June 02, 2006

Heat Eliminate Pistons in Game 6 Rout: Heat make first NBA Finals.

posted by joecab to basketball at 09:58 PM - 43 comments

Hey Shaq isn't getting any younger...kudos to the Heat...awesome game..

posted by rolandeblunt at 10:40 PM on June 02, 2006

Hey Shaq isn't getting any younger He sure is playing like he is. Given the fact that Wade was 'temporarily hospitalised' before this game, I'd quite say that the Heat, thanks to Shaq and White Chocolate, easily earned this series. So now, there are two major questions: 1) How do either the Suns or Mavs match up against D-Wade, Shaq circa 97, and the rest of their crew? 2) Whither the Pistons? They obviously can't bank on their (captial T) Team aspect any longer. What changes do they make in the off-season? I'll withhold comment until the Western Conference Finals are over.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:07 PM on June 02, 2006

Yeah, salt, those zero championships in Miami prove everything. And it's all because of Shaq. That Dwayne kid, Antoine whatshisname - those losers haven't done anything for the Heat. If you're going to shout, at least shout something intelligent and thoughtful.

posted by cybermac at 01:00 AM on June 03, 2006

Despite being a Laker fan, I think it's pretty cool that someone other than the Lakers, Spurs or Pistons will take it all this year (first time since '98). It was getting a tad repetitive. And isn't this the first time in history someone with as strong a start as the Pistons got failed to at least reach the Finals? PS - ignore the comment above in response to other comments that were better of deleted anyway. And if I have no comments above, ignore this stupid PS.

posted by cybermac at 01:10 AM on June 03, 2006

If you'd told me the heat would make it through the play-offs and into the finals, I'd have give you a thousand bucks. Home game in dallas, if all goes as it should :).

posted by puke & cry at 01:26 AM on June 03, 2006

Well, if all went as it should, we'd be looking forward to another Spurs-Pistons snoozer ;) Fortunately, nothing in the playoffs this year has gone according to plan.

posted by cybermac at 02:01 AM on June 03, 2006

I have distinct memories of drawing a flaming ball logo and sending it in to the 'give the heat a logo' contest, in '87 or so, before their first game. So I'm pretty psyched for this. But the utterly weird question I can't get out of my head: if the Mavs win, will this be the first championship series between two teams whose arenas are both sponsored by the same megacorp (in this case, American Airlines?) Yes, I'm weird, I admit it.

posted by tieguy at 04:46 AM on June 03, 2006

Does this put an end to silly playoff conspiracy theories? Nah, probably not.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:22 AM on June 03, 2006

I was a big critic of the Heat for the way they rolled in Pat Riley this season, but it's apparently helped them achieved the desired results. It's still a fact in the NBA, if Shaq is on the court and feeling good, he's close to unstoppable. Combined with Wade, who's completely outstanding, they will be a tough out.

posted by dyams at 07:07 AM on June 03, 2006

I was a big critic I admit it, I was too. When I heard the Heat had gone after Antoine Walker, Payton and Jason Williams, I thought they had taken a step backwards. Here they had a team that was just seconds from the finals and totally changed the chemistry. I thought it was reminiscent of the Laker teams a few years back with Malone, Payton, etc. Too many all stars. I also thought it was a mistake when Riles replaced Van Gundy. I was wrong. This Riley guy seems to know what he's doing. But can they stop Dallas or Pheonix from scoring 120 a night?

posted by Bill Lumbergh at 07:30 AM on June 03, 2006

TBH, of course it won't. what fun is basketball (or any sport, for that matter) without conspiracy theories?

posted by ksb122 at 07:39 AM on June 03, 2006

i still think the officiating stinks but i don't think i have ever liked NBA officiating. you know the old saying, though, conspiracy theories are like a$$holes........

posted by ksb122 at 07:49 AM on June 03, 2006

The Heat WON the series against the Pistons. I don't dislike many NBA teams, and I am afraid that the Pistons are going to blame someone for what happened. Flip will prolly get fired. Some of the bench players will get traded. We will see this offseason, HOWEVER, the Heat were playing above everyone's level. They deserved to win. Detroit didn't LOSE, the Heat WON. As for the Heat, with time for D'Wade to rest and get healthy, And SHaq has time to pump of the volume EVEN MORE. I don't see the Mavs or Suns winning. Both teams should bother the Heat at first, but that's it. Shaq has reproven himself as the most dominant center ever.

posted by Snikastyle at 10:07 AM on June 03, 2006

Shaq has reproven himself as the most dominant center ever. Bill Russell; Wilt Chamberlain; George Mikan; Hakeem Olajuwon; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; Moses Malone; Bob Lanier. And that's without really thinking about it. Shaq will likely go down as one of the all-time greats, yes, but THE all-time great? Don't think so. To some extent, his success is of the "right place at the right time" type. He played in an era where there were very few (if any) dominant centers. If, in the words of Captain Roger Murdock, Shaq had to "drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for forty-eight minutes a night," things would be a lot different.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:39 AM on June 03, 2006

C'mon Snika, The Heat played great and they deserved to win, but you gotta admit that Detroit missed a hell of a lot of open shots last night. My God, they shot 33% from the floor and it wasn't because they had people tight in their faces most of the time. They couldn't knock down open 10 footers, or even some of their layups!Offensively, the Heat were unstoppable. Defensively, Detroit gave them a lot of help. I'm not saying the Pistons should have won. I'm just saying that I doubt if the Heat are going to see their Finals opponents flop that badly, so they may need to kick the D up a notch. I hope they do, cuz with Detroit out, I hope Miami wins it all now.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:50 AM on June 03, 2006

TBH, You're right. Shaq's a force to be reckoned with, but I think the officials have added to his level of play. What I mean is that he plays center like a fullback. Basketball was never the non-contact sport we used to hear about, but it was a lot closer than it is today. If Shaq was tossed into a time machine and he played Bill Russell in one of the old time games, he'd either get schooled or he'd foul out in the first quarter. He's a bull in a China shop, but as long as the stripes allow it, who can blame him?

posted by ctal1999 at 12:00 PM on June 03, 2006

TBH you my friend did your homework. Good points, good follow ups and on the money. Kudos

posted by mustang71 at 12:11 PM on June 03, 2006

I predict that the Heat will win it all in spite of their opponent! You want a conspiracy theory... Here goes.... The NBA absolutely LOVES the compelling stories (Evidence David Robinson finally getting that elusive ring at the end of his career) not to mention the monetary showcasing of its current talent (Evidence, Lebron and the Cavs stretching the Pistons to seven games). Now, the story line that gives the aging Shaq another championship (As he predicted) not to mention the chance to showcase D-Wade (One of the true unselfish stars) is far too good a story to pass up. Have to agree with the HAND.... Wilt and Kareem would've eaten Shaq Daddy up and Bob Lanier would have "Schooled" him in the same manner as he did to Chocolate Thunder (Daryl Dawkins). And isn't this the first time in history someone with as strong a start as the Pistons got failed to at least reach the Finals? Nope!... Let's not forget the George Karl lead Seattle from a few years back. Perennial 60 game winners and essential "No Shows" in the playoffs!

posted by R_A_Mason at 12:26 PM on June 03, 2006

Well, I didn't have the pleasure of watching Wilt or REAL good Kareem, but I don't think that they widened the lane because of them. I don't think the whole officiating system had to completely re-evaluate itself because of one player. Shaq is so unique to any player in history I don't know how you can't say he is the most DOMINANT center ever. DOMINANT is different than BEST or HIGHEST SCORER. When was the last time Shaq wasn't in a conference finals at least. Also, I don't think that Detroit played their very best by any means... but there is no way that that is the only reason they lost. Playing their best ball, I don't believe they would have won. The Heat played the best ball they have played in two years. AND the Heat's Best beats the Piston's Best.

posted by Snikastyle at 01:26 PM on June 03, 2006

Ufez, I gotta like the look of your Mavs against the Heat....I'd say 5 or 6 games, IF they can get by Phoenix....which I think they do tonight. Who the hell on the Heat can guard anybody with quickness? Antoine Walker's gonna cry when he finds out how bad a series he's gonna have against the long and quick perimeter of Dallas.

posted by smithers at 01:38 PM on June 03, 2006

It is always nice when the powers that be on this site filter out what one says. I stated in the original post that the Pistons were never as great as their record, and that they had many shortcomings that were exposed in the playoffs. I also stated that the window of opportunity for this Pistons squad is now closed, and Dumars will have to start working his magic again to bring them back. I figure this post will also be rejected since it seems the 'keepers' of this site are big time Detroit fans and rarely let anything critical of the Detroit defensive thugs go through. Maybe this time they will have enough "bowls" to do so. As a Lakers fan, it is also REALLY pleasing that Shaq and Riley are leading the way in beating Detroit. Memories being what they are, they enjoy being in the finals, but they REALLY enjoy having beaten Detroit.

posted by joecab at 02:11 PM on June 03, 2006

Well, I didn't have the pleasure of watching Wilt or REAL good Kareem, but I don't think that they widened the lane because of them. I don't think the whole officiating system had to completely re-evaluate itself because of one player. George Mikan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain we so dominant, they forced rule changes to level it out. Mikan - original widening of the paint (from 6' to 12') and the 3-second rule. Abdul-Jabbar - they banned dunking in college basketball for a 3 year period that ended when he went to the pros. It was called the "Alcindor Rule". Chamberlain - further widening of the lane (from 12' to 16'), instituting offensive goaltending and revising rules governing inbounding the ball and shooting free throws (in high school, he'd stand behind the free throw line, toss the ball in the air, take two steps, jump, catch the ball, then jam it into the net). Reference #1 Reference #2 Reference #3 Reference #4

posted by grum@work at 02:37 PM on June 03, 2006

I figure this post will also be rejected since it seems the 'keepers' of this site are big time Detroit fans and rarely let anything critical of the Detroit defensive thugs go through. Nice try, but only blatantly offensive, inflamatory or unreadable comments get deleted. Stupid ones (like yours) get to stay.

posted by grum@work at 03:44 PM on June 03, 2006

Ah grum...yet another bitter Pissons fan...lol. It truly needs to be asked: is this the greatest choke of all time in the NBA?...Which other "guaranteed" team, one which its fans were stupidly saying should have had even greater representation (or was that over representation) at the All-Star game, has ever choked this badly?

posted by joecab at 04:02 PM on June 03, 2006

I stated in the original post that the Pistons were never as great as their record, and that they had many shortcomings that were exposed in the playoffs. I also stated that the window of opportunity for this Pistons squad is now closed None of which were supported by your link joecab. None of which were even mentioned in your link. Those comments are just your opinion, which is fine, but they go inside as a comment, not as part of the post. The post should be about the link.

posted by justgary at 04:07 PM on June 03, 2006

Actually, to answer the question of whether the Pistons had the best start/most wins not to make the finals, well, ESPN had the list up last night. Detroit's 64 wins were the second-most in NBA history for a team that didn't make the finals. No. 1 was the Celtics in 1972-73 with 68 wins. Also, San Antonio's 63 wins this year ranks third on that list. As for the finals, I think Miami has a great chance to knock off either Dallas or Phoenix if, and only if, Shaq continues to bring his A-game each night. If Shaq falls off there is nothing D-Wade can do to carry the team. It all rests on the combination of Wade and Shaq. Should be a great finals though, and interesting as well without the borrrrrrrrrring (and ridiculously arrogant) Pistons involved. All that talk about Detroit being one of the all-time great teams sure died down quickly after mid-season. I couldn't believe people were comparing them to the Bulls of the 90s, the Lakers and Celtics of the 80s, etc. What a joke that was. The Pistons are a very good team but certainly not in that class. By the way, grum@work, we're usually at odds on Sports Filter but I wanted to tell you that you did great work on the rule changes attributed to Mikan, Kareem (Alcindor) and Chamberlain.

posted by donnnnychris at 04:08 PM on June 03, 2006

I don't think it's a stretch to call Shaq one of the best centres of all-time. I think it's pretty much a fact. There was a recent study that llinked his play to the all-time greats and it proclaimed Shaq the best player in the history of the NBA. Just for example: He's the only player besides Wilt to lead the league in field goal percentage nine times, and five consecutive times. Only player in NBA history to average 20 and 10 for 13 years. Wilt, Kareem, and Dream all did it for 12. He has nine NBA Finals records. He has 12 NBA Playoff records. One of five guys to be selected to 13 NBA All-Star games. (no other centre can claim this). And most importantly: His career PER is second only to Jordan. And by a small margin (27.91 vs. 27.82). Wilt's is 26.16. Dream's is 23.59. Jabbar's 24.58. Tim Duncan's is 25.07. Moses Malone 22.46 (Bill Russell's can't be calculated - league didn't keep track of turnovers. Lanier's is under 20). I think the statistics bear him out as pretty much the best centre of all-time. He beats the other centres in most categories that matter.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:11 PM on June 03, 2006

WeedyMcSmokey, How can you have a PER for Wilt and not Russell? They played at the same time. Just curious.

posted by donnnnychris at 04:13 PM on June 03, 2006

According to basketball reference.com the PER for Russell is 18.9.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 04:27 PM on June 03, 2006

Ah grum...yet another bitter Pissons fan...lol. I have no idea where you get that idea from. I live in the broadcasting area of the Raptors, so those are pretty much the only games I could see on a regular basis. If there was any team I would cheer for, it would be them. However, I'm not much of a basketball fan, so I can't say I have a huge interest in the NBA finals. If I had to pick a team, it would be the Suns because of my fellow Canuck, Nash.

posted by grum@work at 05:58 PM on June 03, 2006

Shaq's a great player, but I really don't think it's fair to compare him to guys that played 25 or more years ago. Many of the rules are different, but even the ones that aren't are called much differently than they used to be. For example, one of Shaq's biggest scoring techniques is to get the ball at about 8 feet out with his back to the hoop. If the defender cuts him off and plants, Shaq simply dribbles back toward the hoop. He bumps the guy back with his butt, then he straightens up and leans back with his off shoulder pushing back the defender each time until he's 2-3 feet out. Then he raises the elbows and turns to the hoop where he can either baby hook or stuff it. If he manages to knock the defender off balance before that, he'll drive to the basket earlier and if there's any contact it's a foul on the defender because he wasn't planted any more. That's not Shaq's fault. If the officials are going to call the games that way, he'd be an idiot not to take advantage of it. I'm just saying that if he'd played that way in the 70's, he'd have fouled out almost every game. He's not the only player that benefits from the more physical game today, but he's so huge and strong that it gives him more advantage than anyone else in the league.

posted by ctal1999 at 06:40 PM on June 03, 2006

What real center do Shaq play against today, at least when Wilt, Jabbar, and Russell played the game there were other Centers playing them, not Power Forwards

posted by sprman92 at 07:46 PM on June 03, 2006

Shaq was a dominant center throughout his career, but it was partially due to the lack of comprable opponents. Shaq, no matter what, still has his rings- which will automatically put him on the list of best centers in history. I think that he's in the top 5 centers of all time. But, thats just my opinion.

posted by redsoxrgay at 08:43 PM on June 03, 2006

My top centers of all-time, in order, are: 1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 2. Bill Walton, 3. Wilt Chamberlain, 4. Shaquille O'Neal, 5. Bill Russell. I know you can debate who belongs in what spot forever (so we might as well not even go there) but overall, those are my top 5 and Shaq certainly belongs in that group. Just because some people might say he hasn't had the same competition (which is debatable), it doesn't exclude him from being in that group. Besides, take away Wilt and Russell and what you had in the 1960s was a bunch of 6-foot-9 guys playing center. Shaq has to deal with 7-footers not only at center but at power forward and in some cases, even at small forward. So to say the physical nature of the players in today's era doesn't measure up is just wrong.

posted by donnnnychris at 09:18 PM on June 03, 2006

I HATE DEALING WITH DUMBA** PEOPLE THAT DON'T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT SPORTS. Is it as bad as dealing with people who don't know how to properly use the caps-lock key?

posted by grum@work at 09:25 PM on June 03, 2006

Haha grum@work...I hate the cap-lock posters, soooooo annoying.

posted by donnnnychris at 09:27 PM on June 03, 2006

Well, there is no possible way to determine who the most DOMINANT center ever is or was.... but in my opinion it is Shaq. He has been incredibly successful with 3 different teams. He finds ways to be the best. He does have competition, however, because he is soooo much better than all of them, they are considerred not as good. Tim Duncan is 7'0, that's center height. Ben Wallace is 6'9 but is listed at center. (By the way, one of two 4-time denfensive players of the year) that's pretty good. Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutumbo will both be top 5 block leaders of all time. Early in Shaq's career was Hakeem and the Admiral. Those are ALL worthy opponents.

posted by Snikastyle at 09:39 PM on June 03, 2006

to list Bill Walton as the number 2 center of all time is just plain dumb. Walton had 2 great seasons 3 tops and that's it. U rate him over Wilt the most dominant player to "ever" play the game and Russell who changed the way defense was perceived and how important it is in order to win championships. Also i think u fail to realize two players named Walt Bellamy who should have been in the top 50 and Nate Thurmond who is in the top 50. Both of these guys played in the 60's along with Chamberlain and Russell and still put up numbers.As for Shaq he had not one championship when Robinson and Hakeem were dominant, not one. He put up numbers but was outplayed or his team was always outplayed. He is in the top 5 but not before Wilt Kareem Russell or Hakeem, Walton doesn't belong in the top 5 let alone top 50 his numbers don't back up his position. Get your facts straight when u talk about the supposed lack of competition that Wilt and Russell had, Shaq has had less competition at center than any of them ever had and possesses less skill than them all if the league did not allow him to run over people and he played quality centers his whole career then maybe u would have an arguement.

posted by sprman92 at 10:20 PM on June 03, 2006

There is no doubt in the world that Wilt was the greatest center ever. Despite what some may be saying, there were plenty of quality centers in the league through the 60's, and rightly so some knowledgeable contributors to this thread have pointed that out. The reality is that if blocked shots had been kept as a stat in the 60's, Wilt would have likely averaged a triple-double for yearly stats several times. Just a side note to his unique abilities: Who is the only center to ever lead the NBA in assists?...Wilt. The man could do it all, except free throws after they changed the rule. By the way, those that criticize Shaq for his offensive moves and contact he creates would do well to remember the man-child, Moses Malone. He was Shaq before Shaq and played much the same way. And while they are at it, look at the films of old games and check out the "lack of contact" in the great battles between Kareem and Wilt, Willis Reed and Lanier, Thurmond and Unseld, Russell and Wilt, etc. Center going at it and slamming into each other has been going on for over 40 years. It is not Shaq's fault that he is stronger than the others around him.

posted by joecab at 10:58 PM on June 03, 2006

Cabbie, you're right that there were some battles in the earlier games, but the fouls were called when things got rough. You could only do it in limited amounts unless you wanted to foul out. That's not the case for big men in the paint these days, and Shaq Daddy's as big as they come. The game has definitely gotten much more physical in the intervening decades. You're right, too, that Moses was sort of a prototype for the Diesel (but he still didn't get away with what's commonplace today). Still, like I said before, Shaq would be stupid to not take advantage of whatever the refs will give him. I don't blame him, I just said he's playing under very different conditions so it's hard to make a fair comparison.

posted by ctal1999 at 11:47 PM on June 03, 2006

sprman92, Nate Thurmond and Walt Bellamy were both very strong players but the majority of the centers in the league at that time were 6-foot-9 or shorter. Heck, even Russell was only 6-foot-9 (he's listed at 6-10 in his NBA.com but several sources list him an inch shorter than that). As for Walton, when I judge my centers I don't use statistics or longevity, but by the way they played at their peak. People that follow basketball and have played the game all say Walton is in the top 5 centers of all-time. He was the best passing center and when he was healthy he was one of the top scorers. Sure, if you want to base your argument on longevity and compilation of numbers he wouldn't stack up, but I would take a healthy Bill Walton over Shaq, Hakeem, the Admiral, Ewing or any other center today at their peak.

posted by donnnnychris at 12:52 AM on June 04, 2006

Is it as bad as dealing with people who don't know how to properly use the caps-lock key? I'm also not fond of people who censor themselves. What is the point? If you're going to swear, swear. But don't put out the half astericked bullshit as an attempt at censoring yourself for god knows whatever reason.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 07:31 PM on June 04, 2006

F*%k yeah!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:57 AM on June 05, 2006

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