NBA Finals Notebook: Game 4
DALLAS (AP) – After being replaced in Dallas’ starting lineup, guard DeShawn Stevenson responded off the bench with his first double-figure scoring game in more than four months — all in one quarter of the Mavericks’ 86-83 win in Game 4 of the NBA finals.
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle started J.J. Barea instead of the defensive-oriented Stevenson in hopes of jump-starting the offense. Then Stevenson went on a scoring spree — making three 3-pointers in a span of 3:35 and then adding two free throws to finish the second quarter with 11 points.
“He’s a pro. He just kept himself ready all year. The 3s he knocked down in the first half were huge because we were fighting through some deficits there,” Carlisle said. “And he was one of the guys that set the tone defensively for us in the fourth.”
Stevenson didn’t score again, missing his three shots after halftime, but he still had an impact.
“You’ve got to look at `X’ factors, DeShawn Stevenson for one being taken out of the starting lineup before the game,” Dallas guard Jason Terry said. “He stayed with it, the confidence was there. His defensive effort in this series has been underrated.”
Stevenson’s playoff scoring high this year had been nine points, in Game 2 of the NBA finals against Miami and in Game 2 of the second-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 3.9 points in the first 18 playoffs games before Tuesday night.
The last double-figure scoring game for Stevenson came Feb. 2, when he scored 13 points at the New York Knicks. Tuesday night’s game was his 40th since then.
Barea played just less than 22 minutes, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting (0-2 on 3-pointers) with four assists and a turnover.
JAMES DOUBLE ENDED: For the first time with the Miami Heat, LeBron James didn’t score in double figures. That ended a streak that had been going on for so much longer for the standout forward.
James scored only eight points in the Heat’s 86-83 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA finals Tuesday night, ending his streak of 433 consecutive games — regular season and playoffs included — of scoring in double figures. The last time he didn’t score at least 10 points was Jan. 5, 2007, when he had just eight points for Cleveland at Milwaukee.
With his 46 minutes played in the loss that evened the finals series at two games each, James has played 3,901 minutes this season. His 915 field goals are easily the most in the league.
James has played in 71 Heat victories this season, which puts him one away from being the NBA’s sole leader in that department.
Six members of the Bulls — Luol Deng, Omer Asik, Keith Bogans, Kyle Korver, league MVP Derrick Rose and C.J. Watson — all participated in that many victories this season as well. James got his 71st on Sunday night when the Heat beat the Mavericks 88-86 in Game 3 of the finals.
While held to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in Game 4, James had nine rebounds and seven assists against the Mavericks.
HAYWOOD’S HURT HIP: Dallas Mavericks backup center Brendan Haywood thought he was ready to play Game 4 of the NBA finals after missing the previous game with a strained right hip flexor. He played only 3 minutes.
Haywood came in for Tyson Chandler with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Less than 2 minutes into the second quarter during a timeout, Chandler quickly popped off the bench checked himself back into the game.
“I knew Brendan was trying to gut it out for us … He really wanted to be out there,” Chandler said. “I seen that he was just trying to battle it out, but I told coach, `You have to get me back out there, I will play 48 (minutes) if I have to.”
Haywood had one foul — albeit a questionable call when LeBron James exaggerated a move with Haywood defending — while scoring no points with no rebounds.
Chandler wound up playing 43 minutes with 13 points and 16 rebounds.
RILEY’S RINGS: Heat president Pat Riley is already a seven-time NBA champion — five as a head coach, one as an assistant, one as a player.
And six of those seven titles came under extremely difficult circumstances.
So Riley was not at all surprised that this series against the Dallas Mavericks is no Miami cakewalk, either. Of his seven previous titles, six came in series where Riley’s teams faced some major adversity.
As a player, he and the Los Angeles Lakers lost Game 1 in 1972, but rallied to win the series. As an assistant, the Lakers lost the home-court edge in 1980 before going on to win the title. To beat Philadelphia for his first ring as a head coach in 1982, he needed to rely on a Lakers rookie named Magic Johnson after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar got hurt. There was the so-called Memorial Day Massacre in 1985 when the Lakers lost Game 1 to Boston by 34 points. His Lakers lost Game 1 of the 1988 finals, and the Heat trailed 2-0 to Dallas in 2006 before taking that title.
Given all that, losing Game 2 at home in this year’s series after blowing a 15-point lead and being tied 2-2 in the series won’t throw Riley for a loop.
“It’s never easy,” he said.
FREE THROWS: Through the first 10 minutes of Game 4, the Miami Heat already had nine offensive rebounds. That matched their total from Game 3. They finished Tuesday night with 15. … Dirk Nowitzki had his streak of 39 consecutive free throws made snapped with the missed one with 3:52 left in the third quarter. He had made every free throw attempt since making two at the end of regulation to force overtime in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City that Dallas won. … It looked like a wrestling takedown. When Dwyane Wade went up to try to block a shot late in the third quarter, he fell down on top of teammate Juwan Howard. … Jason Terry scored seven points in 6 minutes after entering the game in the first quarter for Dallas, including a 3-pointer. He finished with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting while missing his other three 3-pointers. … Jason Kidd had three turnovers on bad passes the first 6 minutes of the game. He had only one turnover his other 33 minutes for the Mavs.
CONGRATS MARK: After longtime NBA point guard and current ABC/ESPN analyst Mark Jackson was hired Monday by the Golden State Warriors for his first-ever coaching job, he got plenty of messages of congratulations.
Among the coaches who took time to congratulate Jackson were Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks and Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat.
“There’s been a lot of coaches that I know personally as far as friendships and relationships just in the process of interviewing coaches throughout the course of my years as an announcer. Everybody knew what I wanted to do,” Jackson said before Game 4 of the finals he’s working as a broadcaster. “They’ve been extremely nice to me. Talk about these two coaches here texting me in the middle of a championship series, basically saying congratulations, how much they were pulling for me. It means so much.”
There was also the personal words from Miami Heat Pat Riley.
“He told me it’s my time,” Jackson said. “He experienced me as a player and I experienced him as a coach. Great minds help form who I am today.”
AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)