I told the Miami-born missus last night (or about an hour ago, give or take) the story of the first game in the NBA Finals would be: Dirk scores nada, Mavs still win, Miami's screwed. Turns out at this early hour (it's now 1:19 a.m., just maybe not where you are) that's precisely how the media's playing it: Dan LeBatard in the Miami Herald leads his recap by mentioning that Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard played like hell for the Dallas Mavericks--"Nowitzki not scoring in the fourth quarter at all," which is totally beschissen--while Mavs owner Mark Cuban "hid behind his fists watching this at the end, peeking from behind them, looking downright scared." And Dallas still took Game 1 of the NBA Finals, 90-80, at the American Airlines Center. (In the interest of equal time: Southwest Airlines.) What is it LeBatard writes? Oh, yeah: "Uh-oh." And that same Miami Herald lays some lumber to the behinds of Heat-ers Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and Shaq, who apparently is still unaware that free throws do count toward the final score.
Most of the early-morning recaps read pretty much the same, recounting the Miami lead that dwindled down to a double-digit loss; The Washington Post and New York Times' pieces are as good as any, but why does the Post's Michael Lee insist on comparing everything sportsy in this town to the Dallas Cowboys. He got a "What Would Jerry Do?" braclet around his arm? To wit: "The sellout expended energy that was only reserved for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys." Sure, fine, whatever. Oddly, the Associated Press' Brian Mahoney has a completely different take: Dirk's off night and Shaq's slow night should balance each other out, he figures, which means a seven-gamer, far as he's concerned. "Whoever wins, it sure looks like they'll pop the champagne back" in Dallas, he says, where the Finals would final shoud the series go the distance. But don't tell that to the Herald's Greg Rote: Far as he's concerned, biggest loss in Heat history. Two words, pal: Wanh. And wanh.
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Worst early morning headline comes from The Seattle Times: "Mavericks put Shaqles on Miami in Game 1." I had no idea Skip Bayless got a job at The Seattle Times. Good for him, little dude. --Robert Wilonsky