After two weeks of watching ESPN and ABC try to will the Heat to a championship, Mavericks fans were treated to a festival of Heat talk Sunday and Monday as the Mavs eliminated them, culminating with an impromptu Outside The Lines special Monday to analyze what went wrong for their Heat in the Finals. The focal point, though, was the game broadcast, and while Jeff Van Gundy received the brunt of Dallas-based ire, Mark Jackson found himself in the midst of tributes to the Heat in fourth quarter after fourth quarter, just as Dallas mounted winning runs.
My favorite line of the entire series came early in the fourth quarter of the clincher. It was classic Jackson, an unnecessary, dull-minded overgeneralization based on a with-the-percentages guess rather than any actual insight.
I’ve been around this game a long time and you can look at guys and tell when they’re ready to explode. And Dwyane Wade has a look like he’s ready to take over this basketball game.
Jackson began that declaration with the clock stopped at 10:20 and the game at 81-77. By the time he finished it, J.J. Barea was launching a three-pointer that would make the score 84-77.
On the next possession Wade dribbled the ball a few times at the top of the arc and passed to Eddie House who missed a three. Next time up the court while working around a Udonis Haslem screen, Wade fumbled the ball away to Jason Terry. Terry broke away and was fouled by Haslem.
After a timeout, LeBron James re-entered the game and passed to Mario Chalmers, who missed a three. Wade then brought the ball up the court and proceeded to dribble the ball off his foot and out of bounds.
Dirk missed a three, James missed the rim entirely on a drive-and-bank shot, and Barea hit a driving scoop with 8:12 remaining to make the score 89-77. Wade then missed a three with 8:00 remaining, and that was just about that. Wade didn’t score another point or collect another rebound or steal until the 3:30 mark – on which Wade hit a fade-away jumper and was not touched, but Jackson declared “that should be a and-one.” Wade wouldn’t score again or make another productive play.
When I watch Jackson I usually find myself wondering if he ever tires of being wrong, but after years of ESPN featuring his monotone nonsense on their top broadcast, the Warriors have bought in. I guess we’ll see if Jackson possesses a similar level of feel for games on the bench in Oakland.