For the second straight season, Nellieball will rule the NBA finals. This season, it ruled even in the conference championships. Those series were played almost entirely without centers. Joel Anthony, Greg Stiemsma, Tiago Splitter, Dejuan Blair — and even Kendrick Perkins at times — were all sent to the bench, revealed as regular season cannon fodder. The power forwards — Serge Ibaka, Chris Bosh, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett — were shifted to the middle, and the small forwards — Durant, James and Battier, Pierce, Leonard and Jackson — became Nellieball power forwards.
The Nellieball four is now supreme in the NBA. Is it a coincidence that the last two NBA finals have featured the three greatest Nellieball fours to ever play the game? Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James, Kevin Durant.
At a time when Joe Lacob is trying to turn back the clock, and turn the Warriors into a 1980’s style halfcourt team, the NBA is moving in a completely different direction. At a time when Joe Lacob is insisting on “changing the culture” of the Warriors back to the Ewing Knicks and Smits Pacers of coach Mark Jackson, the culture of the NBA is moving in the opposite direction, towards the vision of a crazy man with a penchant for Dewars and fish ties.
“NBA Finals predictions anyone? I’m going with Miami/Dallas.” — Steve, April 11, 2011
“I think the Mavs can win it. I think things have to break right for them, and they have to continue to play at the level they’ve been playing. But why not?” — Don Nelson, May 12, 2011
I think a lot of veteran NBA types were amazed by how this series played out. The three most interesting comments I saw were from 1) Steve Nash, who was perplexed that the Heat didn’t go small and get Lebron on Dirk (something that I thought was the key to the series in my preview); 2) George Karl, who was surprised by Lebron’s lackluster last two games (something I attribute directly to the Heat’s offensive and defensive gameplans); and 3) the Warriors’ own Reggie Williams, on the post-game show, who stated that Spoelstra’s failure to get shooters on the floor (in particular James Jones) is what allowed Dallas to effectively zone Dwayne Wade and Lebron.
You can see Nellie’s influence in all of those comments. Continue reading
Can’t believe that I’m going to be missing two (one?) of the most dramatic games in Finals history… but c’est la vie. One does not live by basketball alone, as the Thaiblonde will attest.
One of the more intriguing aspects of these Finals is that both of these teams are playing Nellieball. In particular the Mavs, who are built almost exactly like the 2003 team that Nellie might have won a title with, if Dirk hadn’t gotten injured in the Conference Finals. That team featured Nash and Van Exel in the backcourt along with Finley, and Bradley and Lafrentz at the 5 next to Dirk. In addition to Finley, Nellie had 4 quintessential Nellieball defensive wings at his disposal: Bell, Griffin, Abdul-Wahad and Najera. Continue reading
The Heat made several interesting adjustments in Game 3. The most obvious, of course, was to take Lebron off of Jason Terry. The Heat matched up conventionally, with Lebron guarding the three, usually Shawn Marion, and Wade guarding the two. Continue reading
Just finished watching the game for the second time. I watched it the first time out of the corner of my eye from my seat at the 5-10 no limit poker table at Lucky Chances… and quite predictably, my own play suffered greatly in crunch time.
To me this game highlighted the biggest edge that Dallas has over Miami: at Head Coach. Carlisle is an absolute genius: the adjustments he made (staggered screens, etc.) to get Nowitzki open against one of the toughest defenses in history were beautiful. And he does it on the fly, mid-game, which is the hallmark of the elite. Continue reading
I have already predicted that the Miami Heat will win the championship, and as great as the Dallas Mavericks have performed so far in these playoffs, I don’t see any reason to change my mind. Here are my reasons: Continue reading
Grizzlies v. Thunder, Game 7
This one has played out almost exactly as I believed it would. The key to game 7 will be the officiating, as Jeff van Gundy slyly hinted in the last game when he said this regarding the Grizzlies’ physical defense of Kevin Durant: “I’m curious to see whether those bumps will be fouls in Oklahoma City.” Continue reading
Posted in NBA Playoffs, Previews, Wagers
Tagged Bulls, Durant, Grizzlies, Heat, Lebron, Randolph, Rose, Thunder, Wade, Westbrook