* Confession: I never thought much of Rick Carlisle in Detroit or Indiana, but he flat-out embarrassed Eric Spoelstra in the coaching department in the Finals. The Mavericks won every 4th quarter in games 2-6. Inserting JJ Barea into the starting lineup worked out. We’ll get to LeBron’s struggles in a couple posts today, but between the Dallas zone and the the help defense on LeBron, the Mavericks did a great job keeping him out of the lane.
* Congrats, Jason Kidd. Hope things are going swimmingly with Porschla Coleman. It took him 17 years (and three different teams), but he finally got a title … with the team that originally drafted him in 1994. Does he retire a champion at 38?
* Congrats, DeShawn Stevenson. He’s one of the biggest characters in the league, has an ego significantly larger than his skill level, and he figured prominently (in the first half) of game six:
A few minutes after that pimp walk in the first half, the Heat’s Udonis Haslem “got back” at Stevenson.
* Congrats to Dirk. He started 1-for-12, but finished 9-for-27, and as usual, he was clutch when it mattered (10 points in the 4th quarter). After a LeBron jumper cut it to 92-84 with 6:33 left, Dirk scored to push the lead back to 10. Wade scored in traffic with 3:27 left to cut the lead to eight, but Dirk answered with a tough jumper. He was magnificent.
* If you’re re-adjusting your modern “All-time Power Forward Rankings” this morning, what to do with Dirk? I still think Tim Duncan is the benchmark, but does a title – and more specifically, Dirk’s averaging 26-10 in the Finals – put him ahead of Charles Barkley? Where does he rank compared to Kevin Garnett? What about Karl Malone? I definitely don’t think you can put Dirk ahead of Mailman or Barkley, but I think a case could be made for Dirk > KG.
* Remember when Mike Bibby agreed to give up $6.2 million to join the Heat for a shot at a title? I hope his wife is happy with that decision. Bibby, who doesn’t have long left in his career (he’s 33), was awful in the playoffs. He started every postseason game except last night’s game – he didn’t play one minute – and shot a pathetic 28% from the field and 25% from three. He had 17 turnovers and 23 assists.
* Remember Corey Brewer? He was dealt from Minnesota to New York in the Carmelo Anthony deal, but eventually was cut. Smart choice to sign with Dallas, right? The former Florida Gators’ star (two titles with them) didn’t play a minute in the Finals, but is still an NBA champion. With the Mavericks almost certain to let guys like Stevenson and Peja walk (and Barea might be too expensive to keep, considering Butler and Chandler will need new deals), Brewer likely makes the rotation next season.