Last year the Dallas Mavericks were partying in South Beach and having a parade in Dallas to celebrate their NBA Championship, but this year they don’t even look the same team.
Now the Mavs season is done without winning a playoff game. They were swept in the first round by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In game 4 the Thunder came back from a 13 point deficit with less than 10 minutes left. Leaving the Mavs season shot and many wondering what happened to last year’s Champions?
Many will speculate that the NBA lockout led to a new collective bargaining agreement that had different rules that now affects how Owner Mark Cuban can put together a new roster and having to let go of some very big and key pieces like Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson, J.J. Barea and Carson Butler were let go last year.
The loss on Saturday not only ended the Mavs season and Championship reign but it also might end jobs Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are among six free agent players this year and even Coach Rick Carlise’s four year contract is up as well. But General Manger Donnie Nelson has said that Carlise is not going anywhere.
“He likes us, we like him. … Rick’s not going anywhere,” Nelson said, without elaborating on the status of a deal if any.
Whether or not these players stay or not they are looking to the future and one player is particular is free agent Deron Williams from the New Jersey Nets. Now Cuban is now forced to look ahead at next year, “I wasn’t looking ahead at all,” he said. “It’s, here’s the rules we have. Given the rules we have, what’s the best way for us to build a team this year without destroying our future? Not, we’re going to build next year.”
Knicks Get Knocked
Showing that without Jeremy Lin the New York Knicks are back to losing. The Knicks had lost 13 consecutive postseason games before winning Game 4 and now hold the record for the most losses in the postseason. They also have tied the 12 straight losses set by the Memphis Grizzlies from 2004-06. Their losing streak covered 11 years.
The Knicks had not won a postseason game since April 29th, 2001 in game 3 of a best of 5 series. But they were then swept by the New Jersey Nets when they came back to the playoffs in 2004. The Knicks didn’t make it back to the postseason until last year when they lost in four straight to Boston to extend their losing streak to 10 before falling into a 3-0 hole in this series. But the Knicks swung back Sunday and beat the Heat 89-87 with Carmelo Anthony scoring 41 points and Amare Stoudmire had 20 points and 10 rebounds to snap back from the not so great record they hold.
Bulls Get Bashed
Chicago Bulls Joakim Noah is now sitting out game 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers because of a sprained left ankle, Omer Asik will start in Noah’s place.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said that, “not good enough to go” and that he is being listed as day to day. Noah was injured in their game 3 loss after he stepped on Andre Iguodalas’s foot midway through the 3rd quarter. He came back in the 4th but struggled with running up and down the court, he eventually left the game for good. Noah was at the game but was obviously on the bench wearing a boot and street clothes.
With Noah out the Bulls are now without 2/3 of their preferred starting lineup. The Bulls are being pushed to the brink by Philly. And it doesn’t seem that they will the series and there season will be over. Philadelphia holds a 2-1 series lead and they play again May 8th.
Other News and Notables
- Caron Butler broke his hand in game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies Saturday night. That broken hand should have kept him out of the game for at least 6 weeks. While many of us and NBA players would have taken the sitting option Butler isn’t like the rest of us mere mortals and is not going to let something as small as a broken hand stop him from playing. Butler was determined to not miss his second straight playoff series. He missed all of the Dallas Mavericks postseason games last year because of knee surgery. Something as “small” as a broken fifth metacarpal in his non shooting left hand was not enough to keep him from playing. He only scored 4 points, but doing anything with one hand especially basketball those 4 points are amazing and were enough to inspire his team to win. The Clippers went on to beat the Grizzlies 87-86 and play again May 7th.
- The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery will be held at the Disney/ABC’s Times Square Studios in New York on Wednesday May 30, and will be televised on ESPN. This year will be the ninth time in the event’s 28 year history that it has been held in New York City. The first lottery was held on May 12, 1985 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, but since 1994 the event has been held at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Secaucus, N.J. but the league’s facilities in New Jersey no longer have a television studio.
- You can now reefer to Shaquille O’Neil as Dr. Shaq. Yes that’s right Shaq now has a doctoral degree in education from Barry University with 1,100 other students during their commencement ceremonies Saturday. O’Neal earned a cumulative GPA of 3.813 while completing 54 credit hours at Barry. He earned his degree mostly through online courses and video conferencing over the last four years. O’Neal’s doctoral capstone project explored how CEOs and business leaders use humor in the workplace.