In the midst of all of the media stories about why LeBron scored eight points and what it means forever in the grand scheme of ESPN’s legacy, here are some stories that went unreported in the last two days.
*You should note that the policy of SpreeGoogs is to write about things that did happen rather than focus on what didn’t happen. For example: the Mavs did win. Dirk did play a ballsy game with some nasty health conditions, Dwyane Wade did have an amazing overall effort on both sides of the ball, NOT: LeBron didn’t play well, the Heat didn’t win. Sure you can say that the Heat did lose or LeBron did score only eight points, but that’s saying that one party didn’t perform rather than giving credit to the team/players that stopped them from succeeding. In sports, it’s always one team/player against another, and with little exception, I will view the story as one team or player succeeding (including stopping the other team/player from succeeding) rather than the other team coming up short.
• The Mavericks tied the series up — That means that this series is essentially a best-of-three now. That means that the team that wins tonight goes back to Miami with two chances to clinch things. That means that the team that loses tonight has to win two games facing elimination in order to win a title. That means that both teams are on even ground again and Dallas has close to a 50/50 chance to win this whole thing. That’s the biggest story of Tuesday night’s game and somehow, it went without mention.
• Dirk had a good game for the Mavs, but Tyson Chandler’s was better — If you want to look at stats, you could say that 13 and 16 is an unexpected monster game from Tys. More importantly, Chandler got a whole bunch (nine) of offensive rebounds, something that the Heat had a near-monopoly on for the first three games. Even in the first quarter of Game 4, Miami overcame poor shooting with offensive rebounding and stayed even or ahead of Dallas. When Chandler started to grab the offensive boards for the Dallas, the Heat edge went away. Sure Dirk played sick and still made the some late go-ahead buckets, but Chandler won it for them.
• LeBron had a bad game, but so what? — Seriously, with three mega-stars on one team, you can’t realistically expect them all to score 30 points at once. Wade had 32, Bosh had 24, that’s enough to win a game in the playoffs. Any NBA team would be thrilled to get 56 points from its top two scorers. Even better, they did it on 22-39 shooting! Come on. Good players have bad games. Great players have bad games. Great players on teams with two other great players can have a bad game without it affecting anything. He scored eight points and the Heat still only lost by one point. They can win with only two players having good games. They could win with only one having a good game. Calm down.
• Dwyane Wade has played better in each NBA Finals game this year — I don’t know what’s going on with him, but when D-Wade plays in the Finals (including his ’06 series) he is magnificent. I don’t want to suggest that he has an extra gear that he can bring out during the Finals or suggest that he is more “clutch” than other NBA players, but I do want to say that when he’s playing well, he’s one of the best players in the Association on both sides of the ball. He played pretty subpar during the regular season, but he’s still trying to prove that he can play with two other superstars.
• Chris Bosh has been pretty consistent in the postseason — I think most of this may be because I called him out on SpreeGoogsduring the Heat/Bulls series. But really, Bosh was an afterthought during the regular season. He has been pretty insanely consistent in the last two series of this postseason, particularly his outside shooting, and it’s an extremely important weapon for the Heat to have offensively. I still think he’s soft. I still think he’s clearly the third of three in terms of the Heat stars. But this postseason, he’s really put together some great games for any player, and some monumental games for a third option.
• Jason Kidd is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer and this could be his last shot at winning a championship — Sure, there’s all sorts of talk about this year being the first ring for either Dirk or LeBron. No one is really talking about Bosh winning his first title, which is kind of bad. But absolutely no one is talking about this being Kidd’s first championship, which is worse. Kidd’s all-time numbers are staggering and he is surely going to be remembered as one of the best point guards to play the game as soon as he steps out. So why isn’t he getting the coverage he deserves right now? Sure he isn’t the main guy on this Mavs team, but he’s still Jason Kidd.
• ESPN has entirely stopped covering the Finals, in favor covering how LeBron is performing in them — Not much more to be said there. All of these other stories are out there. LeBron’s Game 4 performance is by far the most covered story in terms of airtime-per-point-production I can ever remember. It amazes me how they can take literally anything that happens and focus it on James. They don’t want to tell you the news, they want to tell you the news as it applies to him, and it’s horrible.
- Jet stays hot and scores 20 tonight
- Jason Kidd steps up to lead the Mavs in both rebounds and assists
- Dirk goes 18-18 from the free throw line on his way to 35 points
- LeBron scores 10 points on eight field goal attempts in the first quarter, but still finishes with more turnovers than any other player
- Bosh outscores Wade
- James Jones gets his first minutes and rewards Spoelstra with nine points, all from the three-point line