- Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN Staff Writer
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On ESPN Radio, Scottie Pippen says Michael Jordan was the greatest scorer ever, but LeBron James could be the greatest NBA player ever.
Matt McHale of By the Horns reminds us that the shot attempts James and Dwyane Wade took down the stretch were precisely what the Bulls wanted: "Remember: The Bulls wanted to force James and Wade to shoot jump shots. That was the plan. Neither man has ever been a high percentage three-point shooter. Neither one of them is or ever has been a lights out shooter from long range. And yet, there they were, gunning the Bulls down with cold-blooded jumpers."
Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don't Lie: "[James] made his star turn in my eyes because he was aggressive when it counted the most, and because he mixed it up. Because it wasn't all 3-pointers (though that was the case down the stretch in Game 5, as James nailed two of three in the final two minutes) and dunks. It was the smart play, every time. It wasn't all talent and ridiculous athleticism. It was smarts and touch and all the right plays. He also shut down the league's MVP for the second straight fourth quarter, in games that could have gone either way."
Statistically, the Heat had about a one percent chance of winning the game at the 3:14 mark.
LeBron James called his shot before the game to employees at the United Center.
Joakim Noah on the Heat: "Hollywood as Hell, but they’re still very good."
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports on the 2006 Finals: " Cuban was an ungracious loser five years ago, and should’ve watched the way Nowitzki handled the meltdown to Miami. Dirk’s regret was over his own performance, never the officiating. And in that way, Cuban never gave the Heat the proper respect they deserved for winning the title. He blamed it on the officials, declaring that a 2-0 series lead had been blown on the disparity of whistles, on Wade’s parade to the free-throw line. For the rest of the NBA, for those who want to see the Heat fail, the Mavericks represent the last line of defense."
At Basketball Reference, Neil Paine posts his NBA Power Rankings, which combine the regular season and playoffs. Ranked No. 1 in overall differential? The Miami Heat. Ranked No. 1 if you limit to "post-trade deadline"? The Dallas Mavericks.
Will DeShawn Stevenson get the call to defend Dwyane Wade? From the Twitter feed of NBA.com's John Schuhmann: "Interesting: Wade had 3 FGA in 30 min. w/ Stevenson on floor, & 30 FGA in 50 min. w/ DS on bench."
Advanced statistician Wayne Winston thinks the Mavs should be favored: "The key thing to note is Heat played at almost exactly the same level during each series and the Mavs worst effort was better than the Heat’s best."
Stephon Marbury, tweeting in a very loud voice: "THIS IS THE YEAR THE NBA WILL CROWN THE KING. PASS THEM RINGS DAVID!!! (LBj6 VOICE)"
No doubt Luol Deng would like to be making arrangements for the NBA Finals this morning, but his consolation prize from Thursday night will endure in YouTube libraries everywhere.