It would be tough to find someone who doesn’t respect Dirk Nowitzki for scoring 21 points for the Mavericks — 10 in the fourth quarter — during a Game 4 victory against the Heat despite a fever that allegedly reached 101 degrees. Or would it? Perhaps we have to look no further than the Miami locker room, where Dwyane Wade and LeBron James appeared to have a little fun at Dirk’s expense after their team’s shootaround on Thursday. Here is the video of LeBron and D-Wade making fun of Dirk’s sickness courtesy of CBSSports.com:
Radio host and NBA reporter Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James has personal distractions that led to his lackluster play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The first I heard about the personal issues from Smith was during his guest appearance on Jim Rome is Burning Wednesday. He apparently repeated the same issues during his radio show, and then again Thursday morning on Mike and Mike with Chris Broussard in for Mike Golic. Here’s audio of that interview via Iamagm.com:
During his appearance on Jim Rome is Burning (full video below), Smith said “My theory is that he has a lot of distractions off the court and it tends to affect his play on the court. There are people in his camp who have alluded to that. … his mind is not completely and totally on the game.”
I don’t doubt Smith’s information, and it’s worth mentioning he was one of the first people to boldly predict LeBron and Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Here’s the thing: nobody wants to hear an excuse. We already heard enough about LeBron’s elbow last year and about Delonte West and his mom. Excuses are old, everyone faces problems, and we just don’t want to hear it.
LeBron, regardless of what is going on in his personal life, has to play well for the Heat. Nothing else matters except the results, and they have to be there for LeBron.
For more insight, here’s Smith’s appearance on JRIB that provides more background:
We’ve previously touched on the NBA Finals side story involving Charles Barkley, the Miami Heat, and their fans. Barkley was one of the loudest critics of LeBron James when he left Cleveland for Miami and that disgust spilled into the season when he called the Heat a “whiny bunch.” Then TNT had to move their pre and post game show indoors during the playoffs in Miami because Barkley was being heckled by fans outside the arena. If you thought that incident would have taught him to lay off the fans, you’d be wrong. During a visit on the Waddle & Silvy Show, Barkley let Heat fans have it.
“There’s something about that team that annoys me,” Barkley said. “They’re just a whiny bunch and I can’t root for them. Yeah, they got the worst fans, no question. It’s not even loud in there. You’re at the game and you’re like ‘Man, it’s not even loud.’”
That last complaint is something I’ve previously mentioned. When the Heat were behind in playoff games, it was silent at American Airlines Arena. It really is pathetic sometimes. And the wealthy fans who show up wearing ugg boots and sunglasses to sit in the front row show up late, leaving plenty of empty spots. It honestly makes them look worse than LA fans, and that’s hard to do. Are Heat fans the worst fans? I don’t know about that — they’re pretty passionate about their team now, but they’re not exactly your die hard version. And you definitely wouldn’t see ugg boots on men in the front row at too many other arenas, so that automatically places them in poor company.
If there were a proper time to criticize LeBron James for his lack of offense during the NBA Finals, Game 4 was it. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks played their third game that was decided by a basket, and for the second time this series the Mavericks came out on top.
Dirk Nowitzki fought through a fever that reached 101 degrees to score 21 points — 10 in the fourth quarter — in Dallas’ win. Though Jason Terry shot down any comparison to Michael Jordan’s infamous flu game in the ’97 finals, there is little doubt that Dirk came up big in the clutch. And if you have any wonders about how sick he was, just look at his face in the picture. The dude looked like the cousin of death.
LeBron James on the other hand did very little down the stretch. LBJ handled the ball and distributed in the previous finals games and the strategy resulted in wins two of the three games. His decisions to pass to his teammates were usually the right ones because he was double-teamed leaving someone open. But LeBron showed very little aggression in Game 4 even when he should have. He received high pick and rolls allowing him a one-on-one match up yet he decided not to drive late in the game. For whatever reason, he didn’t attack the basket and he ended up with just eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. The eight-point performance was LeBron’s playoff career low and it left him saying he needs to be more assertive in the future.
For the second NBA Finals game in a row, a reporter was shot down in the postgame press conference. While following Game 3 it was a jab at LeBron James that was denied, after Game 4 it was Jason Whitlock’s butt-kissing approach to Rick Carlisle that got the Dikembe Mutumbo treatment.
Whitlock, a columnist for FOXSports.com, didn’t even ask the Mavericks coach a question, which is the first problem. In essence, he had a story planned about how Rick Carlisle had done a masterful coaching job and he just wanted a quote from the coach to confirm it. Instead, he got a door shut in his face. Check out the video courtesy of Ball Don’t Lie:
Maybe that will teach Whitlock the most important point to keep in mind during interviews: Always ask a question! What kind of answer do you think you’re going to get when you grab the microphone and provide commentary rather than a question? Hopefully any aspiring journalist or broadcaster reading this will keep that lesson in mind … always ask a question.
Now that we’re eight episodes into Season 1, I think it’s time to welcome Game of Thrones into the pantheon of can’t miss cable dramas. It’s a great series. Borderline brilliant. The writing is terrific. The cast is fantastic. And the plot is paced just right — slow enough not to confuse the audience, convoluted enough to be unpredictable and keep people guessing.
GoT is quickly becoming the gold standard for medieval dramas thanks to HBO’s holy trinity of television production: sex, violence and, ahem, little people (sound familiar, Boardwalk Empire fans?). It’s Lord of the Rings meets Braveheart with a whole lot of nudity and backstabbing mixed in.
What makes the show so popular, though, what keeps people hooked, is how relatable the characters are. The action takes place among kings and knights and 14th century prostitutes, but the character types are straight out of your local bar.
There’s the schemer, the bully, the outcast, the b****, the pretty boy, the honest Abe, the tomboy, the guy in the corner cracking jokes, the good wife (yeah, you’re right, she wouldn’t be at the bar), the rebel, the nitwit, the hot chick, the alcohol-soaked person in charge, and, of course, the crazy lady who still breast feeds her 6-year-old son. Okay, forget the last one. That’s just plain weird.
Independently (or, in some cases, dependently), these characters are fighting for the same goal: the right to sit on the throne (which looks like something straight out of a Tim Burton film, by the way). Like Kanye West, they want all that power. And they’ll stop at nothing to get it.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the J.J. Barea billboard is clever and I’m glad his Mavericks swept the Lakers. Barea is the prototypical underdog story while many of the Lakers are worldwide celebrities. The thing I don’t understand is why Kobe Bryant. According to our friends at Black Sports Online, the billboard above was paid for by Barea in his home country of Puerto Rico and translates to, “Only my ribs hurt, but for Kobe it’s his ego.”
The Lakers were extremely physical with Barea, but the two plays that stick out are Andrew Bynum’s cheap shot on him and Ron Artest’s clothesline on Dirk at the end of Game 4. Funny, neither foul was committed by Kobe himself. So shouldn’t the billboard be taking a more direct shot at one of the culprits? Maybe Barea chose Kobe because he’s the most recognizable name in Puerto Rico, but it doesn’t make much sense to single him out when his teammates were the ones taking blatant cheap shots at Jose. In any event, his point is taken. Chest bump to The Basketball Jones for the picture.