The Dallas Mavericks should not still be playing.
They should not have been playing two nights ago.
The Mavs should have cleaned out their lockers, conducted their season-ending interviews, and be halfway to a tropical beach by now.
The NBA’s best team in the regular season is begging to blow their chance at a second straight trip to the NBA Finals.
On Thursday night, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Suns 113-86 in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The series is tied at 3.
Game 7 is Sunday in Phoenix.
Per the NBA, “If Milwaukee wins (Friday) night, the Mavericks will tip Game 7 vs. Phoenix at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.
“If Boston vs. Milwaukee requires a Game 7, the Mavericks will tip Game 7 vs. Phoenix at 7 p.m. on TNT.”
It’s the second straight year the Mavs will play a Game 7 on the road. Didn’t go so well last year. The Mavs lost Game 7 in their first-round series with the L.A. Clippers.
This current Mavs team bears little resemblance to last season’s team, starting with the head coach.
The Mavs have reached a Game 7 against a superior opponent because first-year head coach Jason Kidd is having a much better series than Suns coach Monty Williams.
The Suns won 64 games in the regular-season, tops in the NBA.
With Chris Paul, DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker, the Suns should have defeated the Mavs in this series, at worst, 4-2.
After losing Games 1 and 2 in Phoenix, the Mavericks have won three of the last four; all of their wins came at the American Airlines Center.
“It must be in the air,” Mavs forward Reggie Bullock said after the game.
And on the bench.
This series has been entirely dictated by the home floor, and Kidd having the courage to challenge one of the best players in the world to get his stuff together, and be better.
A head coach publicly challenging his own star player requires real courage; Kidd’s predecessor, Rick Carlisle, did it almost as much as he smiled.
The Suns have won their three games at home by an average of 15.6 points; the Mavs have won their three games at home by an average of 15.3 points.
In Games 1 and 2, the Suns “hunted” Mavs forward Doncic on nearly every offensive possession; the Suns, and specifically point guard Chris Paul, exploited that matchup to humiliating lengths.
Paul scored 47 points with 11 assists in the first two games.
After Game 2, Kidd politely called out Doncic and challenged him to be better defensively.
Doncic will never be confused for Dennis Rodman, but he was no longer an alarming liability on defense.
Since the the start of Game 3, Paul no longer looks like one of the best point guards ever but rather a 37-year-old guy hanging on. He has scored 37 points combined in the remainder of the series.
The Mavs have made a few other adjustments; Kidd put Bullock on Booker on Thursday, and Booker scored 19 points but needed 17 shots to do it. He also had eight turnovers.
The Mavs have also not allowed the biggest advantage in this series, Suns center Deandre Ayton, to own them.
After Game 1, where Ayton finished with 25 points and 8 rebounds, he looked as if he would be too much for a smaller Mavs team to handle. He should be; the Mavericks have no one who can deal with him inside.
He has been good in a series where, matchup-wise, he should be great.
On Thursday night, the Mavericks moved the ball much better than in Game 5, and led 60-45 at the half. The Suns never made it interesting.
We have the celebrated Game 7 when, matchup-wise, this series should already be over.
It’s not over because Jason Kidd is having a much better series than Monty Williams.
FIU Baseball Head Coach Mervyl Melendez to Step Down at Conclusion of 2022 Season
MIAMI – FIU baseball head coach Mervyl Melendez announced Wednesday that he is stepping down following the conclusion of the 2022 season, following this weekend’s series vs. Rice.
“During my six years at FIU, I devoted my heart and soul into our student-athletes and this program. I am proud of the upgrades that we have made and the resources we have been able to secure for this program so that we are able to leave this program in better shape than when I arrived,” Melendez said. “I will miss the relationships that have been built. Each of our student-athletes has a bright future ahead of them, and I am proud to have been their coach.”
“I want to thank Coach Melendez for leading the FIU Baseball program the past six years,” FIU Athletics Director Scott Carr said. “Merv is a high-character, servant-leader who cares deeply about everyone, especially the young men that played for him. We wish Merv, Aixa, and the entire Melendez family the best in their future endeavors.”
Melendez was named head coach at FIU in June 2016. His overall record at FIU was 126-154. During his tenure, the Panthers achieved numerous postseason awards, including seven All-C-USA selections, seven Freshman All-Americans and six C-USA All-Freshman honors. Additionally, 14 Panthers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
Melendez also led the charge on numerous baseball facility upgrades during his time at FIU, with an indoor batting cage and weight room, artificial turf home bullpen, renovated players’ locker room, lounge and kitchen topping the list.
A national search for the Panthers’ next head baseball coach will begin immediately.
FGCU 7, No.9 Miami 3: Hurricanes Lose Final Midweek Matchup of 2022
A 7-3 loss on Tuesday night finished off the Miami Hurricanes schedule of mid-week games in 2022. The Hurricanes are now 37-15 (18-9 ACC) this season, and will need to have a good weekend against Notre Dame after back-to-back losses in conference series and a three game losing streak.
FGCU got out to a quick start on Tuesday, with Brian Ellis hitting a lead off home run on the fourth pitch of the game to give the Eagles the lead almost immediately. Miami did respond to tie the game in the bottom of the inning though. Back-to-back singles from CJ Kayfus and Yohandy Morales, and a one-out hit-by-pitch, loaded the bases for Miami. With two outs, Dominic Pitelli was hit by a pitch to tie the game, but a groundout meant the Hurricanes stranded the bases loaded.
The third inning was similar to the first inning, with FGCU scoring a run to take the lead in the top of the inning before Miami tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Two singles put a runner in scoring position for FGCU with two outs, and Alejandro Rodriguez hit an RBI-single to make the score 2-1. Fortunately for Miami, Jacob Burke hit a 440 foot solo home run to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth inning Miami took their first lead of the game. Zach Levenson hit a one-out single and advanced to second on a walk from Dorian Gonzalez. FGCU got the second out of the inning, but a clutch two-out RBI-single from Ariel Garcia put Miami ahead 3-2.
The Hurricanes got within six outs of a victory, but a four-run top of the eighth inning gave FGCU the win. Alejandro Figueredo led off the inning with a game-tying solo home run, and two straight batters reached afterwards to give the Eagles the chance to take the lead. Harrison Povey took advantage, hitting an RBI-double to give FGCU their first lead in the game since the top of the third inning. A walk loaded the bases after the double, and a balk scored the third run of the inning before a sac-fly scored the final run and made the score 6-3.
A Joe Kinker solo home run scored the final run of the game in the top of the ninth inning, and in the bottom of the inning the Hurricanes left two men on base after a strikeout ended the game. In total, Miami stranded 12 runners on base in Tuesday’s game while allowing 15 hits from FGCU to go along with three home runs.
The loss makes the path to the Hurricanes finishing the season as a Top 8 seed, and a Super-regional host in the NCAA Tournament, considerably more difficult. Miami will likely need a strong weekend against Notre Dame and an appearance in the semi-finals, and possibly even the championship game, of next week’s ACC Tournament to return to the top eight.
First pitch of the Hurricanes series against Notre Dame is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night. Miami remains in first place in the ACC heading into the weekend, but multiple teams remain in contention to win the conference, including Notre Dame.
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Tipton (4-3, 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K)
Losing Pitcher: Gage Ziehl (1-2, 0.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)
No. 9 Miami Falls in Midweek Finale
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The ninth-ranked University of Miami baseball team dropped its final midweek game of the year, falling to the FGCU Eagles, 7-3, Tuesday evening at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
“We just didn’t play well,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “I thought the guys were in a good state of mind going into the game. I felt like everybody had good body language and was positive, moving forward from the weekend series. I told them the game of baseball is about as close to life as it can throw at you. There’s so much adversity that you have to deal with. We didn’t do anything to help us win in any phase. Overall, just a disappointing game.”
The Hurricanes (37-15, 18-9 ACC) held a 3-2 lead after the seventh inning, but the Eagles (32-20, 15-12 ASUN) rallied for four runs in the eighth.
FGCU third baseman Alejandro Figueredo launched a game-tying solo shot to spark the Eagles late.
Three batters later, right fielder Harrison Povey put the visitors in front for good with an RBI double.
The Eagles tacked on two more tallies in the inning, capitalizing on a balk and a sacrifice fly.
FGCU punctuated its late offensive outburst in the ninth behind a Joe Kinker solo blast.
“We got to be able to handle it,” DiMare said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have a big, big opportunity this weekend to put ourselves back on track to what we want to be doing.”
Miami had its chances early in the contest, but the Eagles kept the Hurricanes in check.
The Canes loaded the bases with no outs in the opening inning, but only mounted one run.
Then, with two down in the fourth, Miami put three runners on, but couldn’t cash in.
“We didn’t take advantage of them,” DiMare said. “We have to make sure we don’t try and do too much and give good at-bats. You can look at many things in this game and we just didn’t execute in all phases.”
Miami starter Jake Garland earned a no-decision, tossing six solid innings. The right-hander surrendered two earned runs, firing 54 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
Freshman reliever Gage Ziehl (1-2) was tagged with the loss, while FGCU right-hander Tyler Tipton (4-3) picked up the win, following 5 1/3 innings of one-run baseball out of the bullpen.
With the loss, the Hurricanes finished the year 9-3 in midweek games.
Miami wraps up its regular season slate with a three-game set against No. 14 Notre Dame. The series opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Mark Light Field.
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