It is 1AM in the morning, and I'm already looking at the clock, willing the next 18 hours to fly by. Will Dirk Nowitzki be healthy? Will LeBron James finally have his breakout game? Will Mark Cuban speak? The answers shall come soon enough, but not quite soon enough.
Young continues to pull great information on Kevin Durant's run in Washington DC, his old stomping grounds. It is pretty cool to see Durant in his home element, and hopefully DT will feature more of Durant's homecoming soon.
Bill Simmons debuted his new web project today, and he finally chimes in on the NBA Finals on, who else, LeBron James. He offers the juxtaposition of James being the most superior athlete on the planet with the dawning reality that his mental makeup makes him a second banana.
Devine postulates that Jose Barea is not being used properly, so he ends up getting trapped in situations he cannot possibly handle. A better use for him is something Devine refers to as the "soft breeze" set.
Ostracized and convicted official Tim Donaghy has actually been doing a pretty terrific job at Deadspin breaking down the refereeing of the Finals. His analysis has been pretty even-handed and fair without a trace of vendetta against his former colleagues, so take a look and allow his analysis to help you better understand why refs do what they do.
Pruiti notes that the Mavs used their high staggered screen set twice in Game Four, once in the beginning and once at the end. I was surprised that they never used this set in Game Three, but here it was in key moments in Game Four. I would wager that the Mavs only used it twice because in order for it to be effective, Dirk needs to be a viable threat. He really only was effective early and late, and as a result, the Mavs got two big offensive possessions. In order for Miami to adjust, they're going to have to sit back on those screens and give up the potential 3-pointer. Given how both teams have struggled shooting the ball, that seems like a viable option at this point.
More links after the jump.
Lost amidst the Dirk-drama and LeBron-lashing is the fact that Miami shot pretty terribly from the field in Game Four. In fact, as we touched upon before, neither team is shooting all that well inside the arc. One of the big differences between 3 and 4 is the fact that the Mavs made a few more shots in close than Miami did.
Ziller writes that a strange and unusual thing is happening to James - he is becoming culpable in the eyes of the officials. While he will still get his fair share of cheap calls, more and more the refs are seeing James as a mere pedestrian on the court.
Pruiti looks at the two key inbounds plays in the final seconds of Game Four. Jason Terry played it well, while Dwyane Wade played it poorly.
Charles Barkley - not a fan of those "Hollywood as hell" guys from South Beach.
Here is an interesting stat - Shawn Marion had better offensive production while playing fewer minutes. He'd better bite down on that mouth piece, because LeBron is probably going to be coming full force in Game Five. Or maybe not.
This is fine piece of writing that describes what it feels like to be eternally connected to an event that is beyond your control, ultimately meaningless, and yet as defining as anything you experience in life. Even thinking about it makes it still hurt.
Count Dwyer as one of many who think that former NBA point guard and current analyst Mark Jackson is not exactly a solution for any kind of team.