by Brett Edwards
Avery Johnson needs to give back his "coach of the year" trophy after the dreadful job he did in the NBA Finals. He continually threw double teams at Shaq and chose to single cover Wade, who destroyed the Mavs with a 39 points per game average in the Heat's four victories. Why not single cover Shaq in the post, and simply foul him every time he gets the ball in great position? You had 18 fouls between Dampier, Mbenga, and Diop, and none of those three are a threat on offense, thus making them interchangeably expendable. I don't know if you've heard, but Shaq is not a good free throw shooter.
Equally awful was the fourth quarter strategy in the series-ending Game 6 loss. The Heat were over the limit in team fouls with almost 8 minutes to play in the game. You would think that would lead to a constant attack on the rim, with players refusing to settle for jumpers, right? Wrong. From the time Dallas would have gotten free throws for every foul call until the end of the game, they unconscionably jacked up 9 three-pointers!! What the hell kind of strategy is that?! How about going to the hoop and drawing some fouls? Dwyane Wade certainly had no problem figuring this out, and that's a big reason why he's an NBA Champ.
Finally, with the game on the line, instead of turning to Dirk to go to the basket, you run a pick-and-roll with Eric Dampier, who has no hands and dropped the pass out of bounds. Really?! On an offensive threat scale of 1-10, Dampier is about a -16. Terrible play call, and terrible overall strategy against the Heat. We may not like Riles, but it's obvious that you need a veteran coach at this level to win the title. Maybe Avery will get it right next year.