FanDuel - WFBC

June 08, 2011

LeBron Flops, Mavs Even Series: Battling the Heat and a fever, Dirk Nowitzki scored the winning basket in the Dallas Mavericks 86-83 victory over the Miami Heat in game 4 of the NBA Finals. Nowitzki shot poorly but had 11 rebounds and Mavericks center Tyson Chandler had 16. LeBron James flopped in the first quarter and was held to just eight points, his first single-digit playoff scoring performance.

posted by rcade to basketball at 08:01 AM - 34 comments

I can't believe LeBron chose to flop in the waning seconds of the first quarter rather than try to beat Haywood around 10 feet from the basket. There wasn't even any contact for him to flop off of. He was fouled hard by air resistance.

posted by rcade at 09:01 AM on June 08

LJ's just playing patsy for David Stern. That way, the two can make for more drama in subsequent games, get better ratings, and baby Bron can get more praise when Stern calls for Dallas' demise in game 6 or 7.

Business as usual for the NBA!

posted by SooperJeenyus at 09:04 AM on June 08

All this LeBron talk, on and on, (most-likely) never ending, and Nowitzki is clearly the best player in the series. The guy has been dominant for years and deserves much more recognition than than he gets. Battling through illness in a huge game for the Mavs shows me what a real competitor pulls from within when his team needs him. He doesn't play his best but still works his ass off to contribute to the win.

posted by dyams at 09:14 AM on June 08

I like SVG's idea. It should be implemented in soccer, too. I was rather fustrated during the El Clasico matches with the diving and flopping resulting in screaming at the refs instead of playing. As that takes away from the beautiful game, seeing the same thing happen in basketball (and it has been for quite some time) also takes away from the game.

I wonder if the reliance of some player's D strategy to simply taking charging calls is part of the problem, where having to draw contact is needed to get the call.

posted by jmd82 at 09:58 AM on June 08

Dirk's the clear MVP of the series win or lose - 44 points in the 4th quarter this series so far. I thought LeBron was right in deferring offensively to Wade in game 3, but he was completely invisible in game 4 leading to visions of his disappearances in Cleveland.

Another thought .. Miami does a horrible job on offense. It's easy to rely on 1 on 1 offence with 3 of the top offensive players in the league, but they rarely ever run any offense to help get players open (the Bosh shot is the only example I can think of). I'm thinking Doc Rivers running that show would have the Heat 4-0, 4-0, 4-0, 4-0.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:25 AM on June 08

The last 5 minutes of that game were pretty ugly. The Mavs were missing wide open shots, the Heat were making lots of dumb mistakes. Not the best basketball I've ever seen. The last 30 seconds was dramatic at least. From the trajectory, I thought that Miller heave at the buzzer was somehow going to go in.

I can't believe LeBron chose to flop in the waning seconds of the first quarter rather than try to beat Haywood around 10 feet from the basket.

And it ended up being the most obvious looking flop I've seen in some time. I think Stevenson's overly aggressive defense put the idea in James', and the ref's, head. I was anticipating the whistle as soon as James went into his move. So annoying. I'm with Van Gundy, get someone to look at these plays and punish theatrics.

posted by tron7 at 10:31 AM on June 08

The Heat were flopping all over the place in the first half. I'm glad their antics didn't win them the game. As an aside, it's really annoying to watch basketball when the play gets stopped every 10 seconds for a foul call.

posted by insomnyuk at 10:34 AM on June 08

LeChoke is living up to his reputation. Actually I am not sure he is this bad in the playoffs or if the NBA's credibility should be called into question. I mean obviously the Heat have the talent, and in some ways they remind me (I don't believe I am going to say this) of the Lakers, (clears throat). Many times during Laker playoff runs, when they were clearly the best team, they would have games that appeared to be lost on purpose, only to later turn it on and look unbeatable with stifling defense and the ability to score at will. It appeared it was all about stretching series, building up ratings, creating drama and promoting the league.

As much as I hate Miami and want them to loose, I keep getting this Laker style deja vu, like at some point they are going to want to win and then turn the switch and look unbeatable, scoring big for themselves and the NBA.

All that said, I have been suckered in and am enjoying the series and the drama. I hope the Mavs send these guys off without a title. As for Lebron, it appears my thoughts about him are right on. He isn't THE GUY. He is a great player, he is satisfied with his role on D. Wade's team, but on the Heat Wade is the guy. I just don't think Lebron was ever comfortable being relied on the way Jordan, Kobe, Magic, Wade, Bird, Nowitzki, and others are or were. It explains why when in Cleveland he was always needing more help. Even when the team was the best record wise in the NBA, when it comes time to really be the guy, I am not sure he even wants the ball.

posted by Atheist at 11:51 AM on June 08

It explains why when in Cleveland he was always needing more help.

It explains why he's now in Miami leaning on Dwayne Wade, a player who has proven he can deliver when the "heat" is on. And this isn't to say LeBron can't/won't still have a game in the series where he puts up a shitload of points. Consistency during crunch time is the problem.

posted by dyams at 11:56 AM on June 08

Holy cow, that flop was a joke (youtube)! That's embarassing... I suppose someone will dig up footage to prove me wrong, but generally speaking "Superstars don't flop". Mostly because they probably already get every close call in their favor anyway.

The Heat were flopping all over the place in the first half. I'm glad their antics didn't win them the game.
The one I was thinking of in the last Finals game thread, when I called the refs basically corrupt, was when Pierce got a T/ejected over a flop by Wade, and yet Wade later in that game all but steamrolled someone without even a whistle. I think it was Game 2. I used to hate watching the Spurs for a similar reason, as good as they were, just because of Manu Ginobli's flopping.

posted by hincandenza at 12:55 PM on June 08

The last 5 minutes of that game were pretty ugly.

The Mavs defense was great over that stretch.

If I was a ref and I fell for a flop like the one LeBron did, he'd have to lose a limb on the court for me to call another foul committed against him for the rest of the Finals.

posted by rcade at 01:17 PM on June 08

I don't think Nowitzki's the "clear MVP." He and Wade both deserve that honor and the one who leads his team to two more wins will deserve it.

posted by rcade at 01:27 PM on June 08

I suppose someone will dig up footage to prove me wrong, but generally speaking "Superstars don't flop". Mostly because they probably already get every close call in their favor anyway.

Wade is a monster flopper as well. Here's some acting in Game 3. There are multiple YouTube videos of Wade's BS actions.

Bosh is a flopper as well (he actually gets nicked on this play, but the head snapping back and the slightly delayed response are priceless). Must be an organizational imperative.

Van Gundy has been on this horse for a while.

posted by holden at 01:37 PM on June 08

LeBron had gone 434 NBA games without being held under 10 points -- a streak that dated back to Jan. 5, 2007.

posted by rcade at 01:42 PM on June 08

The last 5 minutes of that game were pretty ugly.

I turned it to the game at that point and thought the same thing. Just one missed open shot after another. Amazed they pulled it off.

And the flop by Lebron, wow.

posted by justgary at 01:46 PM on June 08

LeChoke is living up to his reputation. Actually I am not sure he is this bad in the playoffs or if the NBA's credibility should be called into question. I mean obviously the Heat have the talent, and in some ways they remind me (I don't believe I am going to say this) of the Lakers, (clears throat). Many times during Laker playoff runs, when they were clearly the best team, they would have games that appeared to be lost on purpose, only to later turn it on and look unbeatable with stifling defense and the ability to score at will. It appeared it was all about stretching series, building up ratings, creating drama and promoting the league.

NBA officiating is incredibly suspect and I have no problem imagining scenarios that involve David Stern pulling strings behind the scenes by choosing specific referees. However do you really think there is corruption in the ranks of players and coaches? I have a hard time believing that scenario. The NBA isn't the WWF yet.

posted by jeremias at 02:00 PM on June 08

To answer your question jeremias, no I don't think it is a wide spread conspiracy between players and coaches. My tendency is to believe it is all in the officiating and league management. I also don't believe LeChoke, would destroy his own image by taking all the blame and allowing Wade to score like an all star while he deliberately does absolutely nothing for the 4th quarter of every game in the series. LeChoke has only scored 9 fourth quarter points in this entire series. Compared to 44 for Nowitzki. Just saying can anybody with his skills be that bad at closing, without trying on purpose? Well I would say no except this is his M.O. and why I will relish it if the Heat do not win.

What exactly will be the excuse. The excuse in Cleveland was there was no help. Now my guess is there is too much help. Of course like I said, I saw this kind of thing with the Lakers for years. In the case of the Lakers they typically at some point get serious and then win it all. Not this year and even until the last game of their series with Dallas, I just kept expecting them to suddenly and miraculously come alive and blow out the Mavs and it did not happen. Now I get the same feeling while watching the Heat, while at the same time trying to convince myself this isn't all about the drama, ratings, what is best for the league, and the Mavs really can beat these guys.

posted by Atheist at 02:33 PM on June 08

I turned it to the game at that point and thought the same thing. Just one missed open shot after another.

The game was played better up to then. You saw Nowitzki when he was completely out of gas due to his fever but they couldn't keep him off the floor. It wasn't Jordan's flu game, but it was still an epic demonstration of will.

posted by rcade at 02:41 PM on June 08

The Mavs defense was great over that stretch.

Agreed. Saved that zone until the 4th and didn't give the Heat time to solve it. The Heat's defense on the other hand was giving up all kinds of open looks but the Mavs, knowing it would be good for the league and ratings to have a close game, just refused to sink them.

posted by tron7 at 02:57 PM on June 08

Wade is a monster flopper as well. Here's some acting in Game 3. There are multiple YouTube videos of Wade's BS actions.
I actually mentioned Wade immediately afterward as one of the Heat floppers.


I wouldn't consider them superstars, I guess not in the way I meant- perhaps I really should have said "Legends don't flop" (now I'm sure you'll dig up footage of Magic, Bird, or Jordan flopping, or Wilt, or Russell... okay, I'll give you Karl Malone as the exception that proves the rule...).

posted by hincandenza at 03:29 PM on June 08

The game was played better up to then. You saw Nowitzki when he was completely out of gas due to his fever but they couldn't keep him off the floor. It wasn't Jordan's flu game, but it was still an epic demonstration of will.

Yeah, I realize that. It was just frustration after finding dallas in the lead but unable to hit anything once I turned to it.

NBA officiating is incredibly suspect and I have no problem imagining scenarios that involve David Stern pulling strings behind the scenes by choosing specific referees. However do you really think there is corruption in the ranks of players and coaches? I have a hard time believing that scenario. The NBA isn't the WWF yet.

Atheist was rambling on with that same nonsense during the lakers series.

I have an uncle that does the same thing. For years he's preached to 'follow the money'. The fact that 99.99 percent of the time nothing looks fishy doesn't change him from preaching that view, and the one time something does look strange he's all 'see! I told you to follow the money!'.

You can't reason with conspiracy theorist. Best to ignore them.

posted by justgary at 03:38 PM on June 08

justgary - it is one thing to be a conspiracy theorist, and another to suspect stuff but let's not conveniently forget that an NBA official has confessed to this in the past. I clearly admitted being wrong with regard to the Laker demise, and although I have suspicions, I am watching this series as if it is on the up and up. Nothing however that I have ever heard can explain why excellent and talented teams suddenly seem to allow inferior teams to stay close, or why the officiating seems to lean toward keeping many series alive longer than the talent would suggest they go.

I just can never forget the overall situation of the league and how much money is at stake for all involved. Is it a conspiracy? I don't know, but there seems to be a lot of people that think some of this is suspect. I have never claimed the outcome is fixed, I just suspect the officiating is geared to help ensure the revenue is maximized.

Oh and yes if this just the NBA game playing then I would suspect that now that a Miami win would happen in front of the home town crowd, for the standpoint of the players there is no reason for the Heat not to now dominate the Mavs and win two straight. Or the officials will make it very difficult for the Heat in the next game, then the Heat win two straight, win the title at home in a seven game, dramatic, series that is a highly rated, prime time weekend event. In any case now it is a legitimate best of 3 series, which I expect but will hate the fact that the Heat are probably good enough to win easily now.

For those who think the NBA is pure as the driven snow, when the seenario plays out, there will be a perfect explanation why all of a sudden the Heat gel as a team and look very impressive as they wrap up the series.

posted by Atheist at 03:48 PM on June 08

Re "the flop": almost all players over-react to a foul (I've seen Dirk do it in the past) I suppose to make sure that the ref sees the foul. However, the only other time I remember seeing a player "draw a foul" without contact was Wade back in the 2006 finals. But back then, Wade did not need to flop; the refs were just going to call the foul if you were in his comfort zone. Yeh, sour grapes.

I agree that if I were a ref, saw replay and how LeBron suckered me, I would be hesitant to call any foul committed against him.

posted by graymatters at 03:58 PM on June 08

Does anything good ever come from conspiracy talk about the NBA? If I believed the sport was fixed I would stop watching. I wouldn't keep watching and complain repeatedly about how it's fixed.

Also, what do you say if you're convinced the sport is fixed and your favorite team wins the championship?

posted by rcade at 03:58 PM on June 08

Again rcade, I never said the game was fixed. Skewed to maximize entertainment value, drama and revenue possibly. I do believe the best team does win. I hate the Heat but do believe they are the better team and that the pressure is not to win but to win an exciting series that goes at least 6 or 7 games for the benefit of all involved.

If the Mavs win, it lessens the theory as they appear to be barely hanging in there against the Heat, it is the officials and to some extent the Heat who control the outcome. I never thought the league cared if the Lakers won or the Celtics won, I just felt that by calling non fouls against the better team you could handicap them enough to stretch a series that could end in a sweep or, make games much closer. Do you really think if the Heat had continued to crush the Mavs in game two, ratings for the remainder of the series would have not fallen substantially, and in turn revenue?

I hope I am way off base here, but really take a good look at that game 2 collapse by the Heat and just point out one part of it where the Heat looked like they wanted to win that game. It was as if they intentionally made sure Wade the games top scorer at that time, did not touch the ball for 7 minutes. Why? Maybe they wanted to win at home, maybe they just suck in the fourth quarter. Maybe they all of a sudden learn how to finish.

In the NFL they keep it exciting with parity, in the NBA they do it with invisible fouls, or how flagrant or not a foul needs to be, depending on the situation since you can call a foul on every play if you wish.

My father was a very successful professional gambler, who I use to argue with as he was the one who felt is was all rigged through officiating to ensure extended series'. It wasn't until a referee was indicted and confessed to the fact, that I began to believe him. My old man use to say the minute you forget that this is a business, an entertainment business no less, your days of successful gambling are over.

As I watch this series, I keep hearing one thing from every analyst and that is about the absence of Lebron at times, or how the Heat are colapsing, and I want to believe them. Not once have I ever heard, even in what is now a tied series, that the Mavs are a better or even a remotely equal team. This is all predicated on the notion that the Heat are superior and it is their series to loose.

posted by Atheist at 04:13 PM on June 08

I miss Mark Cuban.

posted by geekyguy at 04:20 PM on June 08

"You can't reason with conspiracy theorist. Best to ignore them."

Well I also know that if someone is a NBA lover, even when a top official is indicted and confesses to gambling, influencing the outcome of games, and conspiracy, the evidence will also be ignored by those who refuse to accept it.

I am a basketball fan. Love NCAA basketball. The NBA, not so much for all the reasons stated above.

"If I believed the sport was fixed I would stop watching. I wouldn't keep watching and complain repeatedly about how it's fixed. "
Well I again I did not say fixed, I said skewed for revenue. The skills are real, the games are exciting, and the WWE knows people want to see entertaining not necessarily real.

posted by Atheist at 04:31 PM on June 08

I don't know, but there seems to be a lot of people that think some of this is suspect.

A lot of people thought Barack Obama was a secret muslim scam artist. That doesn't make it a valid concern.

I have never claimed the outcome is fixed, I just suspect the officiating is geared to help ensure the revenue is maximized.

You can't referee Lebron to 8 points and you certainly can't referee apathy, which is exactly what Lebron was last night; apathetic.

posted by dfleming at 05:04 PM on June 08

Nothing however that I have ever heard can explain why excellent and talented teams suddenly seem to allow inferior teams to stay close,

Maybe your not a very good judge of talent. Seems likelier than any of the other theories you're spinning.

posted by tron7 at 05:39 PM on June 08

"A lot of people thought Barack Obama was a secret muslim scam artist. That doesn't make it a valid concern. "

What does that have to do with this? A prominent NBA official was convicted and confessed to playing games. I think that lends some degree of credibity to the discussion. Where as your insinuation that a lot of people thought Obama was a secret muslim scam artist, never had any credible basis. If so it would have been a valid concern.


"You can't referee Lebron to 8 points and you certainly can't referee apathy, which is exactly what Lebron was last night; apathetic. "

I agree you can't referee Lebron to only 8 points. Of course if Lebron felt nothing he did was going to change a predestined outcome, that would in fact be a better explanation for his apathy then, I made the decision on national TV, bragged about winning multiple championships, destroyed my fan base, an now I just don't care about winning this game, as I would prefer to look like an ass is. If you ask me, he either is a major choker, or his apathy does more to support the conspiracy theory than it does to dispel it.

I am opting for the first scenario and that is that he sucks in the big moments, as in truth I prefer to be wrong about this issue. That still does not prevent me from contemplating it as plausible.

posted by Atheist at 05:49 PM on June 08

A prominent NBA official was convicted and confessed to playing games.

Yes, this stuff can happy Atheist. No one can claim otherwise. However, this is the second series in a row where you've brought this into a thread.

We get it, you're highly suspicious about this. Great. But please don't bring it into every thread where a weaker team (in your opinion) beats a stronger team (in your opinion) unless there's actual proof or talk of such a thing. It's just noise.

If you'd rather talk about conspiracy theories than the actual game, you would love talk radio.

posted by justgary at 06:18 PM on June 08

Justgary I did not bring this up someone else did in this thread.
Also this is not about a weaker team beating a stronger team. This is about the strange circumstance where a very talented stronger team seems to at time become apathetic or just lay down and stop playing basketball in a way that invites suspicion. That is all.

Last thing I will say is, I hope I am wrong, and there are serious flaws in the Miami Heats game and character, and the Mavs beat the crap out of them. Somehow I just get the feeling they can and will control it at some point.

posted by Atheist at 06:27 PM on June 08

This is about the strange circumstance where a very talented stronger team seems to at time become apathetic or just lay down and stop playing basketball in a way that invites suspicion.

Vancouver lost 8-1 in game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals on Monday. San Francisco beat Texas in game 2 of last year's World Series 9-0. Sometimes a team just doesn't show up and play well; anyone who's played competitive sports has gone through it. It's weird, but it's not a conspiracy, unless you go looking for one.

posted by dfleming at 09:29 PM on June 08

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