Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Wonderful Weekend in the Wide World

I apologize for not posting earlier, but I can explain. I got back from my mini-vacation very early Monday morning, and then I had to work late Monday afternoon. Then, as I'm about to get off work, I get asked if I can stay a little later because we were really busy. So in other words, I didn't get back until about 2 AM, and now I'm writing. Don't think I forgot about you guys!

Anyway, bad alliteration aside, it was a very nice weekend in the wide world of sports, with the NBA Finals, World, lots of baseball, etc. Let's get it started off right, with Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

I must confess I was not able to watch any of the first 3 quarters of the game, but thankfully, I did get to see the 4th quarter and OT. In other words, all the good stuff. Basically, it was everything you'd want from a basketball game. The stakes were enormous, the great players were making plays, the coaching was good, the intensity was there... what a perfect setting.

The star of the game, obviously, was Dwyane Wade. In a game where he did not have his best jumper (only shot 11/28 from the field), he still found a way to score 43 points by setting an NBA Finals record by going 21/25 from the line, including the 2 biggest ones with 1.9 seconds left.

For the Mavs part, Dirk Nowitski once again had a tough go about it, but did make some big plays, including the assist to Dampier near the end of regulation and then the jumper to put Dallas up 1 with about 9 seconds left. But other than that, it wasn't a great game for him. He scored 20 points and had 8 rebounds, but once again he missed a key FT. The best player for the Mavs, yet again in this series, was Jason Terry, who managed to get 35 points. Although, much of the credit for that goes to Gary Payton, who is just not a good on-the-ball defender at this point in his career.

Now, about the reffing. First off, let me say I agree with the refs that the Mavs should have been assessed that timeout. To me, it looked like Howard signalled the timeout more than once as he was walking toward the bench, which would mean he wanted the timeout now. Maverick Moneyball has Howard's side of the story, but to me, this isn't even all that debateable. Avery obviously didn't want the timeout there, but it was called.

However, I wasn't quite so fond of the reffing during the play. First off, Dwyane Wade should have been called for a backcourt violation. There's no going around this. The video evidence is there. He was established in the frontcourt, and jumped into the backcourt as he catching the ball. No debate about that. Now, about the foul. Personally, I'm of the opinion that in that situation, that is not nor should it be called a foul. It was ticky-tack at best. And here's my best evidence - even Hubie Brown was skeptical. I think that's the first time throughout these playoffs that I've heard Hubie voice anything less than full agreement with a foul call. And that's evidence enough!

Anyway, the bottom line is the Heat win 101-100, so the home team has won every game. This is a trend the Mavs hope continue, as Games 6 and 7 will be in Dallas. And yes, that's a prediction. Mavs aren't done yet.


The other big story, of course, at least in this neck of the woods, was USA holding out hope to advance in the World Cup after they tied Italy 1-1. Ok, so there's still a lot of doubt about the officiating, but the important thing is that with a U.S. win over Ghana couple with an Italy victory over Chech, the USA can advance to the knockout round. One thing is certain, I'll be up early Thursday morning watching. And another thing is pretty certain, we might be seeing more soccer games on the primetime channels after the US/Italy game on ABC did well in the ratings.


The most important thing of the weekend, of course, was that the Twins won 7 in a row to get back to .500 at 34-34. They're still a long ways out because the Tigers have been doing rather well, but this is a start. I must admit I don't write too much about the Twins here (well, probably more than most people want!), but for more Twins action, you can always check out the new blog: Thank You Brian Sabean.

That's all for me. Don't get hurt jumping on the bandwagon, new Dwyane Wade followers.

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