I want to start off with this:
I am a Cavs fan, I am a fan of neither the Heat nor the Mavs.
I picked Dallas to win this series (and even thought they could sweep it after Game 2).
I did not see Game 5. At all.
Miami won Game 6 on their own.
Dallas played poorly in Game 6.
I ended up rooting for Dallas in this series (more on this later).
The NBA did not rig this game or series (and while I'm not saying they did, I can understand how someone may think so).
Now, that being said there were a few calls (and non calls) that stood out to me. Now, I may sound like a bitter Dallas fan, and maybe for this series I was. But here are some of the bullshit calls I believe I saw:
Wade's first free throws of the game. These came off a jumpshot late in the first quarter. Dallas played off and Wade slipped when he landed and fell. And though no one was near him (or touched him) he got to the line.
Later on (I believe still the first quarter) Wade drove right into Devin Harris. Hubie Brown even said that Harris has a legitimate gripe here. Wade drove into him and elbowed him in the face.
In the second (again, I think) Wade drove and Marquies Daniels played off of him and let him shoot. Brown said it was a ticky-tack call, but I didn't see anything.
Alonzo Mourning goal tended a shot by Dampier in the third quarter. It wasn't even close.
In the third Josh Howard drove the ball and got bumped pretty damn hard (no call, but not too bad) and Mourning blocked the shot. The ball bounced off Howard and then Wade and proceeded to go out of bounds. Somehow it was Miami ball. There could've been a foul call on the shot (a lot of contact), and I'm not saying there should've been, I just know there would've been if it was Wade driving and Diop blocking.
Daniels got a break away dunk and Mourning smacked him on the head, no call. Smacked him on the head.
There was a loose ball foul called on Daniels off a rebound (I think, it might have been Howard) and Wade just jumped up and flailed his arms. Daniels wasn't close to pushing him. My TIVO replay looked clean, but ABC didn't show a replay at all.
At the end of the third quarter, Shaq missed a free throw and Mourning got a loose ball foul. By all replays it looked like he fouled Dirk. But Eric Dampier somehow shot the free throws. He missed one.
Late in the fourth, Gary Payton travelled at the three point line. Moved his pivot foot by taking a step with it. No call (Antoine Walker ended up missing a 3) but Dallas messed up their next possesion. This wasn't even close.
After a Miami miss in the fourth, Terry was wacked bringing the ball up. He eventually lost it and James Posey got it but double dribbled (I couldn't really see the double-dribble, I assume this was a make up call).
Mourning seemed to be holding Dirk all game long. Dirk took a lot of contact around the hoop all game as well.
Late in the fourth Dwayne Wade drove on the sideline and shoved his first/fore arm into Dirk. Foul on Dirk. What?! Bullshit.
Maybe I since I was rooting for Dallas, I saw some of these differently, but I don't really think so. Wade shot 21 free throws for the game, Dallas shot 23. This is after a game that Dallas and Wade each shot 25.
And the reason I was rooting for Dallas? ABC and ESPN. Back in the day when Jordan played I hated him. Why? Because whenever the Cavs would beat the Bulls, the story wasn't how good Mark Price and the Cavs were, it was still about Jordan. It was never "Cavs win" it was "Bulls lose".
ABC pulls the same crap happens every year too. It used to be the Lakers, this time it was the Heat. They seem to focus on one team over another. And I usually end up rooting for the other team just because of it. I'm sorry, I just do.
Tonight we had 2 or 3 'inside the huddle' mics, and they were all Miami, I watched all of the game and I don't remember any mic'd Dallas timeouts. Today on ESPN we had a "Is Wade Michael Jordan?" segment, just a tad early on that one guys (so is all the LeBron shit too). We had a Shaq and Superman commerical. At half time we had a segment on Pat Riley's motivational skills.
So I was a bit sick of Miami.
Now, did Dallas deserve to win this game? No. Late in the second half when Dallas had a 10 point lead and the Heat went on a 7-0 and eventually took the lead. How did that run start?
Dallas called a timeout with 2:45 left and while they were running their SET PLAY OFF A TIMEOUT Eric Dampier got a 3 second violation. Dumb ass.
Dallas shot too many threes.
Josh Howard played like shit on offense, often times forcing his shots.
I didn't count how many times Dallas brought the ball down and put up a jumpshot without making one pass. Awful, run the offense.
Dirk took something like 4 shots in the fourth quarter. Unacceptable. Was it all his fault? No, he made some good passes out of double teams and Miami played him well. But come on, a Dick and Dampier pick and roll (where Dampier lost a pass that hit him right in the hands)? Come on.
Speaking of the Dirk-Dampier play, why was Erica even out there in the first place? Why not have your best 5 offensive weapons out there?
Dallas gave up two huge offensive rebounds late in the game. One went to Wade (he got fouled and made the free throws) and one went to Haslem (he made the put back). Inexcusable. Both guys came from outside the key untouched. Awful.
Why didn't Dirk get that last shot? Sure it was a free for all at the end, but come on. If you're down three and your 7-foot unblockable German franchise player isn't taking the game-tying, when will he? I know Terry got a good look and was clutch all series, but you think Jordan is letting Pippen shoot that one?
Other random thoughts:
Dear ABC, I hate the skycam more than I hate anything else in the world. Stop it. Please.
I'm just happy Jason Kapono won a ring.
I already hated it when Wilbon would bring out that "Wade won a playoff series before LeBron bullshit" and I'm already mad about future "Wade won a championship before LeBron" arguments.
(For the record, here's my rebuttal: Wade had Lamar Odom and Caron Butler for his first season, much better than Ricky Davis and Darius Miles, they made the playoffs with a sub-.500 record and beat a crappy Hornet team. For the longer playoff runs, he had Shaq and now Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, Gary Payton and Jason Williams. That's one, maybe two Hall of Fame centers (though both are aging), a former All-Star 20 point scorer, a Hall of Fame point guard coming off the bench at the end of his career and a starting point guard who A) is pass first and B) can shoot 3s. Oh yea, and he has a Hall of Fame coach. Compare that roster to LeBron's and it's no contest. The Cavs start Eric Snow (who can't shoot) and bring Damon Jones off the bench (who can't do anything but shoot). Right, Wade would be doing just as well in Cleveland.
Speaking of LeBron vs Wade stuff... Everyone talks about LeBron leaving Cleveland, but I never hear anyone talk about Wade leaving Miami. Why should he re-sign there? Mourning will retire soon (if not in a week), same with Gary Payton. How much more does Shaq have? A year? Two years? He was barely effective this series, how will he be in a year? How about Riley? He's pretty old himself and has already retired once. How much more does he got? So Wade will re-sign because of Jason Williams, James Posey and Antoine Walker? Awesome. And they aren't exactly that young either.
I've said this about Kobe and I'll say the same thing about Wade: They are not Michael Jordan. Sure they've won championships before Jordan. But come on. They both had Shaq. Let's say when Jordan came into the league he had Moses Malone. How would that have worked out? You think he still would've struggled against Detroit and Boston? Please.
I bet ABC and ESPN breathed a sigh of relief when Terry missed that final shot. They would've had to run some "Wade choked" stories the next few days (because make no mistake, Wade choked on those two and Dallas shouldn't of even had a chance). They just spent the last couple days comparing Wade to Jordan; if his misses would've cost Miami that game (or even the series), it would've been all for naught.
Finally, it was a good playoffs for the NBA. They got a ton of exciting series, they got a new start win a championship, they got Riley, Shaq, GP and Zo a championship and they got fine Mark Cuban a ton of money. Good 5 month playoff run for them.
I know some people will call bullshit on these last few games. And they are kind of right. I didn't see any of game 5 but I heard there were a few phantom calls and Stackhouse was suspended. The Stackhouse suspension I disagree with (he fouled Shaq hard to make him shoot free throws in a playoff game. Miami was also showboating a tiny bit by giving Shaq a monster dunk there. Stack made the right play.) Even if you think it was a hard foul, how can you suspend him for that. How can Reggie Evans grab Chris Kamans nuts and get fined but Stackhouse gets suspended for a hard foul?
But I'm not saying that the NBA rigged the series or that they wanted Miami to win (though they've might've wanted the latter). Dallas didn't play welll enough to win this game tonight. Plain and simple. I didn't see game 5 at all, so I can't coment on that, but Dallas had their shot tonight and blew it.