, rocking himself back and forth for most of this game – but in the end, he would be celebrating and dancing and laughing. The sad thing is, it wasn’t the Mavs that took the ball out of the Heat’s hottest hand – it was the Heat themselves. They kept going to Lebron who kept plopping his rock at the top of the key for his typical 10-15 second shot clock run off – only when the Heat play bad. This would result in containment from the Mavs zone defense and Lebron hoisting up a desperate shot to beat the final ticks of the shot clock.

Meanwhile, Wade couldn’t get around Jason Kidd’s defense. The guy he previously said he was watching on black and white TV. Really?

Miami just played bad basketball – something they were probably due for considering they have been pulling out some close ones here in this postseason in the last few. Instead, they got punked this time and played like a bunch of rookies who didn’t know how to close out a team. This one hurts. This one stings. And it should. Because Miami is the better team in this series – and still is. No matter what the media says about the Heat and the miraculous comeback of the Mavs over the next few days, it still remains that the Mavs have no answer for the Heat’s defense and can’t stop Wade and James. The only people on that court that can stop the Heat are themselves.

Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Game 3, down 0-2, would have seen a fierce Mavs team backed into a corner with their fans heading back to AAC. Now, some of that pressure is diffused and the Mavs may be feeling pretty good about their chances. Maybe they start believing in themselves now. The Heat will have to bring it and will have to bring it from start to finish. They can’t play apathetically, they can’t be lazy. It’s a harsh lesson to learn – especially in the midst of a championship series – but learn it you must at some point. Lebron, for all his accolades of late, still only has 1 Finals win. Wade has 5 – and was the instrument of doom against the Mavs back in 2006. The Heat need to remember that and need to recall the pecking order here. Time to get back to reality and this choke-job loss in front of the world will help humble them and get the Heat back to where they need to be. Focused on the next game and nothing more. No ring-sizing just yet.

A Rematch Five Years in the Making – Some Archived Discussions

Five years ago, the Miami Heat won their first title by beating the Dallas Mavericks. No one will ever forget the way it went down, how the Heat won 4 straight after losing the first two games in Dallas. Nor the way that Mark Cuban pouted to the refs with a tantrum after the result of Game 3. Or how Dirk Nowitski tried to kick the ball into the stands. Or, of course, how Heat fans taunted Dirk with the David Hassellhoff chant.

But here are some other memorable discussions we have on the MiamiHeatwave forum, also know (back then) as the MiamiHeatzone:

Are the Pistons done? Is Wade the next MJ?

Wade vs. Lebron argument

An Ironic Finish to Eastern Conference Finals

Anypoint’s NBA Finals Matchup Analysis – 2006

Is this the Heat’s only chance for a championship?

Haslem faces tough challenge in NBA Finals

Wade trapped by Mavs revolving door

Game #1 What We’ve Learned (2006 Finals)

Game #2 (2006 Finals)

Keys to winning Game 3 (2006 Finals)

Miraculous Game 3 (2006 Finals)

Game #4 (2006 Finals)

Mark Cuban complaining (Dirk “Hassellhoff” masks)

Game #5 (2006 Finals)

Mavs are Handling This Wrong (prior to Game 6)

And here are the actual gameday threads from the Finals back in 2006:

Game 1 Heat @ Mavs 2006 NBA Finals

Game 2 Heat @ Mavs 2006 NBA Finals

Game 3 Mavs @ Heat 2006 NBA Finals

Game 4 Mavs @ Heat 2006 NBA Finals

Game 5 Mavs @ Heat 2006 NBA Finals

Game 6 Heat @ Mavs 2006 NBA Finals

Rematch: Heat v Mavericks NBA Finals

The Running of the Bulls is over. The supposedly deeper bench and stronger defense was rooted from the ground while Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh put the final dagger in the Bulls to take the deciding game 83-80.

With about three minutes to go, it looked like the Bulls were going to force a Game 6 back in Miami. But the Heat were determined to find a way and a couple of threes by Lebron and a 4 point play from Dwyane Wade was the formula. It took a miracle for the Heat to steal this game, a game they had no business being in while shooting 39% from the field.

The Heat would go on to score 11 points in the final 1:47 of this game to tear the heart out of the Bulls and the city of Chicago.

Now, the Heat finished off dinner and are looking forward to dessert. Which seems to be an old house favorite, a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals with the Dallas Mavericks.

For now, the Heat will enjoy the plane ride back to Miami having earned to the title, Eastern Conference Champs. In a tumultuous season, which saw them garner undue criticism from the media despite winning 58 games, the Heat are now starting to be where they want to be. They have lost a total of three games in this entire post season and have past the test of beating the best in their way each time out.

Congrats, Miami Heat. You are the 2011 Eastern Conference Champs. Now your work is beginning.

2009 NBA Playoffs Kick Off This Weekend

Heat @ Hawks – Sunday 8:00pm on TNT
NBA.com coverage of Heat vs. Hawks

The NBA Playoffs are finally here. There are four games on tap today and the East starts things off with the West closing out the night. The Bulls and Celtics will kick things off on ESPN at 12:30 followed by the Pistons and Cavaliers, once intense rivals, who will square off at 3:30pm today on ABC. The West gets things started tonight with two games: Dallas @ San Antonio at 8:00pm and the second game on tap is the Rockets vs. the Blazers at 10:30.

As for the brackets, here are the teams in this year’s postseason, each with an eye on getting to June 4th, when the NBA Finals begin:

Overall there are some interesting matchups. The question is, where will the upset be? There surely will be one. Let’s take a look at each series in the first round:

Cavaliers vs. Pistons
This was an intense rival recently as the Pistons were the playoff tested vets who kept finding ways to win in the postseason. Now, the team has been virtually exploded with the trade of Chauncey Billups and Allen Iverson, but the Pistons play the Cavaliers close – holding the Cavs to under 90 points per game in their regular season matchups. Speaking of, it will come down to matchups and the most important will be Rodney Stuckey vs. Mo Williams. If Stuckey can show the potential that the Pistons see in him, which lead to the trade of Billups, it might pay off in a huge upset – factoring in that the Pistons contain Lebron James. Still, expect a Cavs win in 5-6 games.

Bulls vs. Celtics
The Bulls have been playing some pretty good basketball of late and with KG trying to get healthy in time for the postseason, there may be some questions about the Celtics. Last time the Bulls were in the playoffs and faced the champions was in 2007 when they swept the Heat out of the first round. It was the deathknell of that Heat team, and essentially lead to an overhaul of the roster. This year’s Bulls team has talent, but will it be enough to upset the Celtics? Probably not – the Celtics are primed and ready even with a tenative KG and should win this series in 5-6 games.

Sixers vs. Magic
Let’s face it, this is a feel good series for the Sixers. They lost Elton Brand but continued to play strong basketball which got them into the postseason. The reward for all of that hard work was a first round matchup against one of the best teams in the East – the Orlando Magic. The Magic have it all, a great young player (probably the best center in the game) and a high-powered offense that can shoot the three and run. They are well-coached, by ex-Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, and will not lose their focus. But they are young, which means they will be prone to mistakes. The Sixers, in order to win, will have to play mistake free basketball. Can they keep it up enough for 4 wins? Possibly. I like the Sixers in this matchup but the Magic should win in a tough series: it’s going 6-7 games but the Magic prevail.

Heat vs. Hawks
We will review this series in more detail in a future article, but I see the Heat winning this series behind Dwyane Wade’s laser-like focus and fusion-powered will in 6 games.

Lakers vs. Jazz
Last year’s Finalists from the Western Conference continue to build upon their claim for the crown. They are the best team in the West despite suffering a major injury with Andrew Bynum during the season. They face a scrappy Jazz team but there is little reason to look for an upset here. That said, never underestimate a Jerry Sloan coached team lead by quality players like Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. The Jazz have plenty of talent to give the Lakers fits, the question is can they exploit enough mismatches – and keep Kobe from getting hot – to command 4 games this series? I don’t see it; Lakers in 5-6 games.

Nuggets vs. Hornets
CP3 might be the closest thing to Dwyane Wade that the league has right now and also could be considered an MVP candidate. Except the Hornets are the #7 seed and the Nuggets are the #2. With Chauncey Billups manning the point, the Nuggets may have pulled off the perfect trade to upgrade their chances in the postseason. Look for Billups to smooth this team out and lead them with confidence against the young Hornets. Denver in 6; even with David West and Tyson Chandler, the Nuggets front court is just too deep.

Spurs vs. Mavericks
Ho hum. Another postseason, another Spurs team. All they did was quietly grab the 3rd seed and win a matchup with rival Dallas. This should be an easy series to gauge, with the Spurs playing their usual heady, conservative basketball but the Mavericks have really started to turn things around a bit and the Spurs also are without Manu Ginobili. If the Mavericks can expose the Spurs and use their athleticism in Dirk Nowitzski (and his indefensible sky jumper and ability to get the refs to call fouls for him) and Josh Howard, things can swing the other way. Don’t look at the records, look at the matchups. I think San Antonio is in trouble, but they survive: Spurs in 6-7 games.

Trailblazers vs. Rockets
This is a very interesting matchup. The Blazers have long been touted the team of the future and we may see some of that bear fruit this postseason. That said, the Rockets just won’t seem to die. They fell to a 5 seed, but the Blazers have home court advantage. Will Brandon Roy finally shed the “poor man’s DWade” label and show how great he is? Can the Blazers young frontcourt, including Greg Oden, be able to contain Yao Ming? If the Blazers can hold serve and win at home, I think they will take this series. But it’s a close one, folks and could go either way – edge, Blazers; I give it to them in 7 games.

Join us in the Playoff Playhouse and talk about the postseason with us! We have polls for each series and you can discuss about each game there as well.