NBA Finals Game 5: Dallas in the driver’s seat.

This game marked a number of firsts for the Dallas Mavericks. They lead for the first time in this series. The Mavs shooters got going for the first time in this series. More importantly, Dallas wasn’t playing from behind the entire game for the first time all series long. This game was all about offense. The pace suited the Mavs from the jump. Dallas shot 57% from the field and 68% from beyond the arc! These numbers look like Xbox numbers. It’s unreal how well Dallas shot the ball. Nobody on that team who attempted a three point shot was below 50% in three point attempts. Dirk Nowitzki had a silent 29 point game. It wasn’t loud I hadn’t noticed that he scored 29 until the game was over. The Mavs didn’t shoot well on accident, even though they did make some well defended shots, instead they took advantage of the Heat overplaying Dirk and ran a number of screens with him to get their shooters open.

Jason Terry played like his nickname implied. The Jet has never flown higher. He was scorer and facilitator. He became more than a spot up shooter. He ran routes, made great passes, and put the ball on the floor in ways that we have never seen him do before. He was there when his team needed him. He exposed the defense of Lebron James. Either Jason Terry is a better driver than we all gave him credit for or the defense of Lebron James has been overstated a bit. Terry got by Lebron just about anytime he felt like it, especially in the fourth quarter when the Heat needed stops. The most notable example of this is when Terry beat Lebron and got into the lane causing the defense to collapse onto him. He then kicked the ball back out to Jason Kidd who hit the three that put the Mavs up 105-100 with a minute and 27 seconds left in the game.

Dallas played a well rounded game. This is why I picked the Mavs to win this series. I thought that the depth of the Mavs could overcome Miami’s talent. Last night Dallas had 5 players in double figures. That kind of scoring is absolutely invaluable to a team. Everybody on that team was making plays. The struggling J.J. Barea finally had a game that he could be proud of in this series scoring 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting. He used his dribble penetration to create havoc in the paint.

Miami on the other hand was not so lucky. As Lebron said in the post game press conference, offense wasn’t an issue, but defense was. The Heat were caught in a game that didn’t suit their pace. They pride themselves on what they do on the defensive end of the floor. If you look at the percentages of what Dallas was scoring (as mentioned above) there wasn’t a whole lot of defense being played in this game. Lebron played a good game. He had a triple-double with 17 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds. It wasn’t enough to win this game. Miami didn’t need a good game from Lebron, they needed a dominant one. They needed him to take over at points especially with Wade out with his hip contusion. In that way I think he failed them. They needed a guy who was going to take over the game. That’s how they’re built. The Heat are a very superstar-centric team. They need their superstars to dominate because that’s where their scoring comes from. Bosh is inconsistent and Wade can’t do it alone and I though Lebron had a real opportunity to step up and prove himself. Instead he played good enough to compete, but not good enough to win.

It was a must win game for the Mavs and they won it. This is the closest Dirk Nowitzki or Jason Kidd have ever been to being NBA champs. The Heat are going to have to put the home court advantage to good use. Nothing is worse than having a team celebrate a championship on your floor.

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