DALLAS, TX - JUNE 07: Tyson Chandler #6 of the Dallas Mavericks goes to the basket against Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Four of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 7, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Sorry, I seem to be on a tangent about the announcers in the Finals right now.
Before I go on my rant, how amazing is it that the Mavericks are tied 2-2 in this series while shooting less than 42%? They shot 45% against the Thunder and over 49% against the Lakers, and they looked like a team that was winning based solely on hot shooting. And for what it's worth, I don't credit Miami's defense. Dallas is getting better shots in this series than they got against OKC - they're just not making them. Now, certainly a guy like J.J. Barea was playing way above his head earlier this post season - but suddenly he's missing everything, and we know that's not right either. So the fact that Dallas is tied in the series is pretty hard to fathom.
Here's my announcer rant of the day. When Dwyane Wade blocked Tyson Chandler's dunk at the rim tonight (an amazing play without question), Mike Breen said that "Wade has become one of the best shot-blocking guards in the NBA."
Well, that statement is not very long, but it manages to be wrong twice. Wade is, and has been for some time, the BEST shot-blocking guard in the NBA, and it's not close. Breen's statement implies that this is some sort of recent development, and that there are some other contenders. Well, in the eight seasons since Wade entered the league, a guard has averaged better than one blocked shot per game five times. And it was Wade each time. He averaged 1.1 blocks per game in his second season in the league, and he has been the leading shot blocker from the guard spot every season since.
While I'm here, one other thing. LeBron James' flop near the end of the first quarter was a classic, but he took a big chance. In fact, Sam Cassell used to drive me nuts with this type of flop. When you have the ball, and you try to draw a foul that isn't there by falling down or flying backwards, the risk is that the ref will see through the ruse, and then you've just created a turnover. In this case, LeBron risked a travel call as he grabbed the ball and flailed as he ran out of bounds, while the replay clearly showed that Brendan Haywood hardly touched him. Far from a 'heady play', that's a pretty dumb play - it very easily could have been (and in retrospect obviously should have been) a turnover with 18 seconds left in the first quarter. Further to that point, I totally agree with Jeff Van Gundy (and have said so before) that these clear cases of dishonest flops should be reviewed by the league and dealt with after the fact. I wish that the refs on the court were savvy enough to sniff out the acting in real time, but one understands if they miss some - it's a very fast game with lots going on. You blink, you see a guy go flying, you might very well blow the whistle. But after the fact the league can hand down a punishment. And I mean PAIN - suspensions seem to get people's attention more than money. If you have clear, unambiguous evidence of this type of chicanery, dole out a one game suspension for the first offense, two games for the second offense, etc. It will stop.