Mavs-Heat NBA Final

PHOENIX, Arizona, June 3, 2006 - The Dallas Mavericks booked the first National Basketball Association finals appearance in franchise history on Saturday with a 102-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Showing the grit instilled by Coach of the Year Avery Johnson, the Mavericks closed out the Suns four-games-to-two in the Western Conference finals.
They will face the Miami Heat in the NBA championship series that starts Thursday in Dallas.
It will be the first championship series in 35 years matching finals debutantes.
``I think for the first time in my life I’m speechless,’’ omnipresent Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
Postseason superstar Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks as Dallas dominated the second half.
Jason Terry scored all 17 of his points after halftime and Nowitzki added 16 as the Mavericks outscored the Suns, 63-42.
In his first full season as coach, Johnson turned the Mavericks into one of the better defensive teams in the NBA.
The mental toughness was evident when they beat the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs on their home floor in game seven of the conference semi-finals.
With a chance to clinch the series, the Mavericks got off to a terrible start.
They trailed by 18 points midway through the second quarter and were still down 60-45 before they tightened up defensively and launched a remarkable reversal.

Too bad for Nash. You can’t do it all on your own.

As far as for the winner of the final, I don’t know what is better? That Cuban guy owner having a winning franchise or Shaq winning yet another championship?

Shaq: “life wasn’t meant to be easy”

By David Aldridge
Knight Ridder Newspapers
PHILADELPHIA - For two decades, Pat Riley has believed in power basketball. He’s run when he could - the Showtime Lakers come to mind - but for the most part, he’s tied his horse to a series of big men: the athletic and skilled Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the warhorse Patrick Ewing, the hardnosed Alonzo Mourning, and, now, Shaquille O’Neal in Miami.
But the 61-year-old Riley’s beliefs are running square up against the new reality of the NBA.
These playoffs have been about the triumph of small over big, quick over lumbering. From LeBron James to Kobe Bryant to Gilbert Arenas to Jason Terry to Steve Nash to Boris Diaw, players who can handle the ball and move have had the lion’s share of success in the postseason.
And with the league’s implementing and enforcing new rules that make guarding players outside the lane almost impossible, it’s increasingly likely that the immediate future of the NBA game will be in the hands of guards and small forwards, not centers.
So it was interesting to hear Riles lay out a long-term scenario Friday for Shaq’s continuing presence on South Beach.
It seems as though the game's beginning to go in another direction philosophically,'' Riley allowed, but I’m not so sure that that’s going to be something that every team is going to do. I mean, if you have a post-up game, you can play that (open) game and your game, also. I just think if he’s healthy and he’s committed and he wants to play, he can play another four years.’’
O’Neal, 34, has four years remaining on the $100-million extension he signed with the Heat last summer. When he was younger, he said that he would never be a 40-year-old big man like Robert Parish, playing out the string with decreasing effectiveness.
But time flies. As do promises.
This is only the beginning, really,'' Riley said. We’ve only had Shaq here for two years. This is really the first go-round of a team that I think is very good, and we will continue to tweak it and try to make it more talented, but at the same time, understanding the (luxury) tax. So we’ve got to be smart in what we do. … As long as he stays healthy, stays in shape, he’s a very dominant big man.’’
But can you use the word dominant'' to describe Shaq's game today? His regular-season average of 20 points per game was the lowest of his career. He spent much of the season trying to lose weight, and he did get down to about 320 pounds. But he no longer appears to have the quickness and footwork that, combined with his size, made defending him impossible. (It is like trying to move a refrigerator,’’ Dikembe Mutombo said while a 76er.)
(For that matter, how long will Riley stick around? The league’s Board of Governors approved the sale of Riley’s substantial minority stake in the franchise during March’s meeting, according to several league sources - which means Riley is free to leave Miami any time he chooses.)
The Heat aren’t the only team with decisions to make about an aging big man.
Up until a month or so ago, it was a lock that the Pistons would re-sign free-agent center Ben Wallace. He’s been the heart of the franchise during its run of four consecutive Eastern Conference finals appearances and two trips to the NBA Finals.
But Wallace has struggled under new Detroit coach Flip Saunders, who is the first offensive-dominant head coach Wallace has had as a Piston. The public clash between the two last week had been building to a head all season, as evidenced by Wallace’s refusal to go back into a late regular-season game.
And Wallace, who didn’t have an agent until recently, has hired high-powered Arn Tellem to represent him, which will ensure that there’s a market for the free agent.
Given that the Pistons will not fire Saunders, since team president Joe Dumars is loath to make yet another coaching change, the 31-year-old Wallace is not a lock to return to Detroit.
And teams such as San Antonio - which is still built around Tim Duncan but always has had another big man to play with him, from David Robinson to Nazr Mohammed - soon may have to rethink their approaches. The Spurs had trouble defending against Bonzi Wells, Ron Artest and the Kings in the first round, and never were able to get a handle on Terry in the conference semifinals.
But Riley is committed to keeping O’Neal, and keeping O’Neal involved. It was Shaq who wanted Antoine Walker from Boston, which led to the three-team trade with the Celtics and Memphis last summer that broke up the Heat’s 59-win team. And Riley said he will continue to consult O’Neal on roster tweaks in the years to come.
Still, you wonder how long Riley can avoid the league’s shifting sands. Don’t the Heat have to make Dwyane Wade the focus of things in Miami, and won’t Wade be happier playing an up-tempo style that would take the most advantage of his skills?
But Riley professes that all will be worked out - with O’Neal at the center.
I think he can play at a very high level, as long as we continue to surround him with players, just like we did with Kareem,'' Riley said. Kareem was 42 years old and still playing very well, in fact, playing for world championships. But (James) Worthy and Magic (Johnson) and (Byron) Scott and the other guys were taking the primary responsibilities. But I think Shaquille can definitely play through his contract, as long as we keep putting talented, complementary players around him.
It's a lot easier for him if he isn't the focus,'' Riley said. And he actually sort of relishes the fact of, ‘Don’t think very much about me and I won’t be very productive against you.’ Going to him all the time, I don’t know if he can carry it. But he can definitely finish a lot of things for us.’’

THe championship game was played in the east already. THis should be a cake walk for mia!

Cake walk!? No way. I’m a Heat fan, but the Mav’s bench is deep. Wont be easy.

True. Jerry Stackhouse isn’t even a starter on that team. I’m still cheering for Miami though. I didn’t think they would beat Detroit but now I think they have a good shot at the title. As for Shaq, he could still play a couple more years. He has publicly said that he defers to Dwyane Wade on offense, with that attitude he can still be productive. My only problem with Shaq is that he always seems to come into the season out of shape. I wonder if he does any offseason training? Doesn’t look like it, he is always hurt for the first month of the season. Anyway, he’s still the man until someone else dethrones him. “The last true center in the NBA”

Ya. No doubt Dwade played bananas this series but T-bone is right the Mavs are deep and Dirk is German and pissed. They got three 7-footers (other than Dirk) who can bang and got 18 fouls between them to use on Shaq. And their 1-3s are all talented.

Not to mention the Heat don’t really have someone to guard Dirk. The Suns had some long, athletic guys in Marion, Tim Thomas, and even Diaw to put on Dirk and he still torched them. Haslem is neither long enough nor athletic enough so Posey is probably their next best bet on Dirk. And he is not as good as a Marion or a Bruce Bowen. I think someone taller, long and mobile like KG, Brand, or Ben Wallace are the only guys who could come close to slowing him down. So I would bet Dirk will get off even more in this series. In the 2 regular season games he shot 56% from the field and was 6-8 from 3point for 25ppg.

Though I must say, I have not seen Shaq play like this in a long time. He’s really moving and getting up. Should be a great series. Best playoffs I’ve seen in years.

who will stop shaq? Who will stop wade? Who will stop Antoine Walker? Dont let jason zone out again. Dont forget about zo’s defense. I think it will be a good series but dallas cant bang with mia, they arent physical enough. They can foul all they want but they will pay the price when shaq and zo start throwing them bo’s!

This is true! Not just them bo’s but them GUNS too!

Zo is an absolute monster whose name I should not utter aloud.

“This is my rock now, so I’m just gonna take it and you’re gonna like it…ALOT”

cmon guys use ur heads here.
what happened in the chicago series in the first round???

miami almost lost to the friggin bulls cuz chicago drove and penetrated and got Shaq into foul trouble…
dallas gets to the line ALOT espc dirk…dallas has a lot slashers (jt, dirk, howard)

whos gunna guard Dirk is the real question. theres not a soul in miami that can…

dallas is on fire. (they did beat the nba champs) and there dfense is finding ways to win games…plus theyre deep as hell. PLUS the HOME COURT.

dallas had to beat san antonio and phoenix…they beat them by playing a variety of basketball in order to beat those two VERY different teams. they have really matured. why? OH YEA they also have the coach of the year.

and who really wants to see Shaq hoisting the trophy again?? i dont dig it.

dallas wins in six but this series wont be close.

check mate.

I haven’t been impressed with Wade or Williams. Hope the Mavs take it, but inconsistency is their enemy.

I hope the Mavs take it too. I’m not a Miami fan and I don’t like Wade for some reason.

Not impressed with wade, Thats like saying your not impressed with powel or gatlin.

Hold on guys, Dallas is good, no doubt but don’t overlook what Wade has done in this year’s playoffs, the stats don’t lie. Look at his shooting percentage, Wade can get you 25-30 points a night (and he doesn’t need 80 shots to do it!) even his 3-point percentage is up. Wade has been one of the best players in the 06 playoffs if not the best. I would have to agree that Dallas has the edge overall for guards, Jason Terry and that young Devin guy are slashers that will be hard for Payton and Williams to stop but it might be a little tougher around the rim with Zo’ and Shaq putting up 6 blocks a night between the two of them and gobbling up all those rebounds. Dirk Nowitzi is unstoppable when his jump shot is going but so is Wade, he can get to the rim anytime he wants or get a foul or shoot the mid-range jumper.

How can you not like Wade? And how can you not be impressed with him!?

If Shaq can play like he’s in his 20’s they’ll take it. The Mavs will try and get him out of the middle and make him run.

i definetely don’t want miami to win, on the sole reason that I don’t want shaq to get any rings without kobe.

DirtyDirk practising 7June06 in Dallas. Perfect shooting technique - no wonder he monsters the treys

I really don’t like Antoine Walker. Some of it is because he is a grown man who looks like he is going to cry every time something doesn’t go his way. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any pictures on google images. These attached images aren’t any good, but if anyone finds some hook us up.

Mostly, his game is just not pretty. He looks like he is “spinning his wheels” whenever he moves from point A to point B. Lot of effort leading to little results. Effort = jacking up 400 3pointers a season while shooting only 33%.

from 2006 NBA Final - game 1: Shaq, how to get head and shoulders above the rest

Mav’s Jason Terry - apparently had a massive game with 30+ points in the Mav’s win