Dallas was able to play at the Miami Heat’s tempo for a while but we figured out who was better at it. In the third quarter lead by Lebron James and his 24 points, Miami was able to pull away for a lead to the Mavs were never able to regain. I thought the depth of the Mavs would give them an advantage in this series but, as per usual Miami found a new way to surprise me. The Heat bench was almost as productive if not just as productive as Dallas’ own bench. Actually Mario Chalmers was a slightly more efficient form of Jason Terry because they scored the same amount of points but Chalmers took less shots to do it. Dirk Nowitzki left his usual impact on the game but nobody really stood out as a Mavericks second option. When Dallas was playing the Thunder there was always a second guy to make the Thunder pay for overcommitting on Dirk. I don’t know if it’s just the superior athletes of Miami at work or what but, like Derrick Rose before him, Dirk looked alone out on the floor at times.
Apart from seemingly carrying a team that was good but not great, on a night where a second 20 point performance from another teammate could have been a difference between a win and a loss, Dirk has another problem. He tore a tendon on a finger in his left hand. I don’t know how this will affect his shooting from here on out but, it can’t be for the better. “I tore a tendon in there” Dirk said, ” I guess it’ll be alright.” You guess? It better be alright or the Dallas Mavericks up a creek without a paddle. Jason Terry was absolutely neutralized by the Heat. He scored 12 points on 3 of 10 shooting and scored absolutely nothing in the second half of that game. Dallas could always rely on J.J. Barea to give them a boost off of the bench. Well, they used to anyways, Barea scored all of 2 points on 1 of 8 shooting in 18 minutes of play. So Dirk better be okay or this will be a pretty short NBA Finals indeed.
The Mavs didn’t know what to do with Lebron and Wade. To be fair, most teams don’t really know what to do with those guys. They’re really hard to stop separate from each other. This Heat team was 0-2 against Dallas in the regular season but that was in September and December. Those games are not of the same Heat team that we see before us in these finals. Chris Bosh who had been off and on all season scored 19 points and had 9 rebounds in the Heat victory. Lebron and Dwayne scored 24 and 22 points respectively on particularly efficient shooting nights. The Miami Heat and coach Spoelstra have figured out how to use the pieces they have to win games often to devastating results for opponents.
If Dallas can regroup in game 2 and come up with a strategy to impose their will on the Heat then they have a punchers chance but, if not. This series will be unsatisfying for anyone who is not a Heat fan. I don’t mind if the Heat win but, I don’t want to see a sweep. That would be the worst result.