NBA Finals Report: Mavs Tie It Up

THE NBA FINALS REPORT:

THE MAVS "GET EVEN" WITH GRITTY/GUTTY 86-83 WIN IN GAME 4 AS SICK DIRK BEATS AWOL LEBRON ...

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS & NOTES: GOING DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH THE PAST FIVE BCS CHAMPS (YES, ALL HAILING FROM THE OH-SO-MIGHTY SEC)

By Jim Hurley:

Are we allowed to hand out "gold stars" for commentary by the ABC-TV/ESPN announcers?

No, we are not referring to the game crew of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson who continue to make the mistake of believing that they are the real story in these here-and-now NBA Finals.

Instead, a major "hats off" to the post-Game 4 analysis of one Earvin "Magic" Johnson who told you -in a nutshell -why the Dallas Mavericks were able to knot up this best-of-seven series at two games apiece with last night's hard-fought and oft off-the-mark 86-83 win against the three-point underdog Miami Heat:

To paraphrase the Magic man, the Heat still don't know how to handle late-game situations because the so-called "Big Three" of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh play too much one-on-one ball at crunch time plus this group's defense also sags when its offense is out of sorts.

The Mavericks outscored the Heat 21-9 in the game's final 10:12 on Tuesday night in Dallas and it was rather stunning to see the lack of cohesiveness from a team that clearly has the head-and-shoulders best talent on the floor in these NBA Finals.

Okay, so by now everyone has skewered James who finished with an ugly stat line that included 3-of-11 field-goal makes for 8 points with 9 rebounds and 7 assists (and no real impact on the game despite the fact he played more minutes than anyone else on the floor -that's 46 of a possible 48 minutes, folks) but Wade (an electric 32 points) had his flaws too with more free-throw woes plus a botched reception of an inbounds pass late and Bosh (24 points) still disappears for minutes at a time and you sometimes must be reminded he's still on the court!

Now, despite the ills of Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki (the Mavs' stud finished with a team-best 21 points even though he suffered through a 6-of-19 FG game) who claimed it was a sinus infection that really bothered him in Game #4 to go along with a reported 102 degree temperature -this series is what Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra now called a "jump ball".

If the team with the better talent is gonna win this crown, than Miami will be hoisting the trophy come Sunday or Tuesday night:

If the team with the bigger heart is gonna win this crown, than Miami won't be hoisting the trophy in the coming days.
     
And now hear this: Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Finals action -that's both the Sides & Totals, folks -as the Heat and the Mavericks hook up in Dallas in Game #5 on Thursday night at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for the ground-breaking hoops winners. Plus, make sure you stay with us right through the summer with all our Major-League Baseball winners! The calling/check-in times are as follows: After 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays; after 11 a.m. ET for weekday Baseball and after 1 p.m. ET for all the weeknight action in the NBA Finals and MLB.

 

THE NBA FINALS - THE GAME 4 RE-CAP

DALLAS 86, MIAMI 83 -Series tied 2-2
If you happen to be a "glass half-full" type person than the Mavericks' latest come-from-behind win happened much on the back of the aforementioned Nowitzki who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter -but the reality of the situation is the under-the-weather Nowitzki played his poorest game of this NBA Finals and still the Western Conference champs were able to nail down the "W".

And it's all those little things -along with the disappearing act by James who really has not shown up so far for these first two games in Dallas -that has conspired to make the Heat look rather ordinary so far in the first four games of this set:

Once again the Heat's problems at the foul line -note that Miami canned 17-of-24 charity stripe tosses for a mere 70.8 percent accuracy rate -came back to bite 'em as Wade's missed foul shot that would have tied the game in the final 30 seconds really dictated all that wild late-game strategy that had Miami needing a triple just to send the game into overtime. Wade botched the inbounds pass from Mike Miller and then Miller badly misfired on his at-the-buzzer trifecta attempt but just how might this game have played out had Wade (6-of-9 FTs) hit the back end of his two foul shots late?

Than there's the Heat bench that was such a key factor in the Game #3 win: In Game #4, they went bust as the likes of Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller and Juwan Howard combined to make good on only 5-of-18 FGs (a wobbly .278 accuracy rate) and never did give Spoelstra's squad that much-needed pick-me-up while Mavs reserve and once-upon-a-time starter DeShawn Stevenson was huge with his 11 points (featuring three triples) and no turnovers in 26 minutes of action. What Chalmers was able to supply in Game #3 for the Heat in that wild 88-86 Miami victory, Stevenson did so for Dallas in Game #4 and so you have to give a round of applause to Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle who may well have lit a fire under Stevenson by starting J.J. Barea in the backcourt with Jason Kidd.

Finally, the Heat gobbled up nine offensive rebounds in the game's first 10 minutes of play and yet there was the game knotted at 21-21 after the first 12 minutes -why didn't Miami take more advantage of those offensive caroms and why didn't the Heat big men than later on not "body" Dallas center Tyson Chandler (13 points and 16 rebounds in Game #4) who really became a major force even though he played without passion on some defensive plays?

Add it all up and it's a game the Heat let get away -much like Miami let Game #2 get away when Dallas rolled up a game-ending 22-5 run. The Heat led in this latest tilt 74-65 early in the fourth quarter and yet showed no killer instinct ... but than hasn't that be a criticism of this superstar-laden team all season long?

Hey, remember to check back in with us in Thursday's edition of Jim Sez as we bring you an NBA Finals Game #5 Preview. Now, here's the up-to-date NBA Finals chart with all home teams below in CAPS:

DATE FAV SPREAD DOG RESULT
5-31 MIAMI - 4.5 Dallas MIAMI 92-84
6-2 MIAMI - 4.5 Dallas Dallas 95-93
6-5 DALLAS - 2 Miami Miami 88-86
6-7 DALLAS - 3 Miami DALLAS 86-83


COLLEGE FOOTBALL REPORT - A LITTLE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY LESSON

Here's a look at the last five BCS National Champions with a note that SU (Straight-up) and ATS (Against the Spread) records are listed below and show that these five teams had a combined SU mark of 65-4 (a glittery .942 winning rate) while the last three BCS champs sport a collective 31-9-1 ATS mark (that's a spiffy .775 winning percentage).

YEAR TEAM SU ATS COMMENT
2010 Auburn 14-0 10-4 Heisman winner QB Cam Newton was College Football's most dominant player in 2010 -- by far
2009 Alabama 14-0 10-4 Heisman winner RB Mark Ingram was great but bone-rattling defense held 10 foes to 15 pt or less
2008 Florida 13-1 11-1-1 The Tim Tebow Show had lots of help on the speediest BCS champ team in recent memory
2007 LSU 12-2 5-7-2 "Luckiest" SEC champ lost late-season game against the Hogs and still got a title shot
2006 Florida 13-1 5-7-1 First of two titles for boss-man Urban Meyer but note Gators won four games by TD-or-less

Will we be crowning another SEC team as the next BCS champion come January of 2012?

NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals Game #5 Preview in the next edition of Jim Sez plus there's lots more Major-League Baseball and College Football goodies coming your way all week/weekend long!

20
Nov

Today’s Hot Plays