How the NBA Playoffs is Just Like Game of Thrones

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.

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Analyzing LeBron James’ 4th Quarter in Game 3: He Passed out of Double-Teams

The Miami Heat have so many weapons, it’s extremely hard to determine a course of action to defend them. The Dallas Mavericks decided in Game 3 they were going to take the ball out of LeBron James’ hand and make his teammates beat them. Their decision was a logical one, even if it didn’t work out.

In all but one possession in the fourth quarter of Game 3, LeBron James was double-teamed at the top of the circle when he brought the ball up. Rather than run pick-and-rolls or have LeBron try to split the defense and beat the double-team, the Heat trusted LeBron to find the open man. Why is that? Because if Dallas puts two people on LeBron, it leaves one of his guys open.

LeBron was credited with four assists in the fourth quarter: one was a pretty bounce pass setting up a Chris Bosh dunk, another where he found the open shooter (Bosh and Chalmers), and the last was a sweet pass to Bosh that put Miami ahead. He also didn’t get credit for assists the times he gave the ball to Dwyane Wade who ended up scoring (seven in a row at one point for Miami). Wade was guarded one-on-one by Jason Kidd. Would you rather have LeBron take on double-teams or pass to Wade who is one-on-one with Kidd? You take Wade on Kidd every time and LeBron’s unselfish enough to know that’s the right play, and it worked out for Miami.

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LeBron James Shuts Down Narrow-Minded Gregg Doyel’s Question After Game

If you thought that LeBron James‘ performance at the end of Game 5 against the Bulls put an end to the conversation about him not being clutch, you were wrong. Some media personalities who are controversial for the sake of being controversial (taking controversial, albeit absurd stances makes you into a personality and a brand that generates phone calls on the radio and clicks on the web, etc), are trying to find any possible way to knock LeBron James. Before the Finals began, I put together a list of media members who declared LeBron James’ legacy permanently ruined by his choice to go to Miami. I explained why that was so short-sighted, unfair, and in many ways hypocritical. Media members have decided what they want their stars to look and play like and can’t comprehend when what they see doesn’t match what they’ve built up in their heads.

For instance, Kobe Bryant has been termed a “closer,” which is a concept manufactured by Nike and reinforced by media members and fans. These people would rather see Kobe shoot with three people guarding him than have him pass to a wide open teammate because that’s what stars do. While LeBron sometimes has deferred to teammates when he could have taken a shot that was just as open, he often passes to teammates to give them the best looks. His unselfish nature is part of what makes him great, but he also attacks when he has to.

In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, LeBron had 17 points and nine assists in his team’s 88-86 win. I wasn’t following the boxscore but it was easy to see LeBron was setting up his teammates and racking up assists. Sometimes he takes over games, sometimes he passes. In Game 3, he was deferring and it worked out just fine. Actually, he made the perfect pass setting up Chris Bosh’s winning shot rather than force a shot while being double-teamed.

Anyway, getting back to CBS Sports “controversial because it pays me well and I can withstand the hate of being called a jerk” columnist Gregg Doyel, this guy asked LeBron why he shrunk in the fourth quarter. He did so getting in a jab by saying LeBron’s supposed shrinkage in the fourth was unlike what superstars do. Here’s the video courtesy of Jose3030 on twitter:

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Mario Chalmers Backcourt Violation Means 3-Pointer Should Not Have Counted (Video)

Mario Chalmers drained a three-pointer at the end of the first quarter of Game 3, giving Miami a 29-22 lead. The question is did the Heat commit a backcourt violation on the play? The answer is yes.

Front court had been established by Udonis Haslem who passed the ball back to Mario Chalmers. Chalmers’ foot was on the midcourt line, which is part of the backcourt according to NBA rules. Here’s a replay video of Mario Chalmers’ three courtesy of CBS Sports:

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Chris Bosh Poked in the Eye by Jason Kidd, Not a Flop (Video)

For as much as we’ve mocked Chris Bosh over the season — for many deserved reasons (like this) — it was disappointing to see so many people criticizing him for a “flop” in the first quarter of Game 3. While it looked like he went down for no reason at first, replays later showed he was poked in the eye by Jason Kidd. Here’s the play via The Association Live on YouTube:

Cameras later were able to zoom in on his face and they showed how swollen his eye was. Even after the game it looked like Bosh was crying but that was just the result of his irritated eye. It may have seen like Bosh was exaggerating his issue, but it seemed to be legitimate. That makes his game-winning shot even more impressive.

Dwyane Wade: Miami Heat Won’t Stop Celebrating After Great Plays

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?

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Shawn Marion on Mavericks as Underdogs: ‘I Don’t Give a F***’

If Shawn Marion has hopped on LBS yet today (since we know he does every day), he would probably have a few things to say about our man Patrick’s guide for picking the winner of the NBA Finals.  While the guide is terrific and certainly worth a read, it would appear Marion couldn’t care less about what sports bloggers or anyone in the media has to say about the Mavericks chances against the Heat.

Dallas is currently listed at +155 on the sports betting website Bodog.com, so the consensus in the gambling world is obviously that the Heat should win the seven-game series.  A lot of people aren’t giving the Mavericks the respect they deserve after coming out of the West, but according to Marion the team doesn’t care.

“We really don’t care,” Marion said as told by Hoopsworld.com. “At the end of the day, this about what we’re able to do and what we’ve done. Are all of these people giving us credit? I don’t give a f***. It’s just that simple. We don’t care. What does it matter? We’ve shown what we can do and what we’re capable of, but we’re not finished yet. We made the Finals, but this not what we came here to do. We came here to take the trophy home with us.”

While Marion said the right thing (aside from the f-bomb), he is completely lying.  Do the Mavs think they’re going to lose because everyone is picking the Heat? Of course not.  Do they care that everyone is picking the Heat? Absolutely.  Everyone wants to be the underdog.  With the way he’s been playing, I’m not sure Dirk should be a part of the underdog squad.