Publicly talking about something that Heat fans had been discussing for months now, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on CNN's Piers Morgan Live on Monday and amongst other things talked about how Miami skipper Erik Spoelstra was outcoached by the Mavs Rick Carlisle. While I personally hate to admit something like that, it's hard to argue.
I'm not saying that Spo did a bad job, because he didn't. Carlisle just did a better job because his moves seemed to pay off. I'd say adjusting their offense by drawing the Heat defenders to the outside and then feeding the ball down low was the biggest adjustment, and one that Miami never fixed on their end. Adding J.J. Barea to the starting lineup and moving DeShawn Stevenson to a reserve role was probably the change that got the most attention, and Barea only got better as the series went by.
During the first 5 games of the series Spoelstra didn't make any moves, leaving a struggling Mike Bibby in the starting lineup and sharpshooting 3-point specialist James Jones on the bench. Games 6 saw him utilize Mario Chalmers as a starter but by then it was too little too late, as far as lineup changes go. It's hard to fault him for not wanting to mess with something that up until the Mavs series was working quite well, but not making any adjustments to the offensive or defensive styles is another story.
Cuban pretty much summed it up with this comment:
"I'll tell you the interesting thing, after Game 3 of the Miami series, our guys said, 'They aren't making any adjustments. We got 'em.' And so the confidence was through the roof."
Nothing that Cuban said really bothered me, which is surprising. In the past he is one guy who always seemed to say the wrong thing and was very good at getting under opposing teams skin. There was one comment though that did kind of make me raise an eyebrow, and I know for a fact that I wasn't the only Heat fan who noticed it:
"The playoffs run 57 days," he said. "For me, it was 56 days, 23 hours and lots of minutes of pure anxiety. I really didn't start to enjoy it until there were about 30 seconds left in the game . . . and it finally dawned on me that we had finally beaten the Evil Empire and all those doubts."
Really Mark...? The Heat is now the ‘Evil Empire' after one active offseason and no championship? Another very big Heat fan I think said it best during a discussion we had yesterday; he said "Cuban calling the Heat ‘the Evil Empire'...isn't that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black?" You know what though...if the Miami Heat turn out to win all the championships that the original ‘Evil Empire' (the loveable New York Yankees) has won during their recent run, people can call them whatever they want.