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Posted by Jeff Dengate on June 3, 2005 1:00 p.m. ET


How does the old saying go? Victory is bittersweet? Ah, Miami fans, how you know the meaning of such a statement today.

The Heat scored a major edge in the series by winning Game 5 at home ... but losing Dwyane Wade in the second half is, well, not so good.

Ankle breakers on playgrounds the world over know the pain and humiliation you can inflict on an opponent with a crossover as deadly as Wade's. Too bad Wade's body bit on the move as badly as Rip Hamilton.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

With Wade exiting the game, the supporting cast was able to hold off the Pistons for the win, something they plan to do in Game 6 if Wade is unable to go.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Rasual Butler was one of the role players to give the Heat a huge lift.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

Not bad for a guy who lost his starting job this season.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Udonis Haslem got in on the action as well.
-- [Detroit News]

Will the Heat have their junior superhero to guide them on the road in Game 6?
-- [Florida Sun-Sentinel]

He's confident the medical staff can work magic and have him ready.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

There's confidence on the other side of the ball, too.
-- [The Oakland Press]

Wasn't it just a few days ago that Rasheed was saying you could only make one GuaranShee per year?
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Guess he wasn't interested in being as quiet in the lockerroom as he was on the floor.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

If the Pistons don't turn in a better performance in Game 6, this series is over.
-- [Detroit News]

Nothing short of a victory will extend their season.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

And postpone that season-ending checkup for coach Larry Brown.
-- [Philadelphia Daily News]


While basketball fans in Miami had cause for celebration, the rest of the hoops world was mourning the loss of the league's first true superstar. Sadly, George Mikan passed away Wednesday night at the age of 80.
-- [Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Mikan paved the way for big men and was the "granddaddy of NBA centers."
-- [Los Angeles Times, Reg. req'd.]

For a truly touching account of the gentle giant, click through to the Star Tribune's Sid Hartman's recollection of how he helped play a role in Mikan's move to the Lakers.
-- [Star Tribune, Reg. req'd.]

In an equally touching gesture, Shaquille O'Neal, following last night's game, offered to pay any funeral expenses for the Mikan family.
-- [New York Daily News]

By now, you've undoubtedly heard about all the rules changes implemented because of Mikan.
-- [Baltimore Sun]

But did you know he was integral in the creation of the three-point shot, as well as that wacky red, white and blue ball?
-- []

Both innovations were developed when Mikan served as the first commissioner of the old ABA.
-- [New York Post]

Mikan was also responsible for the big man drill you've undoubtedly seen, but never gave much thought to.
-- []

Want to know how to do it?
-- []

A half-century after Mikan laced up his canvas sneakers, big men past and present pay their respects to the man who started it all.
-- []

As Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett said to the Minneapolis StarTribune, "Anybody who doesn't know who George Mikan is, is not a basketball fan."

Posted by Jeff Dengate in for Rob Peterson on June 2, 2005 3:00 p.m. ET


Ah, the Spurs. Congrats to them and their fine fans in the Alamo City. They've made their third Finals in seven seasons, which is impressive. As was this. And this. And especially this.

As a matter of fact, going back to the last century (the 20th, you remember it), only the Spurs and Lakers have represented the Western Conference in The Finals. And only once has an Eastern Conference team, last season's Pistons, won the title.

And don't go on about how weak the East is. Please. When the East won eight of 10 NBA Finals from 1989 to 1998, we never heard how weak the West was. But I digress.

Regardless of the argument, the Lakers and Spurs have dominated the Western Conference as of late for two reasons:

Tim Duncan.

Shaquille O'Neal.

With 31 points and 15 rebounds on two sore ankles, Duncan was brilliant in last night's clincher against the once-hot Suns. The Heat need Shaq to be equally as brilliant in tonight's Game 5 against the Pistons in Miami (8 ET, TNT). And for Shaq to be brilliant, he needs a little help from his friends.
-- [Florida Sun-Sentinel]

And I was being kind. The headline of that story has the words ďprop up rickety Shaq,Ē in that order.

[Editorís note: Rob Peterson, who wrote the above, got winded after so much time away from Click and Roll action that Jeff Dengate had to sub in to give Peterson a much needed breather.]

Rickety is not what the Heat had in mind when they solicited his services last summer.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

And it's not as promised at his welcome speech, when he descended from an 18-wheeler, wielding a squirt gun and those newly trimmed biceps.
-- [ photo gallery]

While there are those under-impressed with the recent dominance, or lack of, of South Florida's imposing resident, a visitor from across the pond is getting his kicks watching Shaq.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

Maybe Becks was remembering the Shaq of old he saw from afar, not the old Shaq the Detroit Pistons are seeing up close.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

While nobody's telling Shaq to hang it up, yet, these kids have something to say about his free-throw form.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Hitting free throws will do little good if he's a non-factor again, as he was in Game 4.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Anything but a non-factor, Dwyane Wade is a suitable replacement for O'Neal as the new rock star in Miami.
-- [New York Daily News]

His teammates have found a pattern in his play. He turns in a good game, they win. Easy as that.
-- [Detroit News]

But, if the Heat are to get another win against Detroit, one of those teammates needs to step up.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Maybe one of the brothers Jones can play that role of unsung hero, again?
-- [Booth Newspapers]

The surprise performer in tonight's pivotal contest could likely become the hero of the series.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

In the previous 126 times a best-of-seven series has been tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner has gone on to close out the series 106 times, or 84.1 percent. The home team owns a 94-32 (.746) advantage in such games.

No strangers to the crucial contest, the Pistons have had their share of Game 5 glory.
-- [Florida Sun-Sentinel]

They're loose and ready for the challenge.
-- [Oakland Press]

The Heat had better be up for the challenge, too, or or there may be a run on lodging space in Paris.
-- [Miami Herald, Reg. req'd.]

Posted by Jeff Dengate on June 1, 2005 1:00 p.m. ET


Two games in to the Western Conference Finals, it looked as though the Phoenix Suns were toast. That amazing turnaround and gaudy regular-season record aside, the critics appeared spot-on when they said Phoenix couldn't run their way to a title.

Another loss, in Game 3 at San Antonio, only served to support that assertion.

Then a funny thing happened: San Antonio took its 3-0 advantage and a 59-52 lead into the lockerroom at halftime of Game 4, only to become the first team to lose the game in such a situation.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

Of course, the Spurs nearly swept the Suns right into summer vacation, if it weren't for one of the best blocks you'll ever witness.
-- [East Valley Tribune]

Missed it? Can't get enough of it? Go ahead, watch it again.
-- []

Equally amazing as that block, is how routine Stoudmire can make a 30-point night look. It's down-right stunning to realize he's posting better than 35 points a night on the NBA's top defensive team.

One scribe marveling the offensive spectacle is reminded of a few old-timers.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd.]

But Stoudemire had help in the Suns' Game 4 win. Joe Johnson strapped on the plastic mask for a second night and returned to his old form, which could cause the Spurs a little extra unrest going into tonight's Game 5.
-- [Arizona Republic]

Could Johnson be the difference-maker and help the Suns become last year's BoSox?
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

You remember that team, right?
-- [East Valley Tribune]

A threat to score from anywhere on the hardwood, Johnson's return also gives the Suns a defensive stopper. As Michael from Phoenix wrote in to tell us:

"When Joe Johnson comes back Manu Ginobili will get 0 points."

Well, Johnson's defense certainly had a hand in the victory, Michael.
-- [Arizona Republic]

But zero points? Um, not quite. Manu turned in 18 and 28 on 50 percent shooting in the last two contests.

As for Manu and his Spurs teammates, their deficiencies are apparent, but it seems unlikely the Suns can exploit those flaws for three more wins.
-- [Dallas Morning News, Reg. req'd.]

Despite making the Spurs a bit uncomfortable, history still resides in San Antonio's corner.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

No series in the NBA playoffs has ever gone the distance after a team fell behind 3-0.
-- [San Antonio Express-News, Reg. req'd.]

But if the Suns manage another victory tonight to pull within one game of evening the series, critics clinging to the "defense wins championships" dictum may be forced to second guess their stance.
-- [Palm Beach Post]

Posted by Jeff Dengate on May 31, 2005 12:30 p.m. ET


Embroiled in the biggest test of their strength this season, you'd think the Pistons' focus should be on again finding a way to stop No. 3 and his Heat teammates, without any external distractions.

That seems unlikely to happen however, as the Pistons, players and coaches alike, face questions surrounding the status of their leader leading up to tonight's Game 4 against the Heat.

So, what's the trouble in Motown?
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Reports are surfacing that Larry Brown plans to be movin' on up ... in the front office of a division rival.
-- []

Amid the swelling rumors of his departure and the team's loss Sunday, to fall behind 2-1 in the series, some think it may be time to count the Pistons out.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

While the players try to concentrate on pulling even in their Eastern Conference Finals series, the tug of war continues in the dailies.

"He's Cleveland-bound."
-- [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

"I don't think so."
-- [Detroit News]

"He loves me."
-- [Detroit News]

"He loves me not."
-- [New York Post]

Let's ask the players if all this is a distraction.
-- [Detroit News]

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Click and Roll with an aside from Rob Peterson, the guy who used to write this thing:

Yikes! What's goin' on in Detroit? (And I'm not talking in old Motown Marvin Gaye type of way.) The dot.commers at the worldwide leader, who first reported the story, say this Brown to Cleveland thing isn't good for the Cavs or for this guy.
-- []

Another ESPNer says Brown should step aside.
-- []

Interesting. It's not as if this hasn't happened before to fans of a Michigan team. Remember when Bill Frieder took a job at Arizona State just before the 1989 NCAA tourney and Michigan AD Bo Schembechler kicked Frieder to the curb in favor of a "Michigan man", Steve Fisher?

Well, you know what happened after that, right?

I'm just sayin'.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled Click and Roll.

Despite the Larry Brown talk and the two straight losses to Miami, they maintain their confidence is strong.
-- [Detroit News]

Maybe the players received their wake-up calls this morning.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Whether or not the phone rang, the Pistons' hopes for a second ring are likely squashed if they suffer another setback in their own gym tonight. If they're to rebound, now's the time.
-- [Detroit News]

Only seven squads have ever advanced after falling behind 3-1 -- the most recent being Detroit in 2003 against Orlando. This Miami team, however, is nothing like that first-round opponent.

The Heat players know the Pistons will come out fighting.
-- [Detroit News]

Just don't expect any Detroit players to say a win is guaran-Sheed.
-- [The Oakland Press]

The Heat got a lift from Haslem and Eddie Jones after Wade went down with a rib injury.
(Victor Baldizon/NBAE/Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal on his role in Miami:

"I'm a role player. I don't mind doing it. Dwayne [Wade] is a superstar. He's unselfish, which we all knew before. I'm not complaining about shots. I'm not complaining about anything. I've got my role, and I'm playing it."
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

2004-05 ARCHIVE
May 27 -- Conf. Finals
May 20 -- Conf. Semifinals
May 13 -- Conf. Semifinals
May 5 -- Round 1
Apr. 29 -- Playoffs 2005 Begin
Apr. 19 -- Giving It All Away
Apr. 12 -- Playoff Bound
Apr. 5 -- Draw the Curtain
Mar. 29 -- Battling for Position
Mar. 22 -- Gone a Long Time?
Mar. 15 -- Deja View
Mar. 8 -- Top to Bottom
Mar. 1 -- Dynamic Duos
Feb. 25 -- Much Adieu About
Feb. 16-20 -- All-Star Blog
Feb. 15 -- Random House
Feb. 9 -- Reserves, Deserves
Feb. 1 -- All-Starters
Jan. 25 -- South by Southwest
Jan. 19 -- My Kind of Town
Jan. 11 -- 'S Wonderful
Jan. 4 -- Points Well Taken
Dec. 29 -- New Year's Wishes
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive