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Final 2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability Graph

Posted by Neil Paine on June 12, 2011

Dallas' Series Win Probability Graph after Game 6 (Dallas wins series 4-2):

Dallas' Quarter-by-Quarter Series Win Probability Data:

Minutes Elapsed p(win)
0 46.7%
Game 1
12 48.0%
24 48.8%
36 42.3%
48 33.8%
Game 2
60 34.3%
72 34.9%
84 29.3%
96 54.0%
Game 3
108 46.0%
120 46.0%
132 45.9%
144 30.9%
Game 4
156 30.3%
168 27.2%
180 21.7%
192 45.0%
Game 5
204 43.0%
216 48.3%
228 53.4%
240 63.7%
Game 6
252 73.0%
264 69.9%
276 90.7%
288 100.0%

(For more info on the Series Win Probability methodology, click here)


101 Responses to “Final 2011 NBA Finals Series Win Probability Graph”

  1. sean Says:

    If I was Miami, I'd be popping the champagne right now and I'd still have that parade down whatever 'Canyon of Heroes' Miami has... they had a fireworks extravaganza without winning a darned thing----------why should losing the Finals change anything?

  2. sean Says:

    Suprised at the score. I thought Miami's defense would be a difference maker with the extra day----though 25? points were scored off turnovers FOR Dallas.

    Dirk was AWFUL in the 1st half. I couldn't believe Miami wasn't up by 10 (if you told me that Dirk would have 3 points on 1/12 shooting). I though Dirk was killing them with his shot selection, especially when they got up 40-28 essentially without him. He rebounded with a strong 2nd half and a stronger 4th Quarter.

    LeBron was more aggressive in the 4th Quarter this time. I still say he has to develop more of a post game. Or if he HAS ONE (which I saw for myself that he SEEMS to)------USE IT!!!!

    Dallas shot the heck out of it AGAIN from 3. What are you gonna do? They still got too many easy points off of turnovers. Miami didn't take care of the ball and I'll beat a dead horse---------LeBron has to freaking slide down to the low block more. He could have a strong side corner shooter and a shooter at the top with weakside board crashers. I think LeBron could elevate his total game to a scary place if he made that more of his style. JMO. It's nice that he can disribute at he top and shoot the open 3... but he needs to pound down low, too.

    Wade did not shoot the ball well. Right after (I think) Mark Jackson said: 'Wade has that look like he's going to explode and take opver this game'----he did nothing... and I saw / felt the same thing.

    Miami was beaten by a better basketball team. It may have taken 6 games for me to realize that-----but it's the truth.

  3. Ricardo Says:

    Dirk's FT shooting MUST have been a Finals record, right?

  4. HY Says:

    44 MP/G 17.8 P/G, 7.2 R/G, 6.8 A/G, 1.7 S/G, 0.5 B/G, 4.0 TO/G, 47.8 FG%(15 FGA/G), 32.1 3P%(4.7 3PA/G), 60 FT%(3.3 FTA/G) in 6 Final games for LeBron.

    He only attempted 15 shots per game, and went to the line for mere 3 times per game. And he wasn't terribly efficient. Considering his ability (I think he is the best player in the world no matter what happened), disappointing performance by LeBron.

    Perhaps this is the first time LeBron James lost the playoffs series because of his own shortcoming. LeBron didn't play well in 2007 Finals, but that Cleveland team was clearly inferior to San Antonio so I don't think he lost the series. Other than that, I can't seem to recall the series he absolutely fall short of his normal standard.

    I know it's not entirely his fault to lost this series. Heat defense collapsed in last 2 games, that was big. But if LeBron played as well as he had been throughout the season, Heat could still win it.

    Fair or not, this series will haunt LeBron James, until he pulls out a spectacular performance to capture the first title.

    P.S. Heat needs to figure out how to control his playing time next season. I think it was definitely too high. 44 minutes per game? Come on.....

  5. AYC Says:

    By far the biggest difference in this series for Lebron was his FT shooting; Dallas kept him off the line, and he shot a poor % when he did get there. Wade was due for a bad game....

    Dallas was clearly the better team; amazing how they continued to be slept on, even after sweeping the mighty lakers

  6. David Says:

    Well, the Mavs did it. For a while Dirk was the too soft one (in my book) but now no more. Small n and all that but he played well. As for the Heat, not sure what is next. I really can't believe they lost this. It seems like the air was sucked out of the figurative building after the blown 15-pt lead in the 4Q of Game 2. The Heat are simply the better team so this is a bonafide upset for me. Which, upon reflection, is what the first Mavs-Heat series was too. I'll be curious what this series does for the legacy of various protagonists.

  7. PBRfan Says:

    @6: Dramatically raises the status of Dirk, Kidd, et al. Major blow in the short term for LeBron. Wade and Bosh will largely get a pass. If the Heat win next year (or at some point) the story line is "redemption" for LeBron, just like the story got re-written for Dirk.

    In many ways, the Heat would have been better off losing to Boston or Chicago and just saying "we almost got it together." After putting away Boston and Chicago so decisively, they were definitely favored to win it all. The 1 in 10,000 game 2 comeback was, in hindsight, the series.

  8. Ian Says:

    This was a very good series - one of the best I've ever witnessed. All credit to Dallas for winning it. Their brilliance in this postseason is the culmination of over a decade of 50+ win seasons, and hopefully it will change the Mavs' reputation around the league.

    Miami has such great individual talent, but I don't think it is properly utilized. It's amazing how easily cruised through the Eastern Conference in spite of still going through such growing pains. I think there will be more growing pains going forward as a number of new faces don the Heat uniform.

  9. Bill Says:


    At what minimum attempts? Eddie Johnson went 18-18 in 1993.

    At 45-46, Dirk ties Reggie Miller in the 2000 Finals (who also went 45-46).

  10. Bill Says:

    Looking for some of those high FT % Finals Series -- Bill Laimbeer only missed one FT in the Finals -- 26-27 in his career, with two 10-10 series. He and Sikma may have been the best FT shooting centers in NBA history.

  11. HY Says:

    I could be wrong, but I think it is the first time I see a franchise wins the championship AFTER its prime, even though they couldn't pull it out during their peak years.

    Mavs peaked in 05-06, 06-07 and they should've won it then, but they failed. After those seasons,they declined. Usually, teams don't win the title in this 'decline' phase. (See Blazers in late 80's~early 90's, Suns in 90's, Sonics in 90's, Knicks in 90's, Jazz in 90's, Kings in 2000's.)

    Was there any similar case in NBA history? I'm curious to see.

  12. DJ Says:

    Looking back at the Biggest Finals Collapses post, this would be the second biggest finals collapse ever (after Miami-Dallas in 2006).

    LeBron might have an even tougher summer with the media than last year.

  13. Luke Says:

    How LeBron spends his summer (with or without a lockout) is going to be fascinating. I can't wait to find out if he spends more time working on his game or his image. Sooner or later he has to realize his image is a lost cause, right? Then he'll (hopefully) start working on his game. Then his image will (possibly) start recovering on its own, without him trying so hard at it. It worked for Kobe, anyway. Although he may never care about his game as much as he cares about how he's perceived by the public. I have no idea what goes through that guy's head.

  14. Bill Says:

    In the last 20 years, anyway.

    There also haven't been many comeback series in the last 20 years.

  15. Bill Says:


    Sixers in 1983, after losing in 1980 and 1982.
    LA in 1972 -- West, Baylor, and Wilt were all ancient for that period. This was also the year they didn't run into Boston.

  16. HY Says:


    I don't think Philly in 1983 belongs to the category because even though they lost 2 finals prior to the season, they weren't a 'declining' team at all. In fact, 1983 was their best season.

    LA in 1972, I get the point. But at least they won then record 69 games, (though they reached finals 7 times in 10 years, they haven't won more than 55 games before that season) and was clearly a favorite to win it all entering the playoffs.

    In contrast, this Mavericks team was an afterthought and deserved to be so. (regular season wise, at least.) I have no doubt this Mavs team is inferior to that of 06-07 & 07-08. It makes this case pretty unique, I think.

  17. Bill Says:


    Fine. Washington in 1978. Made it again in 1979 with a better record, but lost. That 1978 team was awful in the regular season -- 16 games worse than the 1975 Finals loser.

    Dallas was actually a higher seed this year than in 2006.

    As to 2006 being better, I think I'd take Kidd-Stevenson-Nowitzki-Chandler-Haywood-Terry (neglecting Caron Butler...) over Terry-Josh Howard-Nowitzki-Marquis Daniels-Dampier-Diop.

    Take a look at the stats -- Chandler was a huge reason this Dallas team did well. He's the intelligent, athletic defender who Dallas always needed when they were carrying Dampier around.

  18. k Says:

    Dirk is now better than Malone and Barkley.

    Magically, his playoff failures will no longer be acknowledged, while great players without rings will only be known for their failures when compared to him. How do I know this? Because this is the way a good 75% of debates and all-time rankings go; I've seen it again and again, where skillsets and era are non-starters when comparing a player with a ring against a a player that lacks one.

    The irony of great players is that the average sports fan truly only analyzes their worth based on titles. Can see it in this thread.

  19. HY Says:


    Bullets in 1978 might qualify. Thanks.

    In 2006, Dallas was 4th seed only because they were in the same division with San Antonio which had the best record in the Western Conference. At that time, division winners automatically get 1~3 seeds. In today's rule, Mavs would've been second seed not fourth.

    Seeds aside, let's compare both teams:

    2006 Mavs: 60-22 (expected 58-24), SRS 5.96(3rd), 111.8 ORTG(1st), 105.0 DRTG(11th)

    2011 Mavs: 57-25 (expected 53-29), SRS 4.41(8th), 109.7 ORTG(8th), 105.0 DRTG(8th)

    2011 Mavs were better defensively, but hard to say they're better team, at least regular season wise. I know Dirk missed 9 games this season, but even if he played more, I don't think 2011 team come out as a 'better' team.

    And it's not that 2006 team was bad during the playoffs. They beat the best team in the league in route to the Finals. They also beat 3rd best team in the conference.

    Seriously, did anybody pick Mavericks to win it all before playoffs started? In 2006, they were popular pick right behind defending conference champions San Antonio and Detroit.

  20. themojojedi Says:

    Congratulations to Dirk and Kidd for earning a championship after so many years of trying, and holding off the new-generation for one more year. 9 of the 10 players drafted in the 1990's (according to regular season WinShares) have now got a ring:

    1 Shaquille O'Neal 181.7
    2 Kevin Garnett 174.7
    3 Tim Duncan 170
    4 Dirk Nowitzki 161.3
    5 Kobe Bryant 156.3
    6 Gary Payton 145.5
    7 Ray Allen 130.9
    8 Jason Kidd 130.1
    9 Paul Pierce 124.2
    10 Steve Nash 119.5

    Is there still time for Steve Nash to chase a ring after the lockout? I hope so.

  21. Scott Kacsmar Says:

    The Mavericks are clearly a better team now than they were in their 06 and 07 playoff disappointments. Dirk and Terry have gotten better through experience and improving their all-around game. They have a better head coach. They got rid of a soft player like Erica Dampier (Chandler is much better). Josh Howard was an overrated player, and a bit of a headcase. I'd take an old Shawn Marion over him any day. Jason Kidd and Barea are better than guys like Stackhouse & Harris. Stevenson & Peja are good shooters off the bench. Caron Butler would have been a nice scorer for them to have, and they won it with him only playing 29 reg. season games. They won 57 games, and their 9 game record without Dirk was horrible. 11 straight seasons w/50+ wins, and I think this is just the year where everything came into place for them in the playoffs and they got the job done with one of the most resilient title runs you'll ever see thanks to all the comebacks.

  22. themojojedi Says:

    Let me fix that up

    9 of the *TOP* 10 players drafted in the 1990's

  23. sean Says:

    @ #18...

    I hear what you're saying. I think that more than a few writers here are talking about Dirk's 'legacy' within the *rules* of such-------which I believe they know (as well as you) aren't necessarily fair. Kind of like where Dan Marino falls in most greatest QB debates or what winning a SB 'does for' Peyton Manning's 'legacy'.

  24. sean Says:

    As for LeBron (again), I thought I saw where he was a -24 in +/- last night (is that possible)? That SOUNDS obscene. Also, HONESTLY, for me-------it's an elimination game in you're own building... there were 79 rebounds to be had--------and you grabbed...FOUR?

    Maybe folks will say it's not 'part of his game', I guess----------but REALLY? He's 6'8", 260.... he jumps over buildings. Was 'his game' what his team needed?

  25. Scott Kacsmar Says:

    LeBron has played in 17 playoff series. Only in two of those series did he fail to have a single game with 30+ points scored. Everyone now knows which two series those are, and that in 10 cracks, LeBron has yet to top 25 points in the Finals.

    I'm not going to say he is to the NBA Finals what Craig Morton is to the Super Bowl, but he may be the Fran Tarkenton. I'd offer a NBA comparison, but I don't think one exists.

  26. Anon Says:

    Congrats to the Mavs for the title and a great series.

    Also, Sean #24 - we can stay fixated on what LBJ did or didn't do, but where was the media-chosen alpha-dog Wade and his (championship) scoring pedigree? One could EASILY write how the series is Wade's fault for giving away 3 games in this series and being the Heat's third best offensive player in an elimination game...I read an article how this game was supposed to be "Wade's time" to show his greatness. It's Wade's team (LBJ just joined it!) and Wade is "The Man" after all, not LBJ. Since that backfired though, the true leader that we've been busy building up to serve as the archetypal foil to that "blundering LeBron" gets to sneak out the back door. Let this be the first time in NBA history where we put aside our infamous "the alpha-dog gets the glory in the win and the blame in the loss" logic and contradict ourselves once again to psychoanalyze LBJ!

    My take (the non-nonsense, "legacy-less" version):

    -The Heat played a great season and postseason, and Spoelstra did a good job with this team under all the scrutiny. It will be interesting to see the offseason though...does Phil Jackson want to stay retired?
    -LBJ didn't play well in this series but he still played a great playoffs. Like the strides he made to play off the ball and polish his midrange game, but keep working on that post game!
    -Wade was terrific, but can he stay away from injuries? Bosh had some nice offensive games but at times he was exposed on the defensive end. More bigs inside for this team in the offseason, and athletic guards to play defense on the perimeter.

  27. sean Says:


    Anon... VERY WELL DONE.

    Wade had openings there to be MUCH better----and he faltered time and again. Maybe he's getting a pass because (not saying this is fair) he's not the guy being propped up as THE GOAT heir apparent and because he has a ring already (again---not MY views necessarily---just trying to figure out the nuances of the pass Wade is getting relative to LeBron, though I DO believe that Wade had a better series---though certainly NOT a better playoffs)...

    I think we're both all over the lacking post game for LeBron.

    I wonder IF a different, stronger head coach had the team (and I'm not knocking Eric), would LeBron's role be shaped differently? I would find it hard to believe that Phil would want LeBron 25 feet from the basket, not posting up and getting relatively thin rebound numbers overall.

    Bosh doesn't have great feet. It's clear that he's in trouble if his man can put the ball on the floor.

    Do we still thing LeBron is best serving the team with his style? It will be interesting what Miami thinks---as they will add to the team based on what they think of that. Does LeBron's role stay the same?

  28. sean Says:

    Whoa. It's true. Miami was outscored by 24 points with LeBron on the floor in Game #6. I didn't think that was possible.

  29. bla Says:

    Not sure why Dallas was so underrated before the playoffs. They won 75% of the games Dirk played, which is pretty much a tie for best record in the league. Dirk, Kidd, Marion, Terry is not a bad team. Barea was surprising I guess. And Chandler is really underrated. He hardly ever gets mentioned but he plays great defense and when he scores he does it extremely efficiently. He is sort of a Rodman-like low-usage high-impact type of player.

  30. Sports-Glory Says:

    I felt like the Dallas Mavericks acted and played like they wanted the title more than Miami. I think after Game 1, Miami acted like they had the series and they would win the title. Nowitzki, Terry and Kidd just never gave up and were not going to let this title slip away. Congrats to the Mavs.

  31. P Middy Says:

    Congrats to Dallas. They had guy step up and play amazingly well - Barea, JET, Marion, Stevenson, and Kidd all hit HUMONGOUS shots. Which was crucial, because the Heat significantly lowered Dirk's FG% and FTA/game in the Finals versus the rest of the playoffs.

    I loved the Playoffs and the Finals this year. Though, the Finals, IMO, was tainted. After watching LeBron so thoroughly dominate the Celtics and Bulls, seeing him drift around the perimeter, take bad shots, make too many passes, and generally lose all aggression left a bad taste in my mouth. I wanted to see him at his best. And that was far from it.

    I dunno what is going on in his dome, but he needs a shrink, and a good one. He's so good at basketball, that anything short of a championship seems ridiculous, particularly now when he has the teammates, the coach, and the organization to get it done.

  32. Anon Says:

    #27 - I think LBJ will be willing to do what he needs to win. He went from the ball-dominating role in Cleveland to share the ball with Wade/Bosh and play off the ball. A good point guard or system can always help as well, someone who can run the offense and let LBJ/Wade focus more on off-ball movement and post play.

    #31 - P Middy, you're buying into the same "build 'em up, tear 'em down" culture we help set up. Consider the "NOW clutch champion" (the media's perspective) Dirk going 6-19 in game 4 in a game where the Heat could go up 3-1, and 9-27 in an elimination game last night. Sure he made some "clutch" shots and rebounded, but over a 48-minute game that isn't exactly "title-winning" basketball in two important games. What does this tell you? TEAMS win (and I'll say it again, TEAMS win) - not individual players.

    This man (Dirk) to me was always a great player and didn't need team championships to "validate" his career. The same is true for LBJ.

  33. P Middy Says:

    #32 - I agree that teams win games, rather than individuals. However, the Heat as a team do not function properly when LeBron is not aggressive. Besides, if you look at the games that Haslem, Chalmers, and Bosh put in, I think it's safe to say the team kept up its end of the deal. I'm not comparing LeBron to some standard I have in my own head of what he should be doing. I am comparing him to the standard he set in the Eastern Conference Semis and Finals - a level of play that, for whatever reason, he could not sustain. It's disappointing.

    I don't hate LBJ, I don't dislike him leaving Cleveland, or the Decision, or how he put his foot in his mouth over the course of the season. None of that bothers me in the slightest. I've spent a lot of time defending him on this board. I feel like I got short-changed out of the entertainment value he established that he is capable of providing. If I were a Heat fan, I'd probably be livid for obvious reasons.

  34. AYC Says:

    26.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.2 apg, 1.5 bpg, 1.5 spg, 2.5 topg, .613 TS% DWD
    17.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 6.8 apg, 0.5 bpg, 1.7 spg, 4.0 topg, .541 TS% LBJ

    Yeah, Wade deserves more blame than Lebron.... Anon, what happened to your legendary scientific objectivity?

  35. Anon Says:

    "Yeah, Wade deserves more blame than Lebron.... Anon, what happened to your legendary scientific objectivity?"

    There was some sarcasm implied in my posts. I was merely speaking from the perspective of the media regarding the matter, and the ways they contradict themselves when talking about LBJ. Of course Wade played better. Glad you feel that my objectivity is "legendary" though :)

    #32 - Wade makes some key free-throws and shots, Bosh "decides" to play well in the series, better Heat defense, same performance from LBJ, the Heat win the series. Then we're here talking about the "gutsy", "championship" ball of LBJ instead of "disappointment" - even if he literally didn't do anything different performance-wise. Certainly agreed that LBJ should play better, but I simply want to point this out to you.

  36. AYC Says:

    "There was some sarcasm implied in my posts."

    If you say so; sarcasm in print needs to be more obvious (like my "legendary" comment, for instance). I just know that you have a history of criticizing Wade, while making excuses for LBJ whenever possible.

  37. P Middy Says:

    #35 - Maybe the lamestream media would be talking about the gutsy championship play of LeBron, like they did with Kobe, even though he was terrible in last year's Finals.

    I think the same sense of disappointment would be palpable for those of us who have watched LeBron his entire pro career. Winning would make it easier to swallow - validate his decision to play with D-Wade and Bosh - but I don't think his passive nature out there in crucial fourth quarter after crucial fourth quarter would be washed over so easily. Not on this board or other great basketball sites Ball Don't Lie.

  38. Anon Says:

    #36 - YOU'RE the one who clearly read the first part of my post while not reading out the bulletpoints underneath, where I clearly gave Wade his props. I don't make excuses for players. LBJ didn't play well in Finals, just like I say the same for Wade in the ECF and in games he didn't play well this season.

    #37 - Among the irrational fan in all of us, winning makes everyone "amazing", even if some players actually weren't. LBJ could've dropped 40/7/7 and the Heat don't win the Finals. People would still rip him. Kobe goes 6-24 (and I don't want to hear about the rebounds either from these fools, he was a bricklayer in that game) in Game 7. Dirk didn't hit the left side of the barn last night in a key elimination game. Their teams win though, and Kobe/Dirk are "champions". "Clutch". I'm sure LBJ would rather win a title as well playing subpar instead of going 40/7/7 in a Finals where the other team wins, but these are the many reasons why using "winning" in sports to rank players is simple-minded.

  39. Jason J Says:

    Between LeBron playing like he had a morphine drip going come the 36 minute mark and all the unforced turnovers and missed free throws, Miami squandered yet another opportunity, despite the point differential in this one.

    All credit to Dallas for seizing their opportunities and to Rick Carlisle for making success adjustments in the series.

  40. Jason J Says:

    #39 "successful"

  41. huevonkiller Says:

    P Middy "Ball don't Lie" is full fools like Dwye that actually think LeBron quit against Cleveland. Because everyone knows that's LeBron's goal to lose on purpose. What a baby he and his friend Woj are.

    AYC your Rose wa and is trash and unworthy of any future MVPS. Anon is a lot better at analyzing the game then you. He defended Dirk when a lot of fools were putting him down, he's more knowledgeable than you and Wade folded against elite defenses. Wade emerged after taking a series off against the best defense in the NBA and playing a lot less minutes.

  42. huevonkiller Says:


    #39 Yeah sorry, LeBron didn't get to take defensive possessions off and play 34 MPG like Dirk. The luxuries of having good strategy with the post-season in mind.

  43. jonty Says:

    It is interesting to read the comments here...very entertaining..expecially are the are probably Lebron's alter ego..and always have a stat to suck up to him your comments really make my day...god awful...but funny and entertaining...maybe you should apply for a job with MRMR should send them link your comments...they will gobble you up just for being loyal...even though your comments are worth a damn...ha ha

  44. P Middy Says:

    #41 - They had what I would call a very fair and evenhanded response to LeBron's performance today. And they have a wide range of opinions in their writers.

  45. Jason J Says:

    42 - Uh... I have been supporting LeBron pretty regular Huev, but even I can't support a lack of effort and execution late in game. If he was too tired to play aggressive ball, then that's on the coach. I would not make any kind of case for Dirk being a better basketball player than LeBron, or even a better finisher. But in this series he closed out games better even if all that meant was he hit tough shots while Bron didn't.

    And frankly making tough covered shots and deep open shots was the difference in this series. It wasn't a case of the Mavs playing proper team ball and the Heat being selfish posers. Kidd was tossing in covered threes as the shotclock buzzed. Terry was hitting from 27 feet. Those are the shots LeBron and Wade made against Boston, but they missed them this time around.

  46. Heretic Says:

    Amazing series, huge congrats for the Mavs, congrats to Dirk. Always moving to see a NBA legend get his due.

    Also big thanks for the Mavs for putting an end to the moronic LeBron=Jordan statements. That's two choked finals against zero good ones. And this time, there really ain't no excuses... maybe Kidd, Stevenson and Marion were too young? LOL

  47. huevonkiller Says:

    Jonty i'm amused by you, because I'm still one of Kobe's biggest fans. LOL at you getting all excited like you know anything about me. I find it entertaining to expose other people and biased fans like you.

    Kobe fans are exactly the same, you show them objective evidence and they try to laugh it off. But you can't, you're wrong and are taking the immature position.

  48. huevonkiller Says:


    I have pretty high standards I want fair and objectivity every season, not just when you feel like it. They think he lost on purpose, that's weird.

    Middy, their two most prominent writers are Dwyer and Woj.


    Not sure what your point was, Dirk did not have a great series and had an easier assignment all season. It does matter enough to point out, I don't care if you like James or not.

  49. huevonkiller Says:


    Why is he retiring? I didn't know he quit basketball like Jordan.

    Heretic Neil thrashed you already in his previous post. Your tried to use Series leverage against James and you failed. Like you have been failing in the majority of your criticisms.

    1988 Jordan averaged 45 PPG against Cleveland he did not torch Detroit or anything close to it. He choked against them, and did it again, then against NY. I won't even get to the late 90's that's obvious.

  50. Jason J Says:

    My point is why are you calling me out for pointing out that LeBron had a crappy 4th quarter last night by pointing out that he had a tougher defensive assignment than Dirk? You brought Dirk up in your response to my post, not me.

  51. Mike Goodman Says:

    In the 1970 Finals, Bill Keller hit 19-19 FT.
    When he returned in 1972, he went 16-16.
    In '73, he missed 1 of 12.
    In '75, he went 7-7.

  52. huevonkiller Says:


    Jason, in #45 you reiterated admiration for Dirk so I was correct in bringing it up.

    You don't have the perspective to understand why players fail, or succeed in certain cases.

  53. P Middy Says:

    #48 Dwyer and Woj have a consistent perspective and voice. I never agree with them on LeBron, but it's important to be able to read the gamut and decide for yourself.

    Unless you're intractable . . . then it's pointless.

  54. huevonkiller Says:

    P Middy, they're not on the same level as this site.

  55. Heretic Says:


    I don't mind calling LeBron a great player. That he is. He was undoubtedly the best player in the world 2008-2010 (with 2009 being arguably the best season in NBA history) and maybe still is, though now I would say that the throne is up for grabs.

    Neil proved that he is the best playoff performer since 2003. Fine, I accept the evidence. But since my objection is that LeBron is not Jordan, that post did not invalidate my criticism.

    I don't have time to look at Jordan's exact stats, but you showed your hypocrisy when you pointed out that 45 PPG against Cleveland. You know perfectly well that that does not neccessarily mean anything. Yet you bashed me previously for looking at FG%.


  56. P Middy Says:


  57. Slick Ric Says:

    @Huevonkiller, first off you need to learn how to spell, and dont change the subject that your man lebron is pathetic, and does not to deserve to be mention with MJ ever again. He probably does not deserve to be mentioned with Kobe. I dont understand how you are supposedly the best player in the world and come up so small. he has no excuse unlike he did with cleveland. You have one of the best players in the game in wade and a perennial all-star in bosh and he still came up short. disgraceful. Dirk basically in the same type of situation lebron was in in his years with cleveland of not having that WADE to play alongside furthermore proves the fact that lebron is probably the biggest front runner(no hyperbole) in the history of the game.

  58. Neil Paine Says:

    Huevon, you really need to chill out, because you're making it impossible for everyone else to have a calm, rational discussion. I've been unbelievably laissez-faire with you over the past few years, and perhaps that was a mistake. But I will bench you if you continue to insult the other readers here. Understood?

  59. huevonkiller Says:


    You're respectful here so I'll be nice then. At his 35+ usage rate and that faster pace, he averaged approx 25 points, 4 assists, 8 boards per 39 minutes. Chris Bosh numbers, except Bosh touches the ball less. He was horrific against the Knicks in his prime that is also a fact, in various metrics not just one.

    Then Jordan gets glorified for six rings, not his first three but all six and he wasn't always better than Kobe in those title runs.

    I think people need to chilllllll (not just you, speaking in general), take a breather. Paul Pierce was erased in 2010, even when James plays bad it is at a higher level than some of Jordan's series. Jordan is better because of seniority of course, he's played longer and his prime was very long. LeBron will be 27 next year, Jordan was 28 in 1991. I don't count entering the league sooner against James, he still has time.

  60. huevonkiller Says:

    #58 Neil I had no idea you were going to post that, but I was already starting that process as you can see in my previous post. I'm a step ahead of you.

    But I don't apologize for what I said in the past, you allowed me to do that. I'm a little street I'll admit, but I have no problem following the rules if you insist. I personally believe posters should say what they want though.

  61. huevonkiller Says:

    @Slick Ric

    (And Neil I'm being nice here)

    You made some grammatical mistakes.....

    "Dirk basically in the same type of situation lebron was in in his years with cleveland of not having that "

    See, we're not all perfect.

    Was Kobe even better the last two years he got Finals MVP? Nope. You don't present a good case, Kobe messed up in the 2004 Finals the last time he tried to play 44 minutes a game.

  62. Anon Says:

    #45 - "I would not make any kind of case for Dirk being a better basketball player than LeBron, or even a better finisher."

    Dirk's been "closing games" his whole career - including in 2006, when he put up a better postseason he did this playoffs, even though he didn't play well in the Finals. The difference in him winning the title this season and the "choke" in '06 was these reasons stated well right here:

    "And frankly making tough covered shots and deep open shots was the difference in this series."

    Simply put, in addition to his own play, Dirk's supporting cast also made shots as well; and I would also add they played some DEFENSE (which was traditionally the Mavs' Achilles Heel for the past decade). I said from before Dirk was an underrated player/legend, even as the media labeled him a choker from the '06 Finals and '07 first round. Winning a title doesn't "move him up" the all-time list; his performance (to the tune of 3.6 WS and .210 WS/48) does. Like KG, he gets hailed for something that he's been doing since day one behind the so-so teams and the hoopla over "ring count", and that is play great basketball.

    LBJ certainly can take away from this and play better in other Finals to help his squad. Still, a bunch has to go your way to win championships in any team sport, things that do more with the entire team than the individual player. MJ was truly one-of-a-kind when he stepped on the scene; not only as a player and what he did to help his teams, but also with respect to the fortune needed to craft that kind of career.

  63. Jason J Says:

    My first post was 39. Where do I mention, Dirk? Are you upset because I'm giving Dallas in general credit for winning?

    Over on my site I've got a guy giving me the business for being too pro-LeBron. You can't win for losing on this here internet.

  64. Heretic Says:


    Agree that we should give LeBron more time, although his decline this year is worrying. He went from 37.4 PER and 0.399 ws/48 in 2009 playoffs to 23.7 PER and 0.199 ws/48 in these playoffs. Sure, he faced better defences this year, but Orlando was the best defensive team in 2009 and for most of that series he did what he wanted to do.

    Maybe this decline is solely due to bad coaching.

    I can't agree on Jordan being horrific against the Knicks though. He destroyed them in 1991 and 1996, while in 1992 and 1993 he did struggle but I would call that subpar rather than horrific.

    Also, Kobe's two best playoff performances - 2001 and 2009 - are about the same as Jordan's worst in 1992 and 1997 (of course I mean title runs here).

  65. Anon Says:

    "He went from 37.4 PER and 0.399 ws/48 in 2009 playoffs to 23.7 PER and 0.199 ws/48 in these playoffs."

    Don't you think it's nitpicking though to criticize a playoff performance that ranked still #1 and #7 in WS and WS/48 for 2011 because LBJ didn't replicate the ridiculous levels of his 2009 playoffs? Which ranks #3 in WS and #1 in WS/48 ALL-TIME? At the time I knew it was one of the finest playoffs performances ever, but people then who irrationally used winning to measure greatness STILL bashed LBJ for it because Cleveland didn't win a championship.

    And NOW people want to appreciate it?

  66. Heretic Says:


    I did not expect LeBron to replicate that 2009 performance. That would be insane.

    However, a ws/48 of 0.250 and PER of 27-28 seem just about right, especially since we are talking about LeBron's prime here. When he will be 34 or something it will be much harder for him to come close to such numbers.

  67. Anon Says:

    If LBJ finally gets that ring, and in doing so puts up a more pedestrian playoff performance than this one, are some of the people that use the team title result to judge a player's performance going to say "He finally gets it! 'Atta boy Bron, you see? When you play better your team wins titles!"? That would be something.

  68. Anon Says:

    Sure Heretic, although playoff data isn't abundant and can fluctuate more than regular season numbers.

  69. HY Says:


    Before Finals, LeBron's number was very close to what you said. 6 not-so-good games dragged him down quite much.

  70. sean Says:

    Why is there so much energy spent on what people are gonna SAY should LeBron play really well or HOW he plays in a championship season?

    How 'bout he just plays really well? How 'bout he just wins? Why is there more focus on what people are gonna say rather than LeBron's play/ results?

    Geezus. Who pleases EVERYBODY? NO ONE. There's a lot of whining about 'LeBron can't win no matter what he does'... Well, I've got news for ya--------if the goal is to please everybody, then they're RIGHT--------he CAN'T win... because NOBODY pleases everybody.

    I have NO idea why people *tweet*, especially people in the public eye. You get a guy like LeBron who says he doesn't care what anyone thinks--------then he's *tweeting* at 3am. WHY? And he's saying that he's keeping track of 'what everyone has been saying about him'.... WHY? It's not the least bit healthy for him------caring what everyone thinks. Get over it. There will always be critics.

  71. sean Says:

    LeBron is getting a BEATING today for the Finals in the NYC area... not for the statistical productivity----------but for what folks called 'cowering'. Stephen A. Smith said he came the smallest he ever has. Michael Kay said that he's a once in a generation talent... he has the red boots and cape-------but he wants to work at the Daily Planet or that he has the best singing voice in the show------but wants to be in the chorus (this was all directed at his performance and meekness in the Finals, specifically).

    I don't get it that these people wanted a huge scoring night from him as much as more HEART, more aggressiveness, assertiveness. They feel like he didn't pick a bat more than they feel like he struck out. Like he was scared. Not necessarily MY take, but it's what's out there.

  72. Greg Says:

    Why are so many people shocked at Dallas winning the whole thing? If you remove the 2-9 record when Dirk was injured, they were the best team in the NBA. They proved it in the post season. All my picks are posted and dated on --> Mavs over Portland, Mavs over Lakers in 5, Mavs over OKC in 5, and Mavs over Heat in 6. (I was very close and just missed the sweep of the Lakers)

    It would be nice to see the main stream media do serious analytics instead of knee-jerking hyperbole (including terms like "soft" instead of real analysis) that is fueled by ratings. There is a reason Roland Beech from is employed by Dallas.

    One last note--> I've been waiting for this May 1st 1980 when Dallas was awarded the franchise to Donald Carter. I was very moved that he was the first to touch the trophy. I have been on cloud nine for 48 hours and don't know when it will end.

  73. sean Says:

    @ #72...

    I guess part of it is Dallas' playoff history (which is silly because this was a different team) and people just didn't know or appreciate how good they were. I think part of it was how Miami stormed through the East, and how LeBron was used to hound whomever they needed him to----as well as be a focal part of the offense. LeBron's Eastern Conference Playoffs were really good.

    I expected more of the same for Miami. I though Mimai would win the games kept in the 80s------but Dallas proved they could win those, too.

    People are still trying to figure out what happened to LeBron, i.e., where the heck is the guy we all saw 2 weeks ago?

    The most crap I think I saw a player deal with in an NBA Finals was Ralph Sampson in 1986. He had a fight, he had some clunkers (he was 1/8 in 1 game)... but he exploded at home with a 24 point, 22 rebound game that won a game for Houston---------and I think that even as the series was going on, people SWORE (I did) that LeBron James would erupt at least in 1 game. It never happened. We can all say what we saw AFTER the fact, but it still perplexes some. The guy had 4 rebounds in a 'lose or the season is over' game at HOME. Can you imagine Larry Bird getting 4 rebounds at BOSTON GARDEN in a game that determines if your season is OVER? He'd have to be run over by a truck.

    I am baffled as to why LeBron made himself so easy to cover (relatively speaking). The Mavs shut off the lane and they made LBJ a jump shooter. LBJ is streaky at jump shooting. It wasn't his week. He seemed to ACCEPT that instead of becoming 'LeBron, the low post monster' or something------ANYTHING else that could have true impact than a physical marvel who had settled for jumpers he wasn't making at a clip to live on.

    The Mavs were the better team. And NOT 'this series', either. They are BETTER.

    BTW, it was GREAT to see Donald Carter out there. That was classy by the Mavs.

    Hey, I'm still on cloud 9 from the 2004 World Series. There's no need to ever come down, is there?

  74. Anon Says:

    Sean, he tweeted right after the game, not at 3 am. This is the Twitter age and he's a brand-name athlete with plenty of fans with a rooting interest.

    Personally, this is all getting old. LBJ is 26, playing in the prime of his career and with a team that will keep playing for more titles. He'll be alright and the world will keep spinning. I don't need to remind everyone again that most people are only on LBJ's case because HIS TEAM DIDN'T WIN, regardless of his own performance. THe Miami Heat could've literally won this series with the same performance and the inept media talking heads, etc. would sing a different tune. This is the illusion of "winning" that we all become wrapped into, over and over again.

  75. sean Says:

    @ # 74...

    Anon, I wasn't really claiming he tweeted at 3am after the lastest game, specifically. It was a reference to something that was a topic on sports talk yesterday.

    I don't care that people tweet----I don't know what the fascination is----but it's fine. The idea that he 'doesn't care what people think' is ABSURD, however. I think maybe earlier in the Finals, he tweeted something----then claimed it 'was just to himself' or some nonsense like that.

    The why tweet it?

    He's starved for attention. Might be a daddy-issue.

    But just own it, LeBron. You need attention. It partly explains the 'King' moniker, the 'Chosen One' tattoo and the foot-in-the-mouth disease.

    I agree with you about the take the dopey media takes. You'd swear they didn't have time to really know their stuff because theiy're so busy at their jobs-------except then you remember that it is their job to know their stuff.

    I think there's a lot of people on LBJ's case because he's been such a jerk. And he's easy pickings because the team failed and he didn't play very well in the Finals---------not that the numbers in the Finals were bad... but that his non-assertion/ failure to really step up and be aggressive (that's the perception here in the NYC area).

    If LeBron wasn't that kid who needed attention so much that he would do anything to get it----even unsavory things----I don't think a lot of the people who are hyper critical of him would care as much. He's made himself a lightning rod. And then he had a VERY strange Finals where he underperformed in THE biggest series. As Forrest Gump said: 'Sometimes there aren't enough rocks'. If LeBron doesn't get stoned by the masses after what he's been up to the last year---------who would they EVER stone?

    Now, I TRY to separate the dubious character persona from the basketball player. If I didn't, I'm only cheating myself. He's super talented. But there's a lot more reason why many people are on his case than 'the Heat lost'. And some of that has to do with HIS performance. JMO. Do I believe that many people who are throwing rocks would be singing a different tune about LeBron had he done the same exact things-----but the Heat WON despite it/ him? YES. Those people aren't worth your time. And they'll ALWAYS exist. And a lot of them cover sports for a living.

  76. huevonkiller Says:


    It is two reasons. First, I expected you to make a post (like the one in #45) showing your admiration for closing. Finally I was making an analogy you don't need to bring it up.

  77. Chris Says:

    #29 and #72

    Noticed two posts wondering why people didn't consider Dallas a contender entering the playoffs--

    Remember that Dallas started 24-5 before Dirk AND Butler went down a few games apart. Their record after Dirk came back but without Butler was 70% (i.e. right where they finished up). Add in that they lost 4 of their last 8, including a 30 point blowout to the Lakers with seeding on the line, and it's really no mystery.

    The fact that a die-hard fan predicted all this doesn't really tell us much.

  78. huevonkiller Says:


    When Dirk came back in January he was struggling, he wasn't 100% until later. Dallas still won 57 games, and he played the lowest MPG since he became a full-time starter.

    Caron is a non-factor, he has a below average WS/48 and they had comparable replacements. Their depth was clearly superior.

  79. Ian Says:

    I definitely agree with the notion that winning championships is overvalued in relation to evaluating individual players. However, the pendulum shouldn't swing too far in the other direction and negate the importance of winning, either. It doesn't seem like too big of a stretch to suggest that if LeBron played up to the standard of the earlier rounds of the playoffs or the regular season, Miami would have likely pulled out this series that was on such a knife-edge. Dallas deserves a ton credit for making LeBron less effective than he typically is, but the point about LeBron's performance and its impact on his team's outcome still has some merit, I believe.

  80. Anon Says:

    "Dallas deserves a ton credit for making LeBron less effective than he typically is, but the point about LeBron's performance and its impact on his team's outcome still has some merit, I believe."

    LBJ puts together one of the best playoffs of all time in 2009. His team doesn't win.

    LBJ puts together a pedestrian playoffs (by comparison) in 2011. His team doesn't win.

    Clearly, it stands to reason that there's a little more to this than how HE plays in games (which is still important of course). If Wade put up his epic performances in Finals and hit some key shots, and the Heat play their great defense that they did during the playoffs, the Heat surely could've won this series. It's not far-fetched at all - then LBJ gets his championship, and most everyone shuts up about this whole thing.

    Of course, Sean, P Middy and I would still see that LBJ didn't play well, but the casual fan would be oh-so-fooled by the "magic of winning"...for the same performance.

  81. Ian Says:

    This is all correct. The inherent need to attach significance to winning is overstated. As such, James' performance in 2009 definitely deserves accolades, just as his performance in 2011 definitely begs questions, regardless of the outcome of his teams. Nevertheless, I still feel that James carries a greater responsibility than most (all?) of his Heat teammates within the team framework for their playoff fortune, and as such, it isn't entirely misguided to include Miami's failure to win the title as a component of the disappointment with his Finals performance.

  82. huevonkiller Says:

    Ian, I'm not really concerned that James failed in 2011 though. Because who are we talking about?

    I'm glad you're able to parse out individual accomplishments from team accomplishments Ian, so look at the rest of James career. He doesn't need to play well every single year to validate himself, and he's been clutch in a bunch of series leverage games, against tougher defenses.

  83. Ian Says:

    Absolutely, Huevonkiller. I was puzzled by his subpar Finals performance, but that does not take away from the fact that he is one of the best playoff performers overall over the past few decades.

  84. sean Says:

    @ #80....

    Can't argue with you, Anon.

  85. sean Says:

    @ #74...

    I would be SHOCKED if LeBron James didn't put in the time to work on his game. It isn't even conceivable that LBJ doesn't win multiple championships as part of a team in the future. There are those people who don't like him-------who essentially VOW to NEVER like him (which I kinda think is funny), but I have to tell you-------as someone who doesn't like HIS ACT, I truly wish he grows up and cuts out the nonsense that has nothing to do with 'on the court', because I'd LOVE to root for the guy.

    You have to understand that at one time, my most hated player was Larry Bird. I actually didn't even like him before 1988. I spent the best years of his career rooting against him. I saw his whole career------my NBA fandom goes back a few years before him. I think I bought my 1st Pro Basketball Guide from the Bookmobile (anybody old enough to remember them?) in 1977 maybe.

    I fancy myself as an objective Bird critic because nobody knows a player better than a guy who watches that player ALL THE TIME and has his heart ripped out by him. It wasn't until Bird became that old, proud, wounded warrior that I softened on him.

    You want an objective opinion on Derek Jeter? Ask a MATURE Red Sox fan. He'll tell you better than a drooling Yankee fan would what Jeter REALLY is.

    There are 3 things that a particulary large % of men think they are better at than anybody: grilling a steak, making a fire and knowing their sports. The 1st two don't take a lot of time-----so at least most people are competent at them. The last one? It takes time and energy invested to know your stuff. Most people don't invest the time & energy-------yet they aren't short on confidence in their arguments. The are the same people who's NFL knowledge is limited to knowing a few Super Bowl boxscores and trivia. Somehow Peyton Manning is a completely different player because his Colts won a SB despite his nondescript play. They are the folks who think that John Elway suddenly became a better QB than he ever was because Terrell Davis carried the rock better than Sammy Winder and Neil Smith rushed the QB better than Karl Mecklenberg. Elway's 1st SB win-----the only one he needed to be granted superpowers------occurred despite some spotty play by him. I totally get the point about the uninformed, ADD crowd of critics.

    The most legit critique I've heard about LeBron's Finals is his 'meekness' and 'lost look' late in the games. THAT, I understand folks NOT excusing------when we're trying to weigh in on him and his legacy as an all-timer.

    But there's just something WRONG/ ill-advised about talking about the legacies of CURRENT players------no matter how athletic or skilled to begin with, IMO. Let 'em play. No more talk about MJ. No more talk about Larry Legend. They'll be time for that when he's done.

  86. sean Says:

    @ # 78...

    You're totally on point, Heuvonkiller. Dallas went 9 deep. A legit 9 deep from guys they could rely on to give them something. They trusted a WIDE array of players to handle the ball and shoot the ball. That team was BUILT. Miami was just slapped together. Now there's no guarantee that they build well around the foundation------but I wouldn't want to bet against it.

  87. Anon Says:

    "Nevertheless, I still feel that James carries a greater responsibility than most (all?) of his Heat teammates within the team framework for their playoff fortune, and as such, it isn't entirely misguided to include Miami's failure to win the title as a component of the disappointment with his Finals performance."

    Of course, he's the best player on the team, who gives them the best chance to win with his play.

    However, the casual fan doesn't blame LBJ for THAT. They blame him for not winning a title - and there are many ways to win one (and all within reason) that doesn't require LBJ's best Finals performance. It just so happened that we watched the scenario which conicded with a supbar Finals. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc, anyone?

  88. sean Says:

    Cum hoc ergo propter hoc, anyone?

    James even openly asked if his play cost the Heat the title (or something like that, right?)---and then answered with an 'I don't know'...

    We just know that he underperformed and the Heat lost. His underperformance was part of the TEAM's failure-------and he was being relied upon more than most.... all? to make a POSITIVE difference for Miami. His underperformance hurt the team's ODDS. The positive difference making was going to have to come from elsewhere. It didn't. Not in 'enough' measure.

  89. Anon Says:

    Exactly Sean.

    On the flip side, it's interesting to see the same people who will pin a team loss on an individual player's subpar play then turn around and shower praises on crappy performances in a team win. Kobe Bryant, 6-24 in game 7 of the Finals gets props for "willing his team to victory" - well heck, if going 6-24 was all it took to win championships then LBJ (and everyone else) needs to stop working so hard to shoot well from the field!

  90. Anon Says:

    The Finals MVP Dirk in Dallas wins in this series:
    USG% ORtg
    31.6 97
    33.3 91
    32.2 125
    35.5 78

    What helps with his perception of "leading his team" is some of the key shots he made in games 2 and 4, but the fact of the matter is that in Dallas WINS he was far from the MVP. We're supposed to say that it's LBJ's fault that the Heat didn't win (and once again, I'm saying this as someone who also says LBJ should've played better) but here was another important player who simply didn't bring his A game at least in the W-L column the media obsesses over. As Sean said, "The positive difference making was going to have to come from elsewhere", and Dirk with his own subpar play got that from his teammates. LBJ didn't, and because of that he's everyone favorite villain.

  91. huevonkiller Says:


    Sean you've grown on me in these last few posts, I think that is pretty well said.

  92. mystic Says:

    Hey Neil,

    you might want to update your post about the biggest NBA Finals Collapses. Because the Miami Heat actually had a 78.3% win probability after the 3rd quarter of game 4. That is the 2nd highest value of all losing teams.

  93. mystic Says:

    Anon, you are posting a comment under a post about win probabilities. When you look at how it is calculated you can see that points in the 4th quarter make a bigger difference to the win probability than points scored in the 1st quarter. Nowitzki's over 10 points per each 4th quarter is more valuable in terms of giving his team a chance to win than scoring those points during the first three quarters.

    Additional to that only in game 6 the Mavericks actually made a run when Nowitzki wasn't on the court, in all other wins he was on the court during the times the Mavericks actually achieved their leads. Nowitzki's impact isn't really seen in his boxscore numbers, but in his +/- numbers it is. When Nowitzki is on the court the Mavericks are much better in terms of floor spacing, ball and player movement. He also helps his team defensively much more than most people recognizing. The +/- based stats are capturing that. And Nowitzki achieved better +/- numbers than Wade or James in the finals.

    Overall if we taking those win probability changes into account and the +/- numbers we can very well argue that Nowitzki was indeed the finals MVP even though he wasn't as efficient as usual.

  94. Anon Says:

    #93 - With respect to win probabilities, you're correct. In another respect, 4th quarter points are no more important than the rest - after all, those points in the 4th cannot exist without the previous events/points that occur in rest of the game.

    Raw +/- comes with its own issues. I tend not to use it if there isn't a large sample size to also use it with - you make some good points about how Nowitzki could've helped his team in other areas though. ElGee at back picks made some interesting posts about player impact in the Finals outside of scoring (which actually favors LBJ on the offensive end) at his blog.

  95. mystic Says:

    Anon, the win probability is what matters in the end. Giving the team a better chance to win is all about it. Don't you think?

    And raw +/- has its issues, true, but we aren't talking about an outlier here. The numbers for Nowitzki are very well in agreement with the numbers for the whole season including the playoffs. I read ElGee's post about it, but in the end he doesn't account for the better floor spacing with Nowitzki and without Nowitzki. Barea for example made only 24% of his field goal attempts in the playoffs when Nowitzki wasn't on the court. In fact every single player of the Mavericks performed worse without Nowitzki on the court in terms of scoring efficiency. A similar thing can we see for the regular season. Somehow Nowitzki seems to impact the game which is not captured by boxscore stats and on ball action (the stuff ElGee tracks).

  96. sean Says:

    @ #89...

    Anon, you remind me of such a specific instance where it was almost SURREAL watching a post-Finals interview.

    It was 2009. Kobe Bryant was being interviewed as the Finals MVP. He was SO jovial and he may have had his MVP trophy on his lap. Her was giving proper homage to 'The Spaniard'-----so I'll cut him SOME slack... but the truth is this:

    Kobe Bryant, in this interview, with his MVP trophy in tow, was about ONE HOUR removed from doing his best to FLUSH the championship down the crapper.

    It did NOT go unnoticed by MANY that I talked to/ listened to that Phil Jackson, in his infinite coaching wisdom--------brilliantly--------sat Kobe Bryant's azz down at the end of the 3rd Quarter/ beginning of the 4th Quarter of a Game #7 at home (where he was in the midst of a 6 for 24... among them unconscionable shot attempts) so that the REST of the TEAM-----Gasol, Artest, D. Fish, etc.-----could get INVOLVED. Kobe wasn't allowing it. Phil saw it. Phil made it happen. Those OTHER players took the Lakers HOME.... DESPITE Kobe. I would have sworn it was SABOTAGE he was so terrible.

    In an interesting twist from the 'LeBron was meek' assertion/ cardinal sin---------Kobe was destroying his team's title hopes by being TOO assertive (and being incredibly UNSUCCESSFUL). He was freezing out his team. Phil had to shelve him momentarily (actually, it was MORE than a moment). Then Kobe was let back in------to JOIN what was happening-----NOT 'be' what was happening and the Lakers won.

    It's bad for a legacy when you need a 'toddler timeout' in a Game #7 at home.

    In Kobe's defense? There is none for the 'freeze out'. BUT, he was always ENGAGED. He grabbed 15 rebounds. James, who never lost sight of involving teamates, seemed 'lost' and 'disengaged'------and grabbed FOUR rebounds in a survival game at home.

    They failed their teams in different ways in those games. Except Kobe got an MVP trophy and a ring. And LeBron 'has to go back to the drawing board'.

    I prefer LeBron's 'problem'. And I believe he will figure it out. And when he does, he won't need to get benched so his team can take him home to an NBA title (not to mention a freaking MVP trophy).

  97. Anon Says:

    I agree what you're saying Mystic; I'm simply arguing this from another perspective (causality).

    Nowitzki DOES space the floor for his team well, but once again, to what degree? Do you simply boost his ratings that you can empirically measure because his team won the title? Where do you assign credit, and how much?

  98. huevonkiller Says:

    I disagree with Mystic the entire game matters. The score isn't reset after each quarter so the fourth quarter argument is a bad one.

    However, the score is reset after every game. If you want to argue about the value of series leverage that is more reasonable.

  99. sean Says:

    That was Kobe in 2010, not 2009. Oooops.

  100. Anon Says:

  101. huevonkiller Says:

    Great article.