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Old 06-20-2006, 11:30 AM   #1326
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Originally Posted by Maverick_7
a lot of people hate cuban. I attribute that to the fact that people are fans of other teams. Cuban has done a TON to revitalize the game and if he was your owner, you know you'd love him too. Theres NO other owner like him, and being part of the new generation (sorry baby boomers) I think its great.
Maybe he's revitalized the game in Dallas, because Texans are front running pukes by nature. I would disassociate myself from any team he purchased, and Dallas fans would, too, if they had any class.
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:37 AM   #1327
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The Mavs whining reminds me of the Broncos after the game in KC.
I don't remember anyone from the Broncos making claims about the fix being in and the league being rigged. That type of loser talk is perfect for a team that you're a frontrunning "fan" of.
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Old 06-20-2006, 11:38 AM   #1328
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Originally Posted by Nuggets4
I'm predicting a blowout tonight. I have no idea who will win, but if the Mavs come out pissed off and pumped up, they'll roll over Miami. If they come out pissed off and sulking, it's over.
Just remember, if the Mavs don't win it's because the game is rigged because the league wants to sell a lot of Dwayne Wade jerseys. You know, because they're having such a hard time selling those things as it is.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:00 PM   #1329
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Maybe he's revitalized the game in Dallas, because Texans are front running pukes by nature. I would disassociate myself from any team he purchased, and Dallas fans would, too, if they had any class.
i smell jealousy.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:25 PM   #1330
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Originally Posted by Maverick_7
I dont think its whining. According to that article the Heat did well by 1) shaq not doing a post game interview [fined for $10k], and 2) Riley stating that they just need to play better.

So, the heat either refused to talk or took the political stance by saying the "right thing." I understand that some of it on the mavs side might be considered whining, but at the same time I applaud them for standing up for whats going on. a lot of people hate cuban. I attribute that to the fact that people are fans of other teams. Cuban has done a TON to revitalize the game and if he was your owner, you know you'd love him too. Theres NO other owner like him, and being part of the new generation (sorry baby boomers) I think its great.

Oh look, another delusional fan who thinks the Mavs are getting the short end of the stick.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:38 PM   #1331
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From the Sports Guy's page 2 column...


Today at 11:36 AM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Bill Simmons
Page 2



Forget about who's winning the championship. I'm starting to feel like the future of the NBA is at stake.

We just spent the past two months raving about the "New And Improved" NBA -- end-to-end action, loads of points, dramatic endings, a new generation of superstars coming into their own, coaches and owners willing to think outside the box. And Dallas personified everything that was happening. The Mavericks could play small, they could play big, they could play fast, they could play slow ... talking about them almost made me feel like Rollergirl describing Dirk Diggler. Their offense revolved around a 7-foot German who created a new form of post-up offense, setting up shop at the foul line and destroying defenders in a variety of ways. They had an answer for everything. That was the best thing about the Mavs -- their unpredictability. You never knew what to expect with them.

Unfortunately, they still had to get through Miami -- an old-school, MJ Era-type team with one superstar (Wade), another All-Star (Shaq), some overpaid pieces that didn't quite fit and a famous coach. Everything about them is predictable -- one guy creates every shot in crunch time, everyone else stands around and watches him, and every once in awhile those guys get to shoot an open jumper or finish a nice dish. This recipe would be boring if it weren't for Wade, a dynamic talent and the most consistent crunch-time scorer since Jordan. But that's the problem: In between Jordan and Wade, we had to watch all the wannabes pretending to be as good as them. And they weren't. Not even close.


Jesse D. Garrabant/Getty Images
If Miami wins the title, the new NBA slogan may be: "Free throws! They're FAN-tastic!"

Here's what happens if Miami wins the title: New Jersey will say to themselves, "Hey, maybe this could happen to us with Vince Carter"; Washington will say the same about Arenas; Boston with Pierce; G-State with Richardson; the Lakers with Kobe; New Team X with Iverson. And so on and so on. But that's just the thing ... we went through this last decade. There was only one MJ; the formula couldn't be replicated. Same with Dwyane Wade; only LeBron can match him. And everyone else will fail trying, which means we can look forward to another decade of perimeter scorers going 11 for 32 in big games, teammates standing around while stars dribble at the top of the key waiting to challenge two defenders at once, and refs deciding every big game (like in Game 5) by how they interpret contact when the same guy is recklessly driving to the basket over and over again. Does any of this sound fun to you? I didn't think so.

As much as I enjoy watching Wade, a Heat title would erase all the progress of this spring. The Heat don't play well together offensively, they don't bring the best out of one another ... they uneasily co-exist for the sake of a larger purpose (an elusive championship). Just watch some of their guys during the average game. Does Shaq ever seem happy? Walker? Payton? Posey? It's a 1990s team playing in a different decade, only Wade is so freaking good, they're getting away with it and, hell, they might even win a championship.

As a basketball fan, I think this would be terrible. A tragedy, even. Nothing against Wade -- after all, it isn't his fault his team sucks and he has to play this way -- but seeing an individual triumph over a team YET AGAIN would erase every positive outcome from the 2005-06 season. Basically, the team with LeBron or Wade will win the next 10-12 titles, and it will come down to which guy made more 20-footers with two guys on him and which guy got the most cheap calls from the most spineless referees. That's not basketball, it's a star system. When my wife was asking why I was so ticked off after Game 5, it wasn't because I had money on the game (I didn't), or because I liked one team more than the other (I don't). If Miami wins, we may as well go back to box haircuts again, because it's going to be 1991 all over again -- the "New and Improved" NBA will have been defeated, and the Old-School NBA will reign supreme.

If you enjoyed the Spurs-Mavs and Suns-Mavs series this year, just root for Dallas these last two games. Trust me. It's for the best.

ome other scattered thoughts as we head into Game 6 of the WWE, er, the NBA Finals ...


(continued below)
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:39 PM   #1332
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• Say what you want about Pat Riley pulling an O.J. on Stan Van Gundy (and I have), but you can see why he did it. They never played defense under Van Gundy like they did during these past three games; the overall urgency was never there. Riley also learned a couple of tricks during his Knicks days about evening the odds with an out-manned team -- subtle ways to disrupt the flow of a game, whether it's timely timeouts, constant defensive changes, offense/defense subs, the "no easy layups" rule or whatever. He "uglies" the game up (for lack of a better word). That's why you rarely see the '94-95 Knicks or any of those Mourning/Hardaway Miami teams on ESPN Classic. The games just weren't that fun to watch.
More importantly, Van Gundy never would have had the scrotal fortitude to make offensive/defensive subs with Shaq in the final few minutes of any close game, and Shaq never would have allowed it to happen. At this point of his career, Shaq is like Pedro Martinez with the Mets -- you can get 100 pitches out of him, his stats look great, he's invaluable from a chemistry/confidence standpoint and he's rarely around for the last few outs. Riley realized it last year, Van Gundy never did, and that's the single biggest reason why they're better off with Riley.

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"Stan? No, I don't know where Stan is these days."
(On a scale of 1 to 10, how bitter is Van Gundy right now? A 38? Remember, they probably would have won LAST year if Wade didn't get hurt in the Detroit series. If you were Van Gundy, wouldn't you at least start an "I hate Riley" blog under an assumed name? And imagine if Miami wins the whole thing? Will Van Gundy crash the trophy presentation like Jack Ruby? Can't wait to see how this plays out.)

• Put me in the "Avery Johnson has been too wound up" camp. As well as the "Nowitzki looks like he's hit the wall," "Maybe ABC should stop reminding everyone in Milwaukee that they could have had Dirk Nowitzki, it's becoming cruel" and "Maybe Mark Cuban shouldn't have gone on 'Letterman' after Game 3 and made it seem like the series was still in the bag" camps.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Need the home team to win a big game? Bennett Salvatore to the rescue.
• Lost in the hullabaloo about the cheap foul at the end of OT and Josh Howard's phantom timeout ... what about Wade sticking those two free throws to tie/win the game? When was the last NBA Finals game where someone made the tying/winning free throws with under two seconds left? And how many guys in the league would you have completely trusted to make both of those? My list looks like this: Kobe, Nowitzki, Wade, Nash. That's it.
• You might remember my sitting/standing rules from the last mailbag. Well, here's an addendum for everyone in Miami that I thought was self-explanatory but obviously needs to be rehashed: If it's Game 5 of the NBA Finals, there's three minutes or less remaining in a close game and you're attending said game, here are the acceptable excuses for not standing:
Excuse No. 1: You're in a wheelchair.
Excuse No. 2: You're foreign and this is your first NBA game.
Excuse No. 3: Your little kid is sleeping on your lap.
Excuse No. 4: You're so overweight you have trouble getting up and down.
Excuse No. 5: You're an overweight foreign parent in a wheelchair with a little kid sleeping on your lap.

• That reminds me, here's an interesting question from California reader Brian Ackerman: "After watching Shaq miss more free throws, I can't help but ask: Is there another situation in sports where a seventh-grade girl can be more proficient in a key part of the sport than one of the most dominant professional players of all time? I can't make the question any more basic. There are literally hundreds of 12-year-old girls who can shoot free throws better than him. That fact alone must beg the even deeper question: Can NBA basketball really be a sport, given the above-mentioned situation?"
I will say this: The crazy thing about Shaq's free-throw shooting is that, fundamentally, he's always been completely wrong. Shaq shoots his free throws like line drives. Well, that makes no sense. Imagine you're trying to throw a rolled-up piece of paper into a garbage can -- instinctively, would you throw it with a Nowitzki-like arc, or would you whip it in a straight line at the can? You'd throw it with the arc. Everyone would. So why would Shaq continue to whip straight line drives at the rim for 14 consecutive years? Have we ever definitively answered this question?
• Back to Stackhouse's "hard" foul: I watched all of Game 4, as well as SportsCenter after the game, and not a single announcer wondered whether Stack was retaliating for Shaq's three-stitch elbow in Game 1. For God's sake, do you know anything about Jerry Stackhouse? He's one of the toughest dudes in the league -- if you made a list of "Players whose sister you wouldn't want to accidentally sleep with," he'd be right up there. When that Shaq elbow happened and Stackhouse was nodding angrily afterward -- like, "OK, so that's how we're playing, gotcha" -- I specifically remember thinking to myself, "I can't wait for the moment when Stack tries to get him back."
So when he cracked him in Game 4, that was my first reaction: "There it was! I knew it!" But it was a totally legal foul, and only the replay betrayed him -- in slow-motion from one angle, you could see Stack sizing Shaq up for a brief second, much like the Posey-Hinrich incident in Round 1, and that's what ended up getting him suspended. And here's where the NBA has lost its grip a little bit. Shaq was running loose toward the basket for a free dunk and probably outweighs Stackhouse by 125 pounds. If Stackhouse did anything BUT foul Shaq as hard as he could, he would have bounced off Shaq like a 5-foot-10 cornerback bouncing off Antonio Gates, Shaq would have made the layup for a potential three-point play, and Hubie Brown would have told us, "See, now, when you are fouling in that situation ... you cannot ... give up ... the three-point play." Basically, Stackhouse was screwed either way.
So here's my question: At what point are we compromising the competitiveness of these games? If you've ever played basketball, then you know that s---, um, staff happens during a competitive game. It's not abnormal for two teammates to start screaming at one another. It's not abnormal for someone to foul someone else a little bit harder than he intended. It's not abnormal for two opponents to start exchanging some good-natured barbs -- if anything, that kind of dialogue always livens up the game and gets everyone else going.
Believe me, I understand why we reached this point -- in the late-'90s, an entire generation of players weaned on hard fouls (like the McHale-Rambis clothesline), trash-talking superstars (like Bird and MJ) and constant woofing (from the Fab Five and UNLV in particular) ended up taking all three of those elements to inappropriate levels. I concede this point. But haven't we swung too much the other way now? For instance, when LeBron psyched out Gilbert Arenas at the free-throw line in the final game of the Cavs-Wiz series, that was one of my favorite moments of the playoffs -- not only that LeBron had the confidence to do something like that, but that it reminded me of something that would happen on the playground, just two ballers talking smack before a big moment.
Of course, the NBA decided that this was deplorable and ordered their referees to prevent this from ever happening again. (God forbid the last two minutes of an NBA game was anything other than formulaic and predictable.) But I think this is one of the reasons why I enjoy watching those games from the '80s so much -- not just because of the style of play (constantly moving, constantly going) but the competitive energy that never seemed to wane. Now guys are allowed to compete, but only to a point. It's like a glorified youth soccer game with more fans. And out of everything that's happened in the Stern Era, this was their biggest mistake. Well, other than continuing to have Bennett Salvatore work playoff games.

Officially Speaking
Note: I'm not saying I agree with these perspectives ... but here's a very fair sampling of the e-mails that drifted into my mailbox on Sunday night and Monday morning.

I do solemnly swear, this 19th day of June, 2006 that I will never watch an NBA game again. Everyone is supposed to say what a great game that was with a straight face? At least the WWE has the grace to give you a wink. If watching a man in a flak jacket and thigh pads repeatedly throw himself into defenders to draw foul calls is what passes for "competition," or better yet watching said man hit layups because no one can breathe on him, I believe I can live without [it]. Why would anyone follow a "sport" that employs Dick Bavetta and Stu Jackson? All that was missing was David Stern running onto the court with a steel chair, ABC execs in tow. Bill Simmons, I name thee prophet. It went down exactly as you said it would.
-- James, Richmond, Virginia

Twenty-five free throw attempts is nonsense, not even M.J. would have gotten some of those foul calls. And I'm not just saying this because I'm a bitter Pistons fan. Sixty-year-old officials should not be officiating 20-something-year-old professional athletes.
-- Paul, Detroit, Mich.

Have you ever, I mean EVER, seen a guy get more calls than Wade in Game 5? As staggering as it is to even think it, much less say it out loud, this surpasses the level of calls Jordan used to get in the playoffs. Simply AMAZING. I am a die-hard NBA fan, and I understand and accept the whole "stars get calls" factor, but this is an insane new level. Every time Wade falls down (even if not touched) he gets a call. You called it in your preview, the refs were gonna give some games to Miami, and they did.
-- Jonathan, Raleigh, N.C.

Please admit to everyone that the treatment Dwyane Wade is receiving is absolutely absurd. The final play in Game 5 summed it up: He commits a backcourt violation, pushes off on Terry, then goes wildly to the bucket and gets bailed out on a phantom foul call. Is what the NBA has to do to create its star of the future?
-- Mark, Chicago

I watch very little NBA basketball, however, as the playoffs have been playing out, I have found myself watching more and more games, becoming more interested. Then comes the Finals and I feel like I am watching pro wrestling, except I can fool myself into thinking those matches aren't fixed. At least it makes the NBA the easiest sport to gamble on.
-- Jeremy Louden, Cincinnati

I want to say something about Dwayne Wade, but I fear I may get called for a foul.
-- Warren, Ludington, Mich.

Unfortunately you were right that the NBA finals could come down to the officials. David Stern would rather choke to death on his own vomit than hand Mark Cuban the trophy. It's clear he instructed the refs to take an active interest in the outcomes of the games. Every time Wade drives the lane the refs call a foul on whoever is closest.
-- Jeff, Baltimore

After witnessing the Game 5 debacle, I am absolutely convinced that Stern is trying to fix the Finals for DWade and the Heat. Stackhouse's suspension, Dirk's phantom foul in OT, and then Joey Crawford's inexplicable call for a Mavs timeout -- it all adds up too perfectly. This could be a conspiracy as far-reaching as Watergate. I can already imagine the inevitable ESPN movie, "All The Commissioner's Men," where a stubborn, upstart young sports columnist brings down Stern and the entire NBA hierarchy. So, Simmons, the only question is: Will you be our Bob Woodward?
-- Robert P., Topeka, Kan.

All the comparisons between Wade and Jordan need to stop right now. There's no way Jordan would have gotten that call in the final seconds of Game 5.
-- Chris Richardson, Charleston, W.V.

• Speaking of the refs, Game 5 of the Finals took its rightful place alongside Game 7 of the Seattle-Phoenix series in 1993, Game 6 of the Kings-Lakers series in 2002, Game 5 of the Knicks-Celtics series in 1973 and some of the other famous entries in the Pantheon of One-Sided Officiated Games. We're running some e-mails in a sidebar (look to the right), but you know it's bad when the owner of the losing team runs out onto the floor to stare down the commissioner after the game -- the last time that happened at a sporting event, Vince McMahon was involved.
(FYI: In today's Miami Herald, Greg Cote writes that Cuban was screaming profanely at referee Joe DeRosa right after the game, "then turned to Stern and other NBA officials who were seated at the scorer's table and was overheard to shout venomously in the jubilant din, '[Bleep] you! [Bleep] you! Your league is rigged!'" Remember when I wrote that, on a scale of 1-to-10 about being excited for the moment when Stern handed Cuban the trophy, I was a 35? Now I'm a 72. Although Cuban did deny saying this on his blog.)
I tackled this in a Cowbell blog last year, but it's worth rehashing again: The NBA doesn't fix games. That's impossible. And stupid. It could never happen. (Well, except for the Hubert Davis game -- that was fixed. Just kidding. Kind of.) A few months ago, I looked David Stern in the eye and asked him about the ongoing officiating problems, and he seemed agonized enough about it that I actually believed him. Unless he was pulling a DeNiro-level acting performance on me. Which I doubt. But there are three major problems here.
First, Dwyane Wade shot as many free throws (25) as the entire Dallas team in Game 5. I just don't see how there's any way this can happen in a fairly-called game. It's theoretically impossible.
Second, everyone knew the officiating would be a problem heading into this series because of Cuban's past problems with the league. In my Finals preview, I wrote that "No team depends on the refs quite like the Heat. When the refs are calling all the bumps on Shaq and protecting Wade on every drive, they're unstoppable. When they're calling everything fairly, they're eminently beatable. If they're not getting any calls, they're just about hopeless. I could see the refs swinging two games in Miami's favor during this series, possibly three. In fact, I'm already depressed about it and the series hasn't even started yet." Well, we had our two games -- Game 3 (the last five minutes were just obscene) and Game 5 (again, a top-five debacle). And the series isn't over yet.
Third, here's a theory on referees that I described in a blog last spring:
"I don't think the NBA fixes games, but they have one trick that they use for situations like this -- when they want a home team to win the game, they invariably assign the worst referees possible to that game for two reasons: Bad referees have a tendency to get swayed by the home crowd, and bad referees never have the stones to make a tough call on the road. In a related story, I went to 35 Clippers games this year and kept a list of the referees in my pocket which I also used to follow the referees for any televised games. And yes, the referees in the NBA -- as a whole -- have never been worse. But there were six referees that stuck out as being especially terrible."
Then I went on to list the worst six referees. Here was No. 2 on the list:
"2. Bennett Salvatore -- Always one of the worst, he took it to another level this season. If you see him on the court at the start of the game, get ready for about six technicals, two near-brawls and both coaches having to be restrained by their assistants at various times."
Why is this relevant? Not only did Salvatore officiate Game 4 of the Suns-Lakers series (the one where Kobe tied it at the end of regulation and won it at the end of OT on two shaky non-calls on Nash, both by Salvatore), not only did Salvatore officiate Sunday night's Game 5 (in which Miami had a 40-12 free-throw advantage at one point), but Salvatore called the foul on Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.
Considering I brought this up LAST spring, do you find any of this a little strange? Why aren't the best referees calling these games? Why do the worst ones always seem to get assigned to games in which it would be better for the league if the home team won? Why am I the only one who notices this stuff or seems to care? Why do I find myself watching these games and concentrating more on the one-sided officiating than some of Wade's spectacular plays? As my buddy House e-mailed on Monday morning: "I don't think I can take much more of NBA refs insisting on controlling the outcomes of the most significant games. The NBA is a disgrace and should be completely embarrassed. I hate this game."
And that's coming from one of the last 20 NBA diehards -- I can only imagine what the casual fans thought after watching such a one-sided travesty. Look, we all love Dwyane Wade. He's fantastic. But there's absolutely no scenario in which a 2-guard should be attempting as many free throws as everyone on the other team. It's absolutely unfathomable. And here's what really kills me: If there's a Game 7, you KNOW they'll come up with the best possible officials for that particular game. So why wouldn't every Finals game work like that? We have seven possible games spread over 17 days ... they couldn't pick the best three or four refs and have them work every game, like how MLB picks the best seven umps to comprise the World Series crew? Why wouldn't that work? Is there a single reason you can come up with? Arrrrrrrrgh.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. His new book "Now I Can Die In Peace is available on Amazon.com and in bookstores everywhere.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:41 PM   #1333
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Oh look, another delusional fan who thinks the Mavs are getting the short end of the stick.
oh look, another jealous fan of another team thats NOT in the finals.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:41 PM   #1334
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i smell.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:45 PM   #1335
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oh look, another jealous fan of another team thats NOT in the finals.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:49 PM   #1336
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oh look, another amused fan of another team thats NOT choking in the finals.
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:51 PM   #1337
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Cuban says games aren't rigged

So llama, who's full of ****? You or Cuban?
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Old 06-20-2006, 02:55 PM   #1338
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Originally Posted by Clockwork Orange
Cuban says games aren't rigged
So llama, who's full of ****? You or Cuban?
...or Bill Simmons.

It wasnt Cuban's "the games arent rigged" statement that cost him $250,000 today. Read between the lines.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:03 PM   #1339
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...or Bill Simmons.

It wasnt Cuban's "the games arent rigged" statement that cost him $250,000 today. Read between the lines.
No, it was his juvenile antics that cost him $250,000.......yet again.

Par for the course with Cuban.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:06 PM   #1340
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No, it was his juvenile antics that cost him $250,000.......yet again.

Par for the course with Cuban.
Am I the only one who's noticed Cuban's uncanny resemblence to Paul Bearer when he pouts?
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:41 PM   #1341
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at home tonight, dallas dominates. bottom line.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:44 PM   #1342
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Originally Posted by Maverick_7
at home tonight, dallas dominates. bottom line.
Didn't you hear? It's rigged. The fix is in.
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Old 06-20-2006, 03:58 PM   #1343
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There is no fix or the game are rigged. The Mavs lost three games, two of them that they would have won if they would have some timely FT's or converted some chances or found a way to get the ball out of Wade's hands.

Stop complaining and focus on game 6.

Weren't these the same Mavs fan that told some Spurs fans to stop whining and just concentrate on the games just a month ago.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:11 PM   #1344
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Originally Posted by ro_50
There is no fix or the game are rigged. The Mavs lost three games, two of them that they would have won if they would have some timely FT's or converted some chances or found a way to get the ball out of Wade's hands.

Stop complaining and focus on game 6.

Weren't these the same Mavs fan that told some Spurs fans to stop whining and just concentrate on the games just a month ago.
But dude, this is the fans of the MIGHTY DALLAS MAVERICKS. You know? The ones who were going to sweep the Heat. The ones who have the best player in the NBA right now. The ones who have the best owner in the league who behaves like a 3 year old. Initially, i was rooting for the Heat just cause i like Wade but ever since all this b****ing and moaning i hope the Mavericks win. Then i can come back on here and claim that the NBA is fixed and hear how Llama spins that one.
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:25 PM   #1345
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Go Heat...just because I like watching Wade and I want to see Cuban have another temper tantrum on his home court!
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Old 06-20-2006, 04:50 PM   #1346
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If watching a man in a flak jacket and thigh pads repeatedly throw himself into defenders to draw foul calls is what passes for "competition,"
Your right James, why call fouls at all when you can get a player to punch you in the nuts while running down court?
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:02 PM   #1347
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Old 06-20-2006, 07:48 PM   #1348
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Are you still whining? Good lord you're a ****ing cooze.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:02 PM   #1349
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Originally Posted by Bob's your Information Minister

Actually, its pretty obvious. first howard grabs his arm, then when he goes to fly past Dirk Howard sticks his knee out to try and block Wade's drive. That is what we would like to call a BODY FOUL.
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Old 06-20-2006, 08:13 PM   #1350
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I would love to see a Maverick meltdown in the 4th on their home court.

But I want a game 7 more.
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