First off, congratulations to the Miami Heat. Regardless of what I thought about some of the reffing and other things, Miami was definitely the better team in Game 6 and deserved this title, which they got with the 95-92 win. Some random thoughts on the way things progressed:
- First, let's go to the obvious.... Dwyane Wade was incredible. Other than the final missed FT at the end of Game 6 that left the door open, he could do no wrong. 36 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists is not a bad way to end the series. One of the classic NBA Finals performances throughout for Wade.
- After last series, I said that at the time, Dirk was the best player on the planet. After this series... not so much. Looking at Game 6, the numbers look pretty good - 29 points and 15 rebounds - but that doesn't tell the tale. Other than a few FT, he was simply uneffective from the field, missing lots of open shots. For as awesome as he was in the San Antonio and Phoenix series, he was just as disappointing here. Here's what I wrote in my NBA Finals prediction:
And maybe the biggest question of all... do the Heat have any chance of containing Dirk? Looking at it, I'm not sure how. Looking at starting lineups, Udonis Haslem would seem to be the guy starting on him. I'll tell you now that Haslem has no chance at sticking with Dirk on drives to the basket. Same with a guy like Antoine Walker, who's not exactly known for his defensive prowess. Off the bench, maybe James Posey? I would think Dirk could use his postup at the FT line game all day long there. I just don't see how they can stop Dirk. They don't have the athletes on the perimeter. But then, most teams don't.
- As you can see, that thought was way off base, because Udonis Haslem was very good defensively in this series, and even contributed some offensively (more on that later). Hard to see that coming.
- As far as on-the-floor-celebrations go, I was a much bigger fan of the Antoine Walker Shimmy than the Alonzo Mourning Hyperventilation. And somehow, I don't think I'm alone in that.
- As TrueHoop wrote in the Game 6 live-blog, I was really looking for a potential Game 7 between these teams. But then, Jason Terry decides to go 7/25, take way too many 3-point shots (2/11 from the game), and miss all of them, including the last one. Terry had a great first 5 games to this series, but man, that was awful. And this is a guy that had hit loads of big shots over the past couple years for the Mavs.
- The second best player for the Heat in Game 6? Not "The Diesel", Zo Mourning and his 6 blocks, or even Antoine Walker (who had 14 and 11). It was Udonis Haslem. He scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but his value went beyond that. First, obviously, was his defense on Dirk, which was solid. But the more important thing was how he scored his points. In the 4th quarter, when Dallas played more of a zone defense, which left the middle wide open. Raise your hand if you predicted this before the game - Udonis Haslem was the guy that kept the Dallas defense honest with the mid-range game. Sure, Posey hit the big 3 in the corner, but Haslem was the most consistent (outside Wade) Miami Heat offensive player. I never thought I'd say that!
- Marquis Daniels was the Maverick player with the biggest impact on Game 6. Enough said.
- Like Mighty MJD, I agree that the reffing should not come away as the story of the series. It was subpar at best, but hopefully the prevailing theme from the series will be Dwyane Wade's dominance.
- I've seen like a million links to this already, but if you haven't read Bill Simmons' latest column, do yourself a favor and go read it now. As usual, good stuff from the Sports Guy.
- By the way, if you need any Heat Title gear, well, you can get that already.
- And so ends what was a great season and great playoffs for the NBA. For what it's worth, I'm not sure I agree with Simmons entirely that this series will set the NBA back (other than maybe the officiating drawing some casual fans away). If anything, I think a lot more people to be watching to see what guys like Dwyane Wade and LeBron James can do. I know I will.