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:
The Miami Heat got Thunder’d by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Much like Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals where Oklahoma City was up by 15 with five minutes to play and lost 112-105 in overtime, the Heat also blew a 15-point lead. Miami was up 88-73 after Dwyane Wade’s corner three pointer but ended up losing 95-93. His celebrated in front of the Mavericks bench apparently irked Dallas. Here’s a video of the play courtesy of Eye on Basketball:
Two Mavericks players said that the celebration by Wade ticked them off and inspired their 22-5 run to close the game. Tyson Chandler said Wade’s antics “angered a lot of [the Mavericks]” because it happened right in front of their bench.
Jason Terry said, “Right at that moment, it was a turning point in the game. Obviously we come out of that timeout and we don’t score, then we’re pretty much dead … I specifically looked at Dirk and said, ‘There’s no way we’re going out like this.’”
Alright, so we know from Dallas’ perspective that the three-pointer and celebration bothered them, but what about from Miami’s side? Was Wade’s reaction any different from his typical behavior? Did the Heat celebrate after that three like the game was over?
Tuesday marks the beginning of one of the most anticipated NBA Finals matchups in recent memory. Miami vs. Dallas. The Heatles vs Dirk and The Boys. Pat Riley vs Mark Cuban. The Rematch Series (even though it’s really not much of a rematch considering how much the teams have changed since 2006).
Rarely are championship contenders as easily differentiated as the Heat and the Mavericks. They are complete opposites. Like tofu and steak.
Yes, the Lakers and Celtics had the whole bitter rivalry thing going on last season. But at their core they were more similar than they were different: two talented, versatile teams filled with veterans. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Pretty even, right?
The same can’t be said for Miami and Dallas. They are different in almost every discernible way, from the way their talent is distributed to the styles of their offenses to their general world views.
This makes it difficult to pick a favorite in this series (personally, I’m going with Dallas in 6) but easy to choose a team to root for. If you’re not from Miami or Dallas and have yet to decide on a rooting interest, here’s your guide to picking a side:
After a long regular season that included enormous amounts of hate and ridicule, the Miami Heat have reached the NBA Finals. It was an enduring and humbling journey for Miami, especially if you look back at their gaudy team introductions for their first home game of the season. They started off slowly and looked foolish when Chris Bosh admitted he was lost in the offense. Opposing owners celebrated their early-season struggles. They were widely mocked for crying following a March loss. But now we’re starting to see that all those issues helped lead them to become a Finals-bound team. At least that’s what Dwyane Wade and Erik Spoelstra say.
After the Game 5 close out win, Dwyane Wade said the early-season struggles helped build the team. “Right off the bat, beginning of the year, starting off 9-8, we all said in the locker room ‘We start off 17-0, 16-1, that’s not the best thing for this team.’ We needed to go through something, we needed to look ourselves in the mirror and see if we were really committed to this,” Wade explained. “After that 9-8 start, we showed we were committed to it and ever since then we’ve been fighting it out.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra expressed the same sentiment in his postgame press conference.
Before the Bulls-Heat Eastern Conference Finals series began, Chicago forward Carlos Boozer reportedly said the Miami Heat only had two great players. Most people perceived the comment as a slight against Chris Bosh who is the third wheel of Miami’s “Big Three.” Boozer didn’t admit to the comment when pressed later on in the series, but the damage had already been done; Chris Bosh was pissed off and used it as motivation. At least that’s what Dwyane Wade says.
When asked if Boozer’s comment motivated Bosh at all, Wade said after Game 3 “He hasn’t brought it up to us but we understand when something is said public about you that way, any great player is going to respond in a way. I was glad he said that about Chris because he came in with a different focus every day,” Wade said. “From practice, shootaround to the games, Chris had that same focus. We saw that [Sunday] morning at shootaround, everything he did tonight he was doing today. We’re glad he got that challenge, he’s responding to it.”
“We’ll see, hopefully at the end of the series maybe they’ll say something different about him. We understand what he means to us and that’s all that matters,” Wade continued.
We always say that players should play their best no matter the situation, but sometimes disparaging comments can serve as motivation. It sure seems like that’s been the case for Chris Bosh, because he’s been playing lights out for Miami. Maybe Boozer has learned his lesson to keep his mouth shut next time, or back up his mouth on the court.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson set the internet on fire with a monster dunk on Dwyane Wade during Game 1 Sunday. Check out this video Gibson posterizing Wade:
We’ve seen some monster dunks throughout the playoffs, namely Kobe’s dunk on Emeka Okafor during the first round of the playoffs, but this is probably the best of the bunch. Now you might have figured Gibson would have been done at that point, but that wasn’t the case. Check out his spectacular putback at the end of the game:
The Miami Heat’s mini run of blowing teams out of the water came to and end Wednesday night when they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. The loss proved the Heat still have plenty to work on, but that didn’t stop Dwyane Wade from making sure the fans got somewhat of a show. His monster dunk on Kendrick Perkins, which was followed by the Cabbage Patch dance, was probably worth the price of admission to some. Check out the video, courtesy of SI Hot Clicks:
Hey, it certainly beats Tom Brady’s ponytail dance.