Greetings from Miami for Game 2 of the NBA Finals! For the first time that I've seen, Miami has an actual buzz in the air and not just of the alcohol variety. Heat apparel and signs are everywhere and people seem to be talking about the series wherever you turn. Fun to see. I'll be chatting here until a few minutes before the 9 PM tip-off and then live blogging during the game. For those of you night owls or West Coasters, I'll be chatting after the game as well and would love to have you back with your observations. Now that all of that is out of the way, let's get to chatting!
How does Dirks injured finger effect his play tonight? If he's not 100% do the mavs even stand a chance?
You think Dirks finger will impact the series?
Dirk's finger seems to be the biggest question of the day. Every journalist at Mavs practice yesterday seemed to ask him about it as well. I of course only heard the time when he responded in German... But I digress. It's perhaps most important to note the injured finger is on his left hand and he is a righty. He'll be wearing a splint on the hand but he doesn't think it will be a huge issue and reports from the shootaround this morning seemed to indicate that it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem. I think the Mavericks have bigger and more pressing concerns entering tonight's game. Most notably someone else coming to help Dirk offensively. He can't do it on his own. Injury or otherwise.
If Butler comes back to play in these finals how big of an impact will it play on the mavericks?
The Mavs certainly could use Caron Butler on the offensive end, Aaron. However, as of a few hours ago, Butler was still not cleared for contact drills and I can't imagine he'll play tonight if he can't even participate in a complete team practice. I know he's stated he feels optimistic and would like to make his return during this series but I just don't think it's going to happen.
If you were coach spo would u take bibby out of ur starting lineup because of his ineffectiveness?
Bibby has been less-than-impressive lately, Bryan. He's yet to score since Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Not a great stat for a starter. I understand Spoelstra choosing to continue to let him start due to his veteran leadership but I think Chalmers proved he was the better PG for this team on Tuesday night. He had 12 points, including three huge threes, off the bench and was key in stopping Kidd and Barea from getting into any sort of offensive rhythm on the other end. Like in Game 1, I would think Bibby will start tonight but Chalmers will ultimately play significantly more minutes and be the major spark plug off the bench.
What are the odds for a Mavs win tonight?
Vegas has Miami as the 4.5-point favorite, Danny. I thought they had a better chance of winning G1 on the road versus tonight but perhaps the loss and dismal shooting for everyone not named Nowitzki will be motivation for the Mavs.
If the Heat win this series (as predicted for me) will anyone be able to stop them for the years to come?
Win or lose, Elijah, I think the Heat are the team to beat in the East going forward. If the Bulls make some changes (maybe acquiring a quality SG) they certainly could contend as well but the more this Miami squad plays together, the more dangerous they will become. I would think the Heat would be the favorite entering the next few seasons. Although that doesn't neccesarily ensure a title.
Did LeBron James hit his prime yet? If not how close is he?
I think we're starting to witness LeBron James in his prime, Marco. It's taken a while but he seems to be doing almost everything right and has become the go-to, clutch player we all knew he could be. His shooting, particularly from the long range, has improved dramatically and he's proven he can guard almost anyone.
Just heard this fun LeBron fact in the arena: Since LeBron has joined the team, the Heat's website has seen a 300% increase in page views.
Does MIA means mission is accomplished?.!
I like the creativity Busy B. Although I think they need three more wins before we can use it.
Is dallas in trouble if they lose tonight?
I would think so, AZ. Here's an interesting fact to impress your friends with at the bar later, the team that wins G1 of the NBA Finals wins the series 73.4% of the time. So Dallas is already on shaky ground when you look at that. I think if they could steal a win on the road (and hand Miami their first defeat of the playoffs), they would have a huge edge mentally as the series shifts to Dallas for the next three games. However, if they lose tonight, I would imagine their confidence will be greatly diminished and the pressure could become too overwhelming. Tonight is a must-win for the Mavs in my mind.
Besides Dirk, who needs to come up with a huge game for Dallas to win? And what does the team need to do better as a whole to win?
Great to have you in the chat, JJ! I think anyone other than Dirk needs to step up if this team wants a chance to get the W. Shooting was the team's biggest issue on Tuesday and I think they need to take better shots and say some sort of prayer that they fall. They were able to find a decent amount of open looks in G1, they just couldn't get them to, you know, actually go in the hoop and finished at just 37.3%. That kind of number just won't win against this level of competition.
Why do people keep hating on the heat?
I got the opportunity to talk to a lot of national NBA writers yesterday about that, BK. The overwhelming answer from them seemed to be how this team came together and the 'bully in the playground' analogy. When all of the best players playing ball in the park come together, it's really not that much fun for anyone else. The Heat are almost expected to win with the talent they have and most people don't like rooting for Goliath over David. It's sort of the same reason people loathe Duke come March, except this might be even more magnified.
what's it like to be in the finals?
I can't say what it's like to play in the NBA Finals, TO. But I can say that being here is pretty incredible. The fans, the atmosphere, the intensity of the players... it can't really be compared to many other experiences. I think the players would tell you playing in this series is what they all dreamed of their entire lives and how determined they are to complete that childhood dream. Or something cheesy like that.
If Miami wins the championship will it solidify LeBron as an all time great?
I think that's really the key component for LeBron to crack the upper-most level of NBA players in history, Tae. The biggest knock on him over the past few years has been his lack of a title. It's even the only funny line in the preview for that new Cameron Diaz movie... Once he gets a title (provided he is the key contributor), a lot of the skeptics will come around.
does dallas's bench have to outscore miami's bench tonight to win?
Isn't this game and ultimately the series based around the bench play? If Dallas' bench wins the battle, can't they make this a series?
A lot of people with questions about the Mavs bench tonight. And understandably so after their pathetic play on Tuesday (a combined 4-for-22 shooting). The Mavs have a stronger bench than the Heat and have had a great run during the postseason but were rendered almost useless offensively. Without them, I don't think the Mavs can win this series. Terry and Barea really need to make shots tonight.
Is Wade hurt? Is he run down from a long season? He has not been the same player in the last few games...LET'S GO HEAT!!!
I was wondering what was going on with Wade during the Chicago series but was impressed with his second-half play on Tuesday. He looked like his confidence and focus were both back. I never heard a firm explanation for his lackluster stretch but I don't think anyone will care if he continues to play well.
With allthe drama surounding the lakers ...do you think their big 3 (kobe gasol bynum) could posibly keep up w miami
Next seaosn, Satya? Well, they now have a coach that knows LeBron's playing style pretty well so that can't hurt. However, I would expect some major changes with the Lakers roster this offseason so it's hard to know for sure. Kobe can still turn it on when it counts and when he wants to but he's not the same player he once was and can't imagine that will change in the future. I think this season showed us, if nothing else, a real changing of guard with the league's perrenial favorites.
Can the heat keep j terry in check again tonight, if not will he b the difference maker
Terry has really been one of the Mavs go-to-guys offensively throughout the postseason and can be a very dangerous weapon when his shooting is on. Unfortunately that was not the case the other night and despite 12 first-half points, he failed to even make a basket in the second half. Terry admitted he was surprised LeBron was guarding him and I would think he would be more prepared for that tonight.
Which locker room would you like to be in as a player?
Good question, Andres. But am I a LeBron type or more like Corey Brewer? I think if I were a star I would want to be in the Miami locker room because of the control and power the Big Three seem to have with the team. However, if I'm a bench guy, I would think I would want to play for Dallas which seems to have a more team atmosphere. But honestly I think I would just be happy to play for a team in the Finals. Heck, I would be pumped to be the water person for either team.
A heat fanatic here in Australia and also watching this final series live on ESPN, how is the atmosphere like when the fans in the stadium throw the white seat covers into the air?
Nice to have you with us from Australia, Eric! What time is it over there? It's pretty cool to watch all of the fans throw the white towels on the court (although they often get scolded by the PA guy if they actually get on the court). The only thing I don't understand is why the Heat fans would throw in the white towel. Seems sort of contradictory. Unless it's just them being nice and doing that for the other team. Always thinking of others those Heat fans...
This series will be one like the days of old. Lakers vs. Celtics in the 80's. Both teams r hungry...the question is, WHO IS STARVING?
I am! I haven't eaten since noon. Oh, you're not talking about literally. I think both teams have a hunger for this title for different reasons. Dirk remembers the feeling of losing to this team in '06 and knows his window of opporunity is closing to finally get a ring. LeBron on the other hand wants a ring to silence his critics. Both are big-time motivators but as of now, it seems like the rest of the Heat are more motivated (or hungrier) than the non-Dirk players of the Mavs. Speaking of... anyone want to get me some chicken fingers?
If the Big 3 win a championship in their first season together, will it be detrimental to the popularity of the NBA?
This question might be one of my favorites I keep hearing in the postseason, Zach. I think the Big Three, win or lose, have continued to help prove what the Celtics started a few years back. Three superstars are a hell of a lot better than one. Unfortunately, I'm concerned this trend will continue and we will have a handful of elite teams and the rest will be mediocre with little chance of winning it all. This lack of competition is bad in the long term, despite the immediate attention, hype, merchandise sales, etc.
I know it was surprising to the Jet to have LeBron guard him. Will that be the same tonight or does Spo change it up again?
I haven't heard anything for sure on that, Jason. I would think Spoelstra would use the age old 'if it ain't broke' method and have LeBron on Terry until/if it becomes ineffective. It worked so well on Tuesday, I can't imagine they would chance it. Terry is a major offensive threat and containing him like they did is no small feat.
Do you think Jason Kidd has enough in the tank to play next year
Kidd has said he will play next year regardless of if the Mavs win a title this year. He has managed to stay in great shape even if he is past his prime. He knows he's not the star player or go-to-guy anymore and seems fine with it. I think he could be an impact player next year but will retire at the end of next season.
With Miami's success this year, will it draw interest from bigger name point guards or centers to come to Miami and can Miami afford to sign them?
I'm sure there a ton of free agents who would love to join this core group in Miami, Kevin, but I think financially it would be very difficult to sign them. Keep in mind, Mike Bibby is only making $216K with the team this year. He obviously really wanted to be a part of this team and joined in-season but I can't imagine too many impact players would take such an extreme pay cut.
How many Mav fans have made it to the game tonight?
Have to tell you, SJ, I went with Jade, one of our digital video producers, before the game outside the arena looking for fans to talk on camera. We found about 12. It was early-ish but still surprising to me considering this is the NBA Finals. In fact, there were more reporters outside looking for fans to talk than actual fans. There was a line waiting for these fans. Very strange scene. As of now, there are probably about 2K fans in their seats.
what do you think about Ricky Rubio coming to the twolves
I'm genuinely surprised. David Kahn had me believe that the T-Wolves were too jinxed for that kind of good luck.
i've been following the nba this season(the decision even reached s.a) is miami still d.wades team and why doesn't anyone care much about chris bosh?
Nice to have you following from Durban! I think Miami is LeBron's team now on the court but around Miami, Wade is still the most beloved. In large part because he has been so loyal and managed to get LBJ and Bosh to join him here. As for Bosh, he struggled during the regular season but has really picked up the slack during the postseason. I think though a big part of Bosh's dismissal by the casual fan is partially because he lacks any national endorsements (expect Milk, I think he might have an ad with them) and just doesn't get the same pop-culture attention. Just my take.
With all the negativity towards the hate all year, what's your take on thier mental toughness and being able to overcome it in one season and reach the finals?
Great point, Keyla. I think having to deal with the critics and hatred all season long has actually prepared the Heat for this very moment. LeBron seems to have almost tuned it out by now. They are certainly not fazed by the attention they are getting now as it's really not that much more than they were getting in December. They also know the most effective way to quiet people is with a ring. They've had time to adjust to this whereas Dallas flew significantly under the radar for most of the regular season.
Every year there is a "new" player that is included in the question, "LeBron James or insert name here", which would you rather build your team around?" Would a title/ring silence these questions?
It definitely won't hurt... and LeBron is well aware of that. Keep in mind, MJ didn't win his first title until his 7th year in the league. LeBron is only one year past that point and is still younger.
If Mia wins tonight do you think they close on the road or come back to south beach?
I really see no way Miami is able to pull off the sweep. Dirk and the Mavs squad are too talented to not win two games at home. And, as a fan, I hope we don't see a sweep. Not a lot of fun to watch something so one-sided. This year is so huge for the league in terms of popularity, I would love to see it continue to grow and that kind of lopsided series wouldn't help further that growth in my mind.
Dirk over/under 25 points?
Over. But I think the real question for me is can anyone else on the Mavs score 20+. Marion (16) and Terry (12, none in the 2nd half) were the only other players in double digits on Tuesday. That lack of production offensively has to change for the Mavs to come away with a W.
Since we all know you rarely hold back your opinion who you got tonight?
UConn superfan Rookie in the house! I'll end with this one... I think the Heat win this one by 5. Too much momentum on their side even if the Mavs make the neccessary adjustments. We'll see!
Thanks for joining me here before the game everyone! I'll be live blogging all game long and will be back chatting after it concludes. Hope to see you in either of those forums. Enjoy the game!