Wednesday, June 01, 2011

McHale and Webber talk NBA Finals

From NBA TV -

Notes from the NBA TV NBA Finals Conference Call - Wednesday, June 1

NBA TV’s coverage of The Finals 2011 continues on Thursday, June 2 as the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks square off for Game 2 from Miami. Tune in for pre- and postgame coverage, press conferences, player and coach interviews and everything NBA on NBA TV.

Kevin McHale, NBA TV studio analyst
Chris Webber, NBA TV studio analyst
Albert “Scooter” Vertino, Turner Sports V.P. of Content, NBA Digital

McHale on the outcome of Game 1 between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat: “[Game 1] was a heck of a game. Defense reigned. After the first five or six minutes of the first quarter, I thought the score might be 48-47. At the end of the game, no one could score. Both teams are really good defensively. [Miami’s] backside defense is just tremendous. They are really active on the defensive end. Getting to an eight man rotation has really helped them. They are a really good unit defensively right now. From Dallas’ standpoint, I don’t think they can be too upset about the defense and about some of the shots that Miami made. Miami made 11 threes and that’s unusual for them. I think if you’re [Mavericks head coach] Rick Carlisle, you kind of hang your hat on [the fact that] they made some threes and made some tougher shots, but we were right there with 5-6 minutes to go in the game.”

Webber on Game 1 of the Finals: “You could tell there were some first-game jitters from all of the misses, but there was some great defense. You could tell that they were maybe a little bit over-energetic. It amazes me how great of a defender LeBron [James] is. I was really impressed with the rotations with Dirk [Nowitzki], who you can’t stop no matter what you do, but at least as a team they rotated to him faster than any of the other teams. If I’m Miami, I feel good because I saw already that [Dallas] went to zone defense and I know that you can’t defend us one-on-one. I’m sure in practice today they worked on the zone because they didn’t attack the zone very well. [Dallas] needs to really control the pace.

Webber on the impact of Mavericks’ center Tyson Chandler: “Every time [Tyson Chandler] attacks the rim, he gets back and puts his fist up and puts [the Mavericks] in defensive position. That just shows how he has changed the whole mentality of that team.”

Webber on the importance of each team’s bench in the series: “I think the importance of the bench rings more true for Dirk [Nowitzki] and the Mavericks. Miami has the luxury of having the ‘Big Three.’ In most cases, whichever team’s bench plays well will play well, but would you be surprised if the ‘Big Three’ score 95 points? I wouldn’t. So, in Miami’s case, I don’t know if that theory rings true.”

McHale on the affect each team’s bench has on the outcome of the series: “You are looking at the “Big Three’ getting between 60 and 75 points so I don’t know how many their bench is going to be able to punch in. The Miami bench being able to outscore the Dallas bench was amazing to me. If Miami’s bench outscores Dallas’ bench the next three games, the series will be over. That’s not going to happen. Dallas’ bench has outscored the opponent’s bench every time this year except eight times. [Dallas] relies on their bench a lot more than Miami. I think you will see their bench come to life. It comes down to what the “Big Three” can do for Miami because if they’re going to go out there and drop 70-plus points, their bench doesn’t have to pitch in much. I do believe Dallas’ bench will outplay Miami’s bench throughout the series.”

McHale on the key to success for Dallas: “They have to control the boards way better. I thought Dallas gave up a lot of offensive rebounds to the Miami Heat. I think Dallas is a team that has to play a possession game. They have to get up and down and they can’t turn it over. If Dallas can maintain a low-turnover game and really clean up their defense, that’s going to give them a much better opportunity.”

Webber on the key to success for Dallas: “Dirk [Nowitzki] may not get enough shots. The more possessions the [Mavericks] have, the better. Dallas can not afford to not rebound and to turn it over because possessions are everything.”

Webber on what Dallas has to do to win the series: “The one thing Dallas can do is to keep the game going at a fast pace. It’s a luxury playing on the West Coast all year long and being able to go into the playoffs, which are usually slow, and you still being encouraged to play your style of play. Their best chance, besides being fundamental, playing together, and doing all the right things, is to speed it up so that it allows their chemistry to shine.”

McHale on how the Mavericks need to put more pressure on the Heat’s defense: “The pace has to be picked up by Dallas. They have to be able to get the ball up and down the floor. They’ve got to be able to shoot their pump-fakes and get the Miami defenders running out and then put the ball on the floor and drive. They have to put pressure on the Miami defense off the dribble.”

Webber on NBA players using shooting coaches: “There are a lot of different theories on this but at the end of the day; it’s what makes you comfortable. I’ve seen guys who couldn’t play basketball who somehow had a great shot practice with high school coaches. I’ve seen guys who have never had a shooting coach in their life have a shot that was pure. In my fifth year in the league, I was shooting 50% and started working with a shooting coach I learned how to practice the same [way] every time. When I watched film, it wasn’t from a frustration point or from a celebratory point, it was watching to see if I was getting fatigued or if I had the same bend in my leg [when I took a shot]. For a guy who didn’t have a jump shot, I think it really helped.”

Webber’s prediction on the NBA Finals: “I’ve got Miami winning in six games. I don’t think they will lose [Game 2], it’s the biggest game for them. I think [head coach Erik] Spoelstra has done a great job and he deserves all the credit. What they’ve done this year is amazing because only those [players] believed.”

McHale’s prediction on the NBA Finals: “My heart says Dallas because [head coach] Rick Carlisle and I are old teammates. I went to their training camp and I know those guys. But my eyes tell me Miami. If Dallas can get the pace up, if Dallas can rebound defensively and if they can start attacking the Miami defenders off the dribble, they’ll have a heck of a chance. My eyes tell me that Miami’s defense is really good and I’d have to predict the Heat in six [games].”

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