Yes, it is true. This is the final Saturday of the 2010-2011 NBA season. We made it...together...and now it is hard to believe that in three days or less this remarkable season will be in the books. Contemplate Game Five for one more day, then get ready for what should be a dramatic Game Six.
Here is a good look on the relationship between Dirk Nowitzki and his shooting coach/mentor.
The Mavericks are heading into Game Six knowing that their best bet is to end it now. Dallas has done a remarkable job in close-out games this season (3-0) and Sunday night will be their greatest challenge. I'm sure Rick Carlisle is stoked.
Ziller once again amazes all with his chart-making skills (he's like the Buster Bluth of chart-making). In his breakdown of LeBron James' shot selection, he sees two trends - Lebron gets less aggressive as the game goes on, and as he gets more passive, his shooting percentage declines as well. His analysis almost makes up for the fact that he is pretending like this movie actually got made.
Mahoney must be ecstatic today because he gets to summarize the game in nine bullet points instead of two or three.
Former ref and price fixer Tim Donaghy once again breaks down some of the questionable calls from Game Five. He gives special props to the fan in the front that nails the travelling call on Dwyane Wade.
Pruiti continues to be jazzed about Dallas' execution of their high staggered screens. This time around, they went to this set play because of its effectiveness, and were able to generate offense while Dirk was on the bench. Playing Dirk: Brian Cardinal. And the Mavs STILL made it work.
Simmons writes about how great the NBA is now, and how far it is going to fall if the league doesn't get its act in gear. After a two month hiatus, it's nice to have Simmons back writing about the NBA.
More links after the jump.
It's cool to see someone else using Greek mythology to explain the NBA.
Dallas' shooting in Game Five was a statistical anomaly, but it isn't like we haven't seen that type of game before from them.
While I'm always loathe to adopt media-generated story lines, I can't help but see certain elements of symmetry in how the Mavericks have forged ahead in 2011 while never forgetting the drama from 2006. Sometimes, the only road to success is the hardest road available, where every demon must be exorcised.
This play isn't merely gratuitous - Dirk Nowitzki's baseline drive and slam gave the lead back to Dallas and they never lost it.
Once again this is a remarkable tome of analytic guesswork. Sham has really nailed some predictions in the past, so if you're having a lazy Saturday, dig in.
Stan Van Gundy for some reason decided to comment on the career of Scottie Pippen and how his play was elevated due to playing along side Michael Jordan. Well, yeah. Luc Freaking Longley actually parlayed playing along side Jordan into outlandish contracts. Jordan forced everyone to play up to his level; that's why he won six rings. Even so, whether or not Pippen is one of the "all time greats" is a wasted breath, but I do know that by the end, Pippen could not win without Jordan and Jordan could not win without Pippen.
Apropos of nothing, this seems like a blatant sign that the refs are fans of Rick Carlisle.