Pat Riley wasn’t angry at John Starks for the shooting guard’s poor performance in Game 7 of the 1994-95 Finals. He was disappointed in Starks for the decision he made at the end of Game 6. With only a few seconds left in the game and the Knicks trailing by a basket, Starks took an inbound pass. The play called for him to dump the ball down to Patrick Ewing who would then try and tie the game, sending it to overtime. Instead, Starks took a three-point shot, hoping to win it all. But it was blocked by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets won the game.
That off-season, Riley wanted Starks to know how hard he would have to work in order to be trusted at such a critical moment again.
That moment never came.
The Mavericks beat the Heat last night to win the NBA Finals and there is a lot of talk about how the Heat will eventually have their day. It’s a safe bet that they will. However, Dan Marino never made it back to the Super Bowl after his second season, and there is no guarantee that LeBron James will make it back to the Finals either.
In the meantime, while I am one of many fans celebrating the Heat’s loss, I’m also pleased for Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs. Yup, this is just about the best way the season could have ended.