Round of applause to the Miami Heat. They stayed in the game the entire way, used their defense and their superior rebounding skills to carry them up until the 4th quarter, then Lebron and Wade their best players took over.
That sounds almost like a perfect game doesn’t it.
A finals contender using their defense to carry them throughout the game. Even when they were shooting 29% from the field they flushed all the bad and went to the other end of the floor and shut the Mavericks down. They held Jason Terry to 0 second half points. They held Dirk to 7 of 18 shooting and they managed to silence the very productive Maverick bench. The Maverick bench scored only 17 points in the whole game. The Heat bench scored 27 points. Then there was the rebounding clinic that they put on. If you haven’t read the stat sheet then let me share with you.
The Heat out rebounded the Mavericks by 10. One of the more important stats was that the whole Mavericks bench got a total of only 8 rebounds. 8 rebounds was less than Lebron James by himself. Another important stat was that they held Tyson Chandler and Brendon Haywood to a total of 11 rebounds. That shows not only persistence on the boards but it means the Heat big men have the upper hand in this series. They were tougher, they clearly just wanted the ball more. On offense and defense.
Then there was the 4th quarter production of Wade, Lebron, and Bosh. Dwyane Wade scored 7 fourth quarter points, Lebron scored 5 fourth quarter points and Bosh scored 5 fourth quarter points. That’s 17 4th quarter points between the three leaders of the Heat. It’s good to see them being confident and leading the way by closing out the game.
What to work on:
For the Heat, they’re careless ball handling and passing was a result of many turnovers. Even if it wasn’t turnovers it messed with their offense and made it hard for them to get into a flow. That’s why I think they were so unsuccessful shooting the ball in the first half. That and the defense of the Mavericks. They have to think more about their passes and where they’re dribbling.
For the Mavericks there is a lot more to be done. They need to get it into Dirk more often. Even if he doesn’t get off a shot. I can’t tell you how many times Dirk got the ball at mid-range and he passed to the open man on the perimeter. Jason Terry scored most of his first half points from passes out of the double team. They should be focusing their offense on Dirk’s passing ability and his unstoppable shooting abilities. They also need to work more on the boards. It felt like the Mavericks were giving up some when the ball clanked off the rim. They have to realize that this group of guys may never get another chance like this. Everything counts. Being out-rebounded by 10 in the first game can affect everything in the rest of the series. With two lockdown defenses playing their best it’s going to come down to who wants it more and who is willing to do more to win. Then they need their bench to get into the series. They were completely out of it. It may be that they are facing a top 2 defense or maybe their bench is scared. Maybe the big stage is too much for them. In previous series I saw J.J Barea try, at least try to penetrate the paint on almost every possession. Or try to shoot a three off a pick and roll. He didn’t even look for his shot last game. He has to, he can affect this series immensely if he continues to play with confidence. Jason Terry can’t really do anything about his 2nd half. He was getting the open shots, he just wasn’t sinking them. That will happen sometimes but he has to find other ways to help his team besides lingering on the three point line waiting to get open. He should try, I don’t know, maybe cutting through the lane or setting a screen. Ya, that sounds about right. Do other things in the finals, it’s do or die.
Overall this game was a great taster for what is waiting to come in the next few games. The Heat are ready and played like they deserve the ring while the Mavericks played like they deserved to be in the finals but didn’t deserve to win it all.