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Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks Ditch Doris Burke During Ceremony (Video)

After coming back to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5, the Dallas Mavericks were happy to have closed out the series. But staying true to their workmanlike character, they refused to celebrate too heavily knowing they still have their toughest task ahead — a meeting with the Heat or Bulls in the NBA Finals.

ESPN brought out reporter Doris Burke to interview owner Mark Cuban and head coach Rick Carlisle about reaching the Finals, but when she turned to speak with Dirk Nowitzki, she realized the team’s MVP had already exited the floor. Soon after that, the party ended as all the players dispersed. Check out the ditch party:

Even though this is the second time Burke was embarrassed this week, you can’t blame her too much. She probably should have interviewed Dirk before Cuban, but players generally stick around to conduct interviews. The question I have for you is why did they do it? One suspicion I had was that Dirk Nowitzki was upset at the way Mark Cuban was going all WWE in his interview and getting carried away. After all, Dirk said the team was doing better this year because Cuban was keeping quiet, so maybe he was upset that Cuban was opening his mouth. But the overwhelming feeling is that he walked off the floor because he didn’t feel it was time to celebrate.

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Kevin Durant Is Not Happy to See Dirk Nowitzki Succeed at His Expense

Throughout the NBA playoffs, we’ve seen a few constants: Dirk Nowitzki putting up points, the Thunder blowing leads, and reporters asking stupid questions at press conferences. One of those dumb questions came after Oklahoma City was eliminated from the playoffs Wednesday night. A reporter asked Kevin Durant, the franchise player for the Thunder, how he felt about seeing Dirk succeed at his expense. KD gave about as good of a response to the bad question as he possibly could have.

“I’m not happy at all. I’m a competitor,” Durant explained. “I really didn’t care about what he went through the last three or four years. I know it’s been tough for him, I’m sure he’s happy now he’s going back to the Finals, but I’m not happy for him at all because I wanted to be there. But [sometimes] it happens like that.”

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Tom Thibodeau Calls Out Refs for Not Giving Derrick Rose More Calls

Even after the final buzzer sounds to end a game, another game begins: the one that happens in the postgame news conference. Phil Jackson used to be a master in that setting, finding ways to tweak the officials so he’d get calls in his team’s favor. In last year’s postseason, Phil primed the refs before the Thunder series by suggesting Kevin Durant gets calls he shouldn’t. Then he said refs need to watch out for Steve Nash’s carries. The result may be a minimal fine from David Stern, but you can’t put a price tag on extra calls from intimidated referees.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau must have kept that in mind, because he made a point to call out the refs following his team’s Game 4 loss in Miami.

Speaking about Derrick Rose after the game, Thibodeau said “He hasn’t been able to get to the line like we thought he would. There’s a lot of contact, and he hasn’t gotten calls.”

The numbers would back up Thibodeau’s assertion — Rose only attempted seven free throws compared to 13 for LeBron James and 11 for Chris Bosh. The Heat got to the line 38 times compared to 22 for Chicago, but they also were more aggressive with their drives to the hoop, and you can’t say LeBron got the calls — he was whistled for an offensive foul at the end of regulation.

Whether Thibodeau was right or wrong with his assessment is debatable. What is a certainty is that it’s usually a good idea to complain that your team isn’t getting enough calls. Believe me, the referees hear the criticism — they listen. And more often than not, they try to make up for it in the next game.

Chicago Bulls: Three Keys to a Game 4 Win

Following Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, nearly every media outlet in the country said the Miami Heat were in trouble. The Chicago Bulls looked good, really good. Their defense was stellar and a hero was born in their 21-point blowout.

Since that game, Miami has won two in a row, placing Chicago in a near must-win situation. The Heat are poised to go up 3-1 in the series if they win Tuesday night. Here are three changes the Bulls need to make in order to pull out a win.

1) Focus on stopping Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh has been motivated by Carlos Boozer’s pre-series comments and it’s resulted in stellar play. He’s scored 30 points or more in two of the first three series games after only doing so three times the entire regular season. Bosh hurt Chicago more than any other Heat player in Game 3, and it’s time for them to start sending help defense to him.

2) Joakim Noah must stay out of foul trouble

Noah is Chicago’s best player at protecting the rim. In the Game 3 loss, Noah got into foul trouble and totaled just five boards, a single point and a certain slur that cost him 50 grand. Noah does the dirty work and he must play significant minutes for Chicago to stay close.

3) Derrick Rose needs to show up in the fourth quarter

In the fourth quarter of the two losses, Derrick Rose has scored a combined four points. Rose won the regular season MVP award for closing games late, not disappearing. Miami has strategically placed LeBron on Rose during the fourth quarter which has disturbed his game. If Chicago is going to even the series, Rose will need to play close games out like the MVP he is.

Dwyane Wade: Carlos Boozer Pre-Series Comment Motivated Chris Bosh

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

Chris Bosh Learned He had Big Ego he Needed to Put Aside in Miami

Chris Bosh played one of his best games as a member of the Miami Heat, scoring 34 points in a Game 3 win over Chicago Sunday night. For the second time this series he led the Heat in scoring, making 13-of-18 field goals while going 8-for-10 at the line. Game 3 also marked just his fifth 30-point game of the season, two of which have come in the series. He’s played with passion, played with aggression, and he’s been knocking down his outside jumpers. He has been a difference-maker for the Heat and a big reason they’re ahead 2-1 in the series.

But this season has not gone smoothly for Bosh. He was dunked on by Ray Allen last series, admitted he was nervous in Boston, and he was almost in tears following a regular season loss. He’s become a target for mockery and appeared to have a difficult time learning his identity on a team that has two stars in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. That’s been a difficult adjustment for Bosh to make given his status as the franchise player in Toronto the past several seasons. He even admitted that Sunday night.

Asked after Game 3 about accepting a new role where he wasn’t the focal point of his team’s offense, Bosh said “It was extremely difficult. It was to the point where I didn’t know how I was going to be able to be effective. But I still have to have that aggressiveness that I had then. Of course I’m not going to get as many play calls, I know that, with two other great players and a great team. I just have to be aggressive and have a better swagger about myself and just believe in myself and my teammates and go out there and play basketball.”

Bosh was then asked if he’s had to put aside his ego since joining the Heat.

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Joakim Noah Gay Slur Video – Says F*** You, F****t to Fan by Bulls Bench

Joakim Noah either didn’t learn from Kobe Bryant’s gay slur or he was so heated up he didn’t use discretion with his words during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After getting whistled for his second foul early in the first quarter, Noah headed to the Bulls bench and appeared to yell a few cuss words to a fan. Here’s the video courtesy of Ben Golliver:

Kobe Bryant was fined by the NBA and flogged by the media and many fans for what he said. Former NBA player John Amaechi compared the slur to the use of the n-word. We’ve been here before and established that the use of the word “f****t” is unacceptable, even if it is said in the heat of the moment on the court. If the media makes a big enough deal of this, expect Noah to get fined like Kobe. It would be hard for him not to — this series has been one of the most-watched programs on cable TV.

UPDATE: Joakim Noah apologized after the game saying “I got caught up — a fan said something and I said something back, I apologize. I got caught up, I don’t mean disrespect to anybody, I just got caught up.”