Notes from TNT’s Exclusive Coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday, May 24, 2011: In Game 4, LeBron Goes Magic, Mike and Larry and Heat Lead Bulls 3-1

(Mike Ehrmann / Getty Image)

How ya like me now?

Game 4: Chicago Bulls (93) @ Miami Heat (101) OT; Miami leads the series 3-1. TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference Finals continues on Thursday, May 26 at 8:30 p.m. (ET). The player links below are post game comments (LBJ is 1st part, Wade is 2nd of their presser. Also, mouse over the film links and youtube vids will appear on the page). More on the title below and I know you dug that last defensive sequence when LeBron saved the ball from going out of bounds right? Rewind that sequence in your mind.

Lakers fans did you see Mike Brown is close to becoming your coach? Good for Mike because with all the retreads running NBA amok, he definitely deserves another shot to win…because that is what he has done. He’s a Popovich guy and a defensive mind the Lakers could use. I do feel sorry for Brian Shaw though.

To the game…

Miami is too fast, too good, too strong and Chicago is just too young. Simple as that. With the exception of the first game, the last three contests are a virtual mirror. Thibs is trying everything. The formula seems to be Chicago, behind Rose and stellar defense, hanging in there and hanging in there until one of Miami’s stars (and now someone from bench) gets hot and leads the Heat to victory.

When the Heat formed last summer, the criticism was their lack of size and depth on the bench. Outside of their known talent, pundits network to network…barbershop to barbershop…blog to blog said they didn’t have enough and wondered where credible production off the bench would materialize. Was it a deserved criticism so early on? I don’t know because of course it all had to play out and a lot of the scrutiny of this team was just about “The Decision“. What this Heat team is doing now is showing the world what would have been and what is to be and if the Heat ever get a big time center (you know Pat Riley’s wheels are turning. He’s always had a center) it’s a wrap.

Chicago’s bench won Game 1 behind Taj Gibson, Miami won Game 2 and to a lesser extent 3 behind Udonis Haslem and Miami Game 4 behind Mario Chalmers (9 points) and Mike Miller (12 points). Haslem just had 2 points but whenever he’s on the floor the Heat seem to have an advantage.

Remember Miller was on the shelf with injuries for a lot of the season and never was able to find his rhythm. His 9 rebounds were just as big as any of his points. He alluded post game that this season has been the toughest frustration he’s had to deal with professionally and that his confidence was tested. The lineup of James, Bosh, Wade, Haslem and Miller was the idea coming into the season and obviously injuries took a toll and derailed what could have been a historic year for the Miami Heat win column. What the fans don’t see is the inner workings of a team. You hear this and that from talking heads who really don’t cover the sport as much as beat writers. Miller and Haslem were college roommates at Florida…integral parts on the 2000 Final Four squad. It’s obvious this team is close knit because of so many relationships writers fail to focus on.

Erik Spolestra spoke of the grind that was this game. He talked about the difficulty both teams were having getting into any type of offensive flow because of the defensive pressure applied on both sides. This series is reminiscent of what a Bulls/Heat series from the 90′s would resemble with low scoring games and also opportunities to get out and run kept to a minimum.

All 16 Heat overtime points was scored by James (interesting stuff about Drake), Wade and Bosh. Big players step up at big times and with LeBron doing his all around NBA legend versatile impersonation and with Bosh and Wade just being themselves only a NBA team of legendary proportions could stop this team right now. You saw who the real MVP of the league is. It’s LeBron James. We can talk here and there about regular season claim to fame but it’s funny that LeBron didn’t win the MVP this season when a team he’s on has its best chance to win it all.

Now to why I titled (check the video linked below) this the way I did…

I think back to when I asked LeBron before the Olympics (I begin at 4:51 but his answers to all questions are interesting. I spoke with Bosh, Boozer, Kobe, Michael Redd and Coach K as well. I apologize for video quality) of what the Olympic and NBA experience would mean for kids but more importantly what different skill he would bring back to the NBA. He answered the question as best he could but what I would say he definitely developed defensive prowess. I say LeBron is MVP of the league because of what he does on both ends and his ability to lock down Rose when he has to is something no other player in the league possesses (trust, he will guard Dirk Nowitzki in stretches during the Finals). Wade isn’t a slouch either because like LeBron’s last second Rose contest, DWade’s block on the Bull Wonder was just as great…if not spectacular.

But there’s one game left to win in the Eastern Conference Finals before any initial thoughts of entering the pantheon…right?

LeBron James said it best here: “This is ’06 for DWade and ’07 for myself since we’ve been to the Finals and it’s one game away so we’re not taking anything for granted.”

For Chicago, again it’s the same story of Rose doing it all by himself. In the first half he put the team on his back and went off…

The Joel Anthony’s grandson gonna ask about this dunk…and the breakaway, blow by continuation Pooh funk.

But Derrick hit only 1-9 from behind the line and shot 8-27 to get his 23. Take out Boozer (20 and 11) and Deng (20) and what do you see? Nothing. There’s not much to examine with Chicago. The Bulls got nothing from their bench. I thought the Bulls should have played Brewer more than Korver. Joakim Noah did have 14 boards and 6 assists but his 6 points is not what I expected. As I’ve said before, I thought he would have a big series scoring and while the Bulls ineffectiveness cannot be solely placed on his passionate shoulders, his lack of offensive production is a part of the problem.

Hypothetically…think about it…you’re playing pick up and your choice is Rose, Deng and Boozer vs. Wade, LBJ and CB. The game is tight. Back and forth. Boozer is screaming after every dunk but suddenly Wade and LeBron are making power forward rebound and blocked shot plays to go along with tremendous athletic scoring ability. Rose is doing his thing at the rim in reticence but Deng and Boozer are destroyed late and the Miami triumvirate ultimately wins. They stay on the court all day because no one can stop them for an entire stretch where the chips are on the table.

That’s all it is folks. Simplify it and in real time all we are seeing is the normal output of regular season averages in a playoff setting. As I’ve said many many times before, this series is coming down to experience. Dwyane Wade is a NBA champion playoff MVP. We all know about LeBron’s walk and Bosh was doing nothing more but marinating up in Toronto. Miami is ready to take all the chips folks. Writers please catch up to the narrative. The Decision came and went and now it’s time to focus on the bright future the NBA is primed to capitalize on. Do yourself a favor and hate no more because all you’re doing is frustrating yourself. Now why in the hell would you want to do that? It’s just sports right?

Right?

I said this would be over in 5 and I’m sticking to it.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

 

Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kevin McHale and Kenny Smith

 

 

 

Barkley comments on the fans of Miami: “Let’s talk about the Miami fans, a couple of them got rowdy the other night but the people in Miami have been fantastic, fantastic. We’ve been down here a few days and they’ve been great. Don’t let a couple drunk idiots take away from the game.”

 

 

 

Barkley comments on what Chicago has to do tonight: “A series is an adjustment from game-to-game. Kevin said it the other, they’ve [Chicago] got to push the pace. They [Chicago] don’t have to be reckless but you have to push it. Push it and get another 10 points, that could be the difference in the game.”

 

 

 

Barkley comments on the winner of Game 4 tonight: “Whoever wins this game, wins the series.”

 

 

 

Smith on what Miami has to do tonight to stay focused: “Each player playing significant minutes wants to see if everyone else is here [in the moment]…staying focused, not worrying about who’s in the stands, what celebrities are here. That is the moment…lock in now.”

 

 

 

McHale on what attitude star players take when entering a pivotal game: “When you’re one of the top players, you gotta walk out like ‘follow me boys because I’m bringing the heat tonight. I’m going to take someone to the woodshed and I’m going to give everything I’ve got.’ That fires them up.”

 

 

 

Smith on all the OKC Thunder had to do to win Wednesday’s Game 4 vs. Dallas with a 15-point lead: “There was a point in that game, I counted, if they [OKC] would’ve held the ball for 24 seconds, it would’ve been impossible for them to lose. That’s just clock management, clock understanding and as a point guard, and a team, you have to be better.”

 

 

 

Barkley on hearing someone compare Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki to Larry Bird: “Let’s not get caught up in the moment, I love Dirk. He’s unbelievable but let’s not compare him to Larry.

 

Johnson turning to McHale: “Would you compare him to Larry Bird?”

 

McHale: “Not overall but what he’s doing is having a ‘Larry Bird-type’ series.”

 

 

 

McHale on the keys to the game tonight for Chicago: “Chicago has to find a way to score 95 points tonight. Derrick Rose has to be the MVP tonight, he’s going to have to be super-special tonight, 20 points, five rebounds and five assists aren’t going to do it. He’s got to get 30 points tonight.”

 

 

 

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Announcers: Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst), Reggie Miller (analyst) with Craig Sager, reporting.

 

 

 

Miller comments on Miami guard Mike Bibby: “Anytime you get bonus points from Mike Bibby it’s huge. He can stretch the floor with his shooting.”

 

 

 

Miller on Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose: “Derrick Rose can’t settle tonight. He’s always got to be in attack mode and put the pressure on Mike Bibby.”

 

 

 

Kerr comments about Albert pointing out LeBron James offseason training of swimming, yoga and pilates: “That’s how I got ready for this tough, grueling broadcasting grind we’re on.”

 

 

 

Miller on Miami’s poor shooting to start Game 5: “The way this game is gearing up and the way both teams are shooting were looking at a 75, 76-type game because of the defenses.”

 

 

 

Kerr on Chicago’s record when guard Keith Bogans hits three-pointers: “When Bogans makes three or more three-pointers, they’re [Chicago] 9-0.”

 

 

 

Kerr on what Chicago needs to do offensively: “I feel like that’s where they have to win this game, second-chance points, the offensive boards. That’s what fuels this offense and gives it confidence.”

 

 

 

Kerr comments on Chicago center Joakim Noah’s temperament tonight: “He’s got a ton of energy tonight. Not only did he play poorly but he had that incident on the bench. He’s come out very focused tonight.”

 

 

 

Miller comments on Chicago guard Derrick Rose not distributing the ball to his teammates early in the game tonight: “I think he’s lost trust in his teammates.”

 

 

 

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Halftime

 

Johnson, Barkley, McHale and Smith

 

 

 

Smith on not wasting opportunities within a game: “They come at a premium. You have to know the importance of taking good shots and good ball possession.”

 

 

 

Smith commenting on Chicago guard Derrick Rose playing a little reckless: “You talk about Derrick Rose playing a little too fast. I’ll bet you [NASCAR’s] Kyle Petty and those guys get a little reckless at times. You have to let the best be reckless a little.”

 

 

 

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Kerr on whether Chicago has enough offense to close out Miami in the second half: “You gotta love the effort tonight from Chicago. This is a team that has not lost three straight all season long. Their entire program is really built on defense and toughness…and you brought it up Reggie, will they have enough offense to close out Miami?”

 

 

 

Miller on the performance of Miami’s James and Wade: “LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, when it mattered most, put them on they’re shoulders.”

 

 

 

Kerr on Miami’s Mike Miller: “Let’s give credit to Mike Miller, just like [Udonis] Haslem the other night.”

 

 

 

Kerr on Miami’s LeBron James performance in Game 4: “Whatever this team needs he provides. The other night he was Magic Johnson, tonight he was Michael Jordan.”

 

 

 

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Miami forward LeBron James following the game.

 

James on Miami’s great defense and ability to control Chicago’s Derrick Rose: “We did what we needed to do – protect home court. Our team defense tries to key on him [Rose].”

 

 

 

**** **** **** ****

 

Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

 

Johnson, Barkley, McHale and Smith

 

 

 

McHale on Chicago chances after falling behind 3-1 in the series: “Chicago had chances but it’s going to be a tough one to come back from.”

 

 

 

Barkley on LeBron’s performance: “LeBron’s energy level on both offense and defense was just phenomenal.”

 

 

 

Smith comparing LeBron in Miami with LeBron in Cleveland: “LeBron James is playing more like he did in Cleveland. He was the guy who had to do everything.”

 

 

 

Barkley on Chicago’s mental status following Game 4: “I worry about the Bulls psychologically right now.”

 

 

 

Smith on the importance of ball possession in the playoffs: “Every game is going to come down to two minutes to go.”

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Chicago
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
C. Boozer F 49:10 7-14 6-9 0-0 +9 0 11 3 0 1 1 4 20
L. Deng F 43:39 8-16 2-2 2-5 -8 1 8 2 2 3 3 4 20
J. Noah C 44:52 3-10 0-0 0-0 +5 6 14 6 1 2 2 6 6
D. Rose G 48:30 8-27 6-7 1-9 -2 1 3 6 0 2 7 3 23
K. Bogans G 23:05 2-6 0-0 2-6 +10 0 1 2 1 0 2 2 6
R. Brewer 20:57 2-3 2-3 1-1 -12 1 2 0 1 0 0 2 7
K. Korver 16:16 2-6 1-1 0-3 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 3 5
T. Gibson 10:05 0-1 0-0 0-0 -21 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0
C. Watson 6:33 3-4 0-0 0-0 -12 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 6
O. Asik 1:53 0-0 0-0 0-0 -9 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
R. Butler DNP — COACH’S DECISION
K. Thomas DNP — COACH’S DECISION
J. Lucas DNP — INACTIVE
J. Pargo DNP — INACTIVE
B. Scalabrine DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 265 35-87
(.402)
17-22
(.773)
6-24
(.250)
- 10 42 20 5 8 19 28 93
Miami
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
L. James F 49:23 11-26 13-13 0-1 -1 2 6 6 3 2 5 4 35
C. Bosh F 43:17 6-12 10-11 0-1 +5 1 6 1 0 0 2 5 22
J. Anthony C 29:08 0-0 2-4 0-0 -14 1 5 1 4 2 1 4 2
D. Wade G 40:58 5-16 4-4 0-1 -10 0 5 1 3 2 2 3 14
M. Bibby G 21:40 2-5 0-2 1-3 -11 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 5
U. Haslem 33:35 0-5 2-2 0-0 +25 2 9 2 0 1 3 4 2
M. Miller 26:06 5-8 0-0 2-5 +36 1 9 1 0 1 0 1 12
M. Chalmers 20:53 3-3 1-2 2-2 +10 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 9
E. House DNP — COACH’S DECISION
J. Howard DNP — COACH’S DECISION
Z. Ilgauskas DNP — COACH’S DECISION
J. Jones DNP — COACH’S DECISION
E. Dampier DNP — INACTIVE
J. Magloire DNP — INACTIVE
D. Pittman DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 265 32-75
(.427)
32-38
(.842)
5-13
(.385)
- 8 41 12 10 12 15 24 101

 

Officials: Joe Crawford, Ed Malloy, Bennett Salvatore
Attendance: 20,125
Time of Game: 3:00

 

39 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Exclusive Coverage of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals Tuesday, May 24, 2011: In Game 4, LeBron Goes Magic, Mike and Larry and Heat Lead Bulls 3-1”

  1. Mashup Guy says:

    I’m disgusted by the idea that Miami will walk away with the trophy this year. The NBA isn’t even a shell of what it used to be.

  2. Temple3 says:

    Mizzo:

    I’ve always maintained that the keys to this team were Haslem, Miller and Chalmers. I didn’t think Spoelstra did the team any favors by pissing away time and games with the Arroyo Experiment. It was a waste. Not much could have been done about the injuries to Miller and Haslem, but their absences were always at the heart of Miami’s inability to win some of their toughest contests. Folks who ignored that tended to have another agenda.

    I picked Chicago to win the series because I figured that Haslem and Miller would still be too injured to get it going. And, even with their presence, Chicago had some EPIC FAIL stuff going on last night. During the game, I felt like the Bulls would lose unless they did 2 things:

    1) Get more shots for Boozer. Live with the results, but get him more shots. If nothing else, Boozer shooting the ball creates offensive rebound opportunities for Noah and Deng. He shot 50% last night. Give him 6 or 7 more shots and you’re probably looking at a win in regulation.

    2) Sit Kyle Korver because if he’s not scoring the ball, he’s not giving you anything. Ronnie Brewer should have played more minutes on both ends of the court last night. He should have played more in Game 3. His defense is exposing the gaps in Wade’s ball handling skills and his ability to knock down timely J’s could have been a bigger factor if he actually played more.

    Also, I would agree that the Bulls are trying everything…and they lack offensive firepower, but the bottom line for them is the same as it is for OKC — turnovers. Folks refuse to see the common threads between Rose and Westbrook, but if you look closely, it’s unavoidable. They’re not the same guy, but they live on the same block.

    Both will get demonstrably better the next time they’re in the playoffs.

    Final Note: I did not appreciate in the least LBJ’s late game theatrics. For my money, it was pure front runner BS — like Terrell Owens. “We’re up, so I’m talking shit and playing to the crowd.” Last night, when it was tight and the momentum was with Chicago, it was all CRICKETS. Bosh was more demonstrative throughout the game.

    I would much prefer that he borrowed from the pages of Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin. Talk smack all game long…no matter what — or just shut the ____ up. It’s as weak as weak gets. He’s too good for that.

  3. Mizzo says:

    Agree wholeheartedly on LeBron’s antics. I thought the same thing last night. Things were so iffy he actually didn’t have full blown confidence the Heat would win. The Bulls turnovers happened at critical times and that’s the reason why I said the Heat would win because my philosophy when coaching was “when things get tight, youth don’t do right”.

    The difference I see in Westbrook and Rose is who is playing alongside of each player. Westbrook obviously has one of the more pure scorers the league has seen and Rose has a combination of Luol Deng/Carlos Boozer. He needs a shooting guard BAD.

    As far as Haslem and Miller, they definitely are an unexpected boost and to be honest I didn’t factor either into my prediction but anyone who says the Heat aren’t winning because of bench production does not know the game.

    I would be a fool to disagree with you there.

    What do you think about Mike Brown reportedly going to the Lakers? I dig it because we work well with each other in pressers because he knows my train of thought but is he a great fit besides what he’ll bring defensively? How will Kobe respond? I gotta give Brown the benefit of the doubt and say he’ll be adequate.

    One another Bulls front…Omer Asik done for season

  4. Temple3 says:

    I wonder about what the Lakers will do offensively with Brown. Will he pull a Mike Tomlin and leave the Triangle alone?

    I can’t speak for Kobe, but I believe that champions tend to respect other champions. If you don’t have a ring — at this stage of these guys’ careers, you’ll need to show them something that is either aligned to what they already believe or is something NEW that they haven’t yet embraced. Everyone can learn…not everyone can teach.

  5. Temple3 says:

    The other big difference between Rose and Westbrook is that when DR goes 8-27, people blame his teammates.

    When Durant goes 4-25 from 3 in the series, people blame Westbrook.

    I submit that both deserve more credit and more blame. And as much of a fan of RW as I am, I admit he’s playing in his head and has not played HIS GAME in weeks — probably since the triple double game vs. Memphis.

  6. GrandNubian says:

    I said it, mizz said it….if Mike Miller gets going, the Bulls can forget it. I think his 9 rebounds were just as (if not more) important as his points. If he continues to make those type of contributions, the Heat will be tough to beat.

    Mario Chalmers played a great game last night, but i’m trying to understand why Spoelstra stuck with Bibby in the 2nd half. Chalmers makes Rose work hard at both ends because he’s quick and can get to the basket. Bibby had a few careless turnovers that should’ve been avoided. Perhaps Spoelstra was pissed b/c Chalmers didn’t “wrap up” Rose on that thunderous dunk/3-pt play right before halftime. :-)

    Haslem is just that dude. Just his presence on the floor makes the Heat tougher on defense.

    Lebron and Wade’s defense out on the wing and perimeter areas is the best i’ve seen since MJ & Pippen. Their instincts are just uncanny. I said it earlier in this series and i’m sticking to it: Lebron James is the best defensive player in the NBA.

    Another thing….the Bulls have no answer for Bosh. Boozer can’t check him; Noah can’t check him; Gibson can’t check him.

  7. Temple3 says:

    So, part of the reason why I thought Chicago and Coach Thibs handed this game was because they shot themselves out of the game by jacking 24 three pointers — and by playing the wrong dudes.

    LBJ shot 11-26, Wade shot 5-16, and Haslem was 0-5. The real deal on last night’s game is that aside from the frantic final 4 minutes, Chicago did more to lose the game than Miami did to win it.

    I don’t mean that as a knock on the Heat. I mean Chicago did some good things. They’ve made Wade look pedestrian for a week. And yet, they did not finish the deal because they went away from their strength.

  8. Temple3 says:

    GN:

    Bosh was the only starter with a positive +/-. Look at the #’s for Miami’s bench — insane.

  9. GrandNubian says:

    T3,

    That’s a very ‘telling’ stat line. Bosh has played well in this series, despite all the negative flack he’s had to endure about being ‘soft’. Boozer didn’t help himself by commenting that Miami only had a big ‘Two’, which it seems Bosh has taken as motivation.

    Check out this stat-line:

    Before last night’s game, Bosh had scored a total of about 74 points: 60 of his points came in Boozer’s 92 min. on the floor, whereas 14 of them have come in Boozer’s 52 min. on bench.

    Regarding Mike Brown becoming the Lakers HC, I don’t think Kobe will respect him. Hell, Brown and Lebron didn’t see eye-to-eye, and neither had rings; What do you think will happen between him and Kobe, who has 5? (lol). I think the only coach who could come in as an ‘outsider’ whom Kobe would respect are Greg Pop, Pat Riley, and coach K.

    IMHO, I think Brian Shaw should be the guy they hire simply because he’s been in the Laker organization for a while and he knows the players and how to motivate them.

  10. Temple3 says:

    The paradoxical thing about Bosh’s points is that he’s scoring them against NOAH (I think — don’t have the stats…just eyeballs). When Boozer is off the floor, the Bulls put Asik or Gibson or both in the game. It means that Noah can play a half-step or even a full step closer to Bosh because he knows there is a 7-footer behind him OR it means that the more athletic Gibson can pressure Bosh to put the ball on the floor by running him off of spots.

    Boozer can only counteract Bosh’s impact by taking more shots and getting to the line.

  11. Mizzo says:

    Coach K won on the collegiate level but yeah he’s a winner. How that translates to the pro game I hope we are able to see one day.

    I think Brown will do a great job and if he hasn’t learned from coaching LeBron he will fail.

    Wanted to see Shaw get the job as well. I have to find the quote when I asked him as early as ’06 about being a head coach. The Brown hire might be more about getting everything Phil Jackson out of the equation and starting fresh.

    T3 when Boozer is aggressive he usually thrives. When the Bulls get a capable two guard in place we’ll see something different out of their offense. With the exception of Boozer that team is young.

  12. GrandNubian says:

    Mizz/T3,

    It looks like you two weren’t the only ones who didn’t like Lebron talking smack last night :-) :

    http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2011/5/25/2188932/paul-azinger-lebron-james-thug-tweet

  13. TheLastPoet says:

    Lenny Kravitz once sang, famously, “Honey, it ain’t over ’til it’s ooohhhh-ver!”

    To which (fine-ass) Lisa Bonet replied, “Ummmm….”

    Lenny Kravitz = The Bulls

    Lisa Bonet = The Heat

    TheLastPoet = rebuked and scorned!

  14. GrandNubian says:

    LOL@LP….. :-)

  15. Temple3 says:

    GN:

    Thanks for sharing. Folks in the bar who were not swept up in the euphoria or glued to the nut sack had the same feeling.

    “Mean mugging” to appear “faux hard” is a type of THUG STYLING, but it is not authentic…it’s derivative. So, if you WANT TO look like something or someone you really are NOT, you can’t get mad if someone says you ARE what you purport to BE — even if you’re just ENTERTAINING, or cooning or buffooning or clowning or Jolsoning or Liebowitzing or whatever it’s called these days.

    I don’t really care about what Azinger said. I don’t care if he’s a racist or not or even if people think he is or not. He called it from his gut.

    LBJ and Garnett and others who use this cultural styling to signify their dominance aren’t really thugs. Dick Cheney is a thug. If you’re Libyan or Pakistani (especially in the military), Obama’s a thug (LOL). And, if you’re Azinger, well it is what it is.

  16. TheLastPoet says:

    Lol. Now that I got that out of the way, nothing I said was really wrong. I said the Bulls bench was superior to the Heat’s bench, and it was, until first Haslem, then Miller, and now Chalmers, who pulled some U of Kansas v. Memphis “miracles can happen” defense against Rose out of his ass, all showed up. My prediction was based on James Jones, Eddie House, and Jamaal Magliore getting burn. But the three aforementioned guys changed everything, obviously.

    I also said that Chicago would rule the boards, particularly the offensive boards, and they did. And that James and Wade would have to add defensive rebounding to their already crowded plate if they wanted to win – and guess what? Those knuckas did it lol!

    I said that the Bullsdefense was good enough to shut down one elite scorer, but would struggle with two. This is true. Wade has had a tough series, but James (and Bosh), by and large, have not.

    I also said neither James or Wade would shoot well, not consistently. In game 3 they sizzled from mid-range. In game 4 they fizzled, but won for other reasons (see below).

    I said further that James would have to stick DRose because he was the only Heat player who could, and I’ll be damned if the niggrow didn’t do that, too! The one thing I was wrong about was my firm belief that James lacked “The Winner Within” ala Pat Riley, which is necessary to win the chip. Does he have “it” now?

    I still have my doubts. Why? Well we have all seen, and disapproved of, his antics at the end of the game. Perhaps more importantly, during post-game we heard a somber DRose take full responsibility for the Bulls defeat and for his own subpar, turnover prone play. Likewise, yesterday we heard a thoroughly dejected kevin Durant exclaim that he “let all of OKC down” with his poor late-game play. And this from two young. Cats who played HARD until the very end. But what do we hear from James when he plays badly in games in which he has clearly mentally checked out?

    “I spoil people with my play.”

    And what do we get when he wins and plays well? Last night’s playground antics.

    Listen, I’m not saying that these cats all gotta be humble and apologetic and accommodating, etc. – I can appreciate an ornery nigger, ok? Shid I’m an ornery nigger myself as most of you know, and so I know one when I see one. And Lebron ain’t one. That’s my word. He’s not ornery, he’s arrogant, and I’m sorry but I just don’t dig it. I don’t know that cat and so it ain’t personal, I just know what I see. So let me tell y’all one last thang and I’m done (done for the season because I could give a sh*t about a Mavs-Heat Final), James and Wade better get their chip in now because DRose is learning from this heartbreak, Durant is learning, and behind them are cats like John Wall and Blake Griffin, and can’t forget Chris Paul who is just waiting for a decent team somewhere, all of whom play with heart and not just dollar signs. I don’t think the Heat can win “7 or 8″ championships with all these young lions in the league. If Paul or Durant or Rose was their leader? Then yes. But not Lebron. He’s very athletic and skilled, of course, and he’s picked up some intangibles like playing effective defense. But his antics continue to show that he is not a leader.

    I know y’all love him here, and want him to win so he can give the middle finger to the press that has dogged him since The Decision. And don’t misunderstand me, I won’t be mad if he wins. I just wouldn’t care. On the other hand, if a knucka like Sprewell had ever won a chip??? Hot damn now THAT was an ornery knucka for whom the media had a GENIUNE hatred, not this contrived vitriol they spew at Lebron. And Spree really would’ve thrown up that middle finger and we all would’ve rejoiced, am I right? But whatever Lebron says if/when he gets his trophy I am certain will let y’all down. So be careful what you wish for…

  17. Mizzo says:

    GN: The Azinger tweet was disgusting but it shows…more than anything…that’s what some think and will forever think about you.

    Poet and the rest of the fam: I’ve said it many times here that I challenge LeBron whenever he’s in front of my mic and if any of you watched the migraine inducing video I linked, you’ll see he’s almost defiant answering my questions but a Jay-Z common vomit inducing question was answered with a smile of cheeeese?

    Huh? What? I swear for God…

    This being said, I hope the brotha matures enough to understand how this arrogance makes him look to those of us who care about the real kings who wore, wear and will wear his crown.

    I see it so much from bench to board room in sports it honestly doesn’t bother me…and that’s not cool.

    I would smack the shit out of my sons in public if I saw some of this stuff go down. Walk right up and Poppa Lahrge smack them like Bernie Mac in Head of State.

    There was a presser here in Philly after the Sixers got past the Heat…Anthony Gilbert and I sat front and center to ensure we got in our post game questions and dude looked me off after I asked a two pronged question of he and DWade. Now it was after the sweep nullifying loss and none of us like to lose anything, but it set a tone which reminded the press in attendance if he could treat me as such then they had no shot. The questions subsequently were timid and nothing was learned of what goes through the mind of LeBron James when he loses.

    DWade was straight low pro. Gave me and AXG good stuff…which permited me to balance out my thoughts and remain professional my damn self.

    In my eyes, he’s still a kid with a lot of room to grow still learning of himself and his immense talent so he gets a pass (for now) because he isn’t mine.

    Gaston and Mike? I would tie fire…

    ******************************

    In regards to the game last night, here’s some viewing numbers:

    Game #4 delivered 9,770,000 million total viewers and a 6.1 U.S. HH rating. Locally, the top five overnight metered markets for Game #4 of the ECF were Miami (25.1 HH Rtg), Chicago (22.6 HH Rtg), West Palm Beach (14.3 HH Rtg), Memphis (11.0 HH Rtg) and New Orleans (9.5 HH Rtg).

    Through four games of TNT’s exclusive coverage of the Eastern Conference Finals the network has averaged a 6.2 U.S. HH Rating (+32%), 10,414,000 Total Viewers (+38%) and 7,169,000 Households (+33%). TNT’s coverage of the series also has included two of the most-watched NBA games in cable television history with Game #1 delivering a record-setting 11.1 million total viewers and a 6.2 U.S. HH rating and Game #3 becoming the second most-watched NBA game in cable television history with nearly 10.9 million total viewers and a 6.4 U.S. HH rating.

    To date, TNT’s overall coverage of the NBA Playoffs continues to climb over the network’s coverage from a year ago, averaging a 3.4 U.S. HH Rating (+31%), 5,405,000 Total Viewers (+33%) and 3,913,000 Households (+30%).

    Overall, through 39 games, TNT’s 2011 NBA Playoffs coverage also has delivered strong double-digit growth across all key demos including:

    · A18-34 +41% (1,765,000 vs. 1,255,000)

    · A18-49 +38% (3,094,000 vs. 2,249,000)

    · A25-54 +33% (2,797,000 vs. 2,099,000)

    · M18-34 +39% (1,222,000 vs. 879,000)

    · M18-49 +39% (2,181,000 vs. 1,572,000)

    · M25-54 +34% (1,951,000 vs. 1,451,000)

  18. Okori Wadsworth says:

    That, last night, was LeBron and Bosh doing to the Bulls what the Magic and the Celtics did to Lebron’s Cavaliers.

    As far as LeBron’s mean-mugging: i find it amusing that he is as arrogant as he is now, in year one with the best team he’s been on. When he was in Cleveland he wasn’t this way. Was that because he had no reason to be, or because he figured such antics would get him knocked on his ass? Someone told him he had to be meaner to win, nastier. That the picture-snapping, dancing, happy-go-lucky LeBron wasn’t a winner. But because that isn’t him either he does it only when he’s comfortable, when he’s not threatened. He’s a bit like the neighborhood kid who got his ass whipped by the local bully for 7 years. And now, after beating the bully and all of his friends up, he struts around like the toughest kid on the block because no one can touch him.

    He did it to the Celtics when he knew they didn’t pose a threat to him & he’s doing the exact same thing to the Bulls now. He’s going to do it to Dallas.

  19. GrandNubian says:

    Maybe it’s just me…..but I don’t see a difference in Lebron’s theatrics this year from when he was in Cleveland.

    For example, I seem to remember in the 2008 playoffs vs. the Celtics, after he dunked on the entire Celtics starting five (j/k), he displayed that “mean grill” look, as the crowd went crazy. So, now some of you have a problem with the facial expressions Lebron makes? Are you serious? (lol)

    These guys are entertainers, not Saints (and even Saints have issues). They have the same character flaws that we have. When we stop looking at athletes as role models and/or “special” people and start looking at them for what they are (talented individuals who excel at their craft), maybe we can starting seeing them as we see ourselves and our peers. Michael Jordan always said “I go to the bathroom just like everyone else”. Lebron James would be correct if he said “Look, i’m arrogant just like everyone else.”

    Lebron James may be arrogant but he’s certainly not the only athlete who is.

  20. Mizzo says:

    Or cop, teacher, doctor, writer, trash man, mailman or paper boy…wait…do paper boys still exist?

  21. GrandNubian says:

    Nah, I don’t think so….

    The only paper boy i see nowadays is Chris Griffin (“Family Guy”). :-)

  22. Okori Wadsworth says:

    paper boys don’t exist.

  23. Origin says:

    Azinger saying that Lebron is a thug??? Cracka Please!!!!

    This bastard wouldn’t know a real thug if he was standing right next to one. All this vitriol for a so called arrogant black athlete. Yet we got golden boys in the NFL that have assaulted women in college and while in the league yet get a quarter of the hate Lebron gets.

    This is typical how folks like Azinger think. Its not about Lebron making faces or talking trash. Any black athlete or black person who they deem is arrogant or a self promotor they label as a thug. These fools were calling Lebron a ghetto thug during and after The Decision. This is only the tip of the ice burg they will be calling him a straight up “Bad/ Evil Nigger” by the end of the Finals and this time there won’t be any code words like what Azinger used.

    Whats amazing to me is that the MSM loves to cover athlete Tweets and such. From Tweets from Lebron, Choice and Reggie Bush. Yet somehow a golfer can call the best player in the league a thug on Twitter and not a peep from the MSM.

    Now on to the game…….as GN and I have been saying this team is made up like the old Bulls. After they beat the Celtics I knew that no one else would beat them. Like that MJ Bulls team their weakness is the PG and C. Unless somehow this Bulls team can get Dwight Howard (by tip off tomorrow) to go with Rose………this team is done.

    Bosh, Wade, Lebron choke the life out of offenses as did MJ, Pippen and Grant. Then they have Haslem, Chalmers and Anthony on the defensive end who are pretty good defensive players themselves.

    On Mike Brown………I would have never thought I would see the day when the Lakers and Celtics both would have a black coach at the same time. Also folks are selling coach Brown short, the man will coach defense and thats something the Lakers really need. Especially the way they let the Mavericks players stand outside the 3pt line and shoot uncontested 3s in the 2nd round. Plus the offense might be good he is bringing the euro genius coach Messina from Italy who will run the offense.

    As great a coach Phil was his greatest flaw….which I have been calling out the last 4 years, was that he would not feed the ball to Bynum and help develop him. Hopefully coach Brown won’t be that foolish. In saying all of this with the Lakers they aren’t winning a championship with the way the team is assembled now. Its very possible to go to the Finals but they don’t have enough youth at the wing to win it all. Unless this team gets Howard or Paul or Willaims, the best that coach Brown can be for the Lakers is Mike Dunleavy….which ain’t too bad. He did take an old Lakers team to the Finals which eventually lost to the Bulls.

    On Lebron’s mean mugging during the games……….I could care less (I ain’t rapper Homeboy Sandman). Whether its Kobe making all the under bite faces, Dirk making the get low Caveman dance (after hitting a big shot), Wade jumping on the scorers table after a big shot (in the regular season) talking about this my house I built it or Westbrook making mean mug faces…..all that shit means nothing to me. These dudes are playing a game they ain’t my coworkers or my Boss and I don’t know them from the crackhead on the street. Crazy cause when a dudes got a boring ass personality like Duncan or Rose fans bitch talking about they boring and won’t talk. When they are arrogant like Lebron and Kobe they bitch talking about they are arrogant…..unless they are their heros (Bird, MJ). If they don’t show emotion in the game then they don’t care. If they get hyped during a game then……….they don’t care and need to take the game serious. It all boils down to folks don’t know they want in an athlete. I been saying for years these kats need to act like robots whenever they talk to fans and the media (walk and talk slow like a freaking robot from a 50s movie).

    @ GN – You are right he is no different then he was before. Shit he was dancing the last 2 years and they were calling him a front runner. Folks said the same thing about Shaq when he was break dancing and rapping……they said he needed to be more serious. Then when he was throwing elbows at Sabonis and Mutumbo and cursing after every dunk. Folks were bitching cause he was cursing and a Bully on the court.

    You remember how in 1991 in I think game 1 of the ECFs MJ was all in Rodman’s, Dumar’s and Zeke’s faces. Talking about “I am Michael Jordan and you can’t stop me”. Rodman said after the game that MJ was trying to be hard even though he was quiet as a mouse the last 3 years and now we are older and he got the better team he trying to be tough.

  24. Origin says:

    Okori the only paper boy I knew was this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNk4-Up1aws

    @ Temple – The reason Westbrook gets the hate and Rose doesn’t is the same reason that kats like Mello get called out for no defense but Nash and Dirk get a free pass on it. There has to be a Chosen One just like there has to be a Villian. Yo Westbrook tag your it….”You are the new Black Villian in Sports”…..sorry homie got to keep feeding the beast.

    @ Mizzo – You a class act brotha…..for you to have issues with Lebron and Duncan when interviewing them (as stated before) and still stay neutral when speaking about them and conducting business shows the true professional that you are. A lot of kats in your field could learn a lot from you man……if only more conducted themselves like that.

  25. TheLastPoet says:

    I’m sorry, but everyone is not arrogant. And I don’t like arrogant doctors or paper boys either.

  26. Mizzo says:

    I think that video game flashed in all of our minds at the same time.

    Arrogant paper boys will bust you in the face…

    Not cool…forever ever not cool.

    O I’m just trying to advance the frame navigating everything on coast but when I feel these cats are so far behind it becomes so frustrating as if I’m speaking to little baby kids. #changethenarrative

  27. Temple3 says:

    GN:

    I don’t have a problem with the Mean Mug, per se. Nor, I think, do most people on this board and specifically those of us in this conversation.

    To be clear, I only have a problem with doing it when you’re up and comfy cozy. I think that’s a bitch ass move, period.

    I think LP feels the same way.

    Like LP, I do not dislike LBJ personally because I don’t know him. I’ve defended many things he’s done. I think he was duped by that magazine into posing like a Go-Go-rilla for Annie Leibovitz residual Nazi psycho-drama. He should have sued her ass. I think the reaction to the decision was just over the top. I think people have short memories about just how clutch AND unselfish he is on the court…and just how many ways he can dominate a game. I do not think he gets enough of the right kind of credit — the thoughtful kind that weighs his impact on games….rather than the hype-based, stat kind. I think all of that places him in an unfortunate “social” circumstance with respect to how he is sometimes viewed…

    But, this thing about on court decorum goes to the heart of who WE ARE as people, as competitors, as cats who can or cannot kick it after the game is over…after the career is over…after the lights are out.

    A guy who talks all game — like Reggie Miller or Larry Bird — is simply not looking at the score board to drive their behavior. They’re coming for YOU — and you know it. They are leading by example and making it easier for lesser lights to shine. There are certain guys who will let you have it — right off the bus. And some cats are silent assassins. Don’t be a Silent Sam when you’re losing, then turn into fucking William “Braveheart” Wallace when you get a lead.

    It’s just unseemly as all hell. And more to the point, LeBron reduced himself to the level of Taj “Bleepin’” Gibson who tried to Smack Talk Bosh, then went CRICKETS for the rest of the series because he got embarrassed on ONE PLAY. Seriously??

    Fuck all that “Anything Goes” bullshit. I like my standards high. And pass that….

  28. Temple3 says:

    Excuse the language peoples. A little over the top. I’m going fishing with the Thunder, Bulls and the Last Poet.

  29. Mizzo says:

    HAHAHAHA! I love you cats…

    The OKC/Dallas thread will be up in a bit. Since I didn’t see the second half it will be more of an opinion piece. My bad.

  30. Temple3 says:

    LOL @ LP — arrogant paper boys.

    “Whaddayu mean I missed your porch??? Git it yourself OLD MAN! You know I’m working on a new throwing motion — so you’re just gonna have to deal with it for awhile. WHAT?!?!?!? That’s right!!”

  31. kos says:

    GN – Agreed. LeBron is the same dude he was in Cleveland. It’s just that the press has somewhat turned on him. The networks still love him either way because he’s going to make them money.

    Origin – I think one reason that Westbrook gets more of the hate than Rose is that he wears his emotions openly. It can get you into some trouble if you don’t realize when the other team is trying to goad you into getting a tech or taking you out of your game, which seems to happen to him. He’s young, hopefully he’ll learn to temper them.

    TheLastPoet – LeBron, Bosh, and Wade are getting all of the credit for this series, but most it should go to the bench players. I don’t think most people thought coming into this series that Haslem could/would contribute much after missing most of the season. Miller didn’t produce like that in the first two series when given a chance. Chalmers has always got a raw deal in Miami in my opinion. He’s never rally gotten a chance to prove himself one way or another. Everyone knows he’s better than Bibby, but for some reason, there’s this belief that Bibby gives you a better chance to win among Miami’s braintrust.

    Okori – The Bulls and the Thunder are going through what most young teams go through. They’re getting their lunch taken from them this year, but eventually, they’ll either improve and get over that hump, or keep getting smacked down. Each looks like the old Cavs teams that LeBron was on at the end of games where star player dribbles for way too long at the top of the circle, then drives and takes a long jump shot and most likely misses.

    Mizzo – Thanks for not just asking the easy questions. There’s way too much of that in sports. It takes too much away from smart debate like on this site if every question we are asked has an easy answer.

    Mike Brown> I don’t like this hire. On the right team, he’d be a great hire. That team isn’t the Lakers. With the Lakers, he’s going to have more scrutiny in half a season (maybe not that much if they start slow) than his entire tenure with Cleveland. If he couldn’t keep LeBron in his corner even after he bent over backwards for him, then I can’t imagine that he’ll be able to get Kobe to follow along once things start going bad.

    From what I’ve read, Jimmy Buss wanted this. He wants to put his stamp on the franchise, and didn’t want a coach that had learned under Phil Jackson. He never consulted Kobe, or anyone else on the team for that matter. It was pretty telling that when asked about Brown’s hiring, all anyone got was: “No Comment”.

    I’d like to thank the Thunder, and possibly the Bulls for denying me something to watch this weekend.

  32. Origin says:

    @Kos – I agree on Westbrook that he gets a lot of flack because of how he wears his emotions on his sleeve. But I also believe that the media wants to find a scapegoat for why OKC was losing. Instead of being rational and understanding that they are a young team……..a scapegoat has been created. Right now Durant is the designated humble golden boy who isn’t like Lebron (you know the same way they pumped up Wade and Lebron after Kobe got in trouble) so they won’t turn on him until a few years down the line. So Westbrook has got to be the reason the team lost. Not Durant chucking 3s or Brooks getting out coached or OKC’s youth, nope its all Westbrook.

    Also as much as I love Durant he has got to work on his dribbling. I can’t count how many times this series where the dude dribbled the ball off his foot. If Durant can work on his handles he will be unstoppable because then all he will need to do is dribble to get to his sweet spot and pull up to shoot. Same with Westbrook, he needs to work on his handles and his passing in the offseason.

    These 5 games that OKC just played was the worst display of ball handling and passing I have seen since the Magic got beat in the Finals 4-1 against the Lakers 2 years ago.

    Saying all of that I am proud of those Kats……OKC is the first team to go this far in the playoffs with stars that were this young since when the Magic had Shaq and Penny go to the Finals in 1995.

    On Jim Buss you are correct that he is now running the team and is putting his stamp on it. I still think the Brown hire is fine, but this team needs youth more then anything. Also Bynum is Jim’s boy and the word is he won’t even trade him for Howard if Orlando gives him the opportunity to make that trade.

  33. GrandNubian says:

    I feel you T3….

    I agree that it would be a “Charles Smith move” to talk trash when you’re comfy with a lead. But I wouldn’t categorize LBJ as a dude who only talks smack when his team has the advantage. I’ve seen him in action too much to come to that conclusion.

    Now, I remember two instances involving two of the greatest ‘trash-talkers’ of all-time that one could interpret as either talking trash when his team gained the advantage or perhaps something triggered him to become a little over the top with his animation during the course of the game.

    Scenario #1 (Bulls vs. Knicks)

    In 1997 Jeff Van Gundy made a comment about Jordan being a “con man”. Van Gundy said he meant it as a compliment but MJ didn’t take it that way. Well, during that game, for a long time, neither team (Knicks or Bulls) could put the other team away, as it was a tight contest throughout. It wasn’t until 51 pts later, that Jordan made a shot that sealed the deal for the Bulls (88-87), which he walked over and started shouting at Van Gundy. Now mind you, he wasn’t saying anything to him during the game. But once the game was on ice, he chose did what he did.

    Scenario #2 (Pacers vs. Knicks)

    It was the 1995 NBA Playoffs between the Knicks and Pacers. Spike Lee is giving it to Miller on every possession. Now, i’m sure Miller is talking trash as well, but he’s just not as animated. However, Spike says something to Miller that ignites a fire in him. Miller goes on a tear, scoring 25 pts in the 4th QTR and the Knicks end up losing the game. Miller is ‘over the top’ in his theatrics and trash-talking. But, before his team ended up winning, he was a different guy.

    I brought up those scenarios only to attempt to make a point that maybe you’re reading too much into Lebron’s theatrics. Was Lebron a bit too “over-the-top” in Sunday’s game with his trash-talking? Perhaps but was it justified? I don’t know. I don’t know what was said or being said to him by the Bulls for him to have those reactions. IMHO, I think something was said to him by the Bulls for him to become more engaged in the moment and more animated. It happens all the time in the NBA.

  34. kos says:

    Westbrook has one of the best to learn from sitting on the bench, in Mo Cheeks. Folks forget, he never played point guard before he was drafted.

    Not only does Durant need to improve his ball handling, he needs to learn to get into position so that he can catch and shoot closer to the basket. He likes to start way too far away from the basket at the end of games.

    Really, Brooks should be the scapegoat in this series. It never seemed like he made the adjustments necessary at the end of games to pull it out. He can probably skate on being out coached in the playoffs one more time with the talent that he has, after that, the owner is going to be impatient.

    I never understood Lakers fans fascination with trying to get Howard. The only things that he has over Bynum is that he doesn’t get hurt & he is the better defender. He alone is not a panacea for what ails the Lakers. I always thought it would be better if they would try to swing a trade for Chris Paul. He’s just what the team needs. A quick point guard that could get Kobe, Pau (if he’s not trade bait for Paul), Bynum, and whoever else survives the offseason in LA, easier shots. Also, someone that quicker point guards aren’t going to be able to exploit all game.

  35. Temple3 says:

    GN:

    Those are two great examples. I remember the games. I don’t remember their respective reactions early in the game, but both Jordan and Miller had reputations for talking all the time. Reggie talked smacked to John Starks from tip to buzzer…and anyone else who got in his face…and he didn’t give a damn about Mike either. For the sake of argument, I have no problem with your points and think they’re excellent examples.

    Maybe LeBron is the same…I’m just having trouble conjuring up recollections of him getting in the face of other elite players when they were losing.

    I didn’t think he was over the top at the end…I thought he was under the bottom in the beginning. Perhaps he was just grinding — like everyone else — and pounding Chicago for 35. It might be that simple — it just doesn’t feel that way.

    I’m willing to be wrong about it.

  36. Mizzo says:

    Let’s shift our attention to Dirk in the most recent piece. Interested in all your thoughts family. Perspective is sorely needed when it comes to Dirk.

  37. Temple3 says:

    I guess Dirk just isn’t that appealing. :)

    Sup wit that?

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