Dallas needs an adrenaline rush. They need a hit of energy. They need a momentum swing. The momentum is all with Miami right now. Not only did they steal one on the road but they beat Dallas when they were playing their best. That’s a testimony to the defense and talent of Miami. Dallas aren’t necessarily back up against the wall right now. They’ve got two more at home, and they’re only down one game. They will be squished up against the wall if they lose tonight’s game.
When a finals series goes 3-1. The losing team can pretty much kiss goodbye to the championship. No matter how good they are, or how persistent they are in coming back, but no team will win four straight games in the NBA finals. Especially not against a premier defense like Miami’s and pure superstar fire like Miami’s.
Dallas pretty much HAS to win this game. They do, it’s that simple. It’s not that big of a request from a veteran team. They know what they have to do, and I think they know how to do it. Or do they?
Dallas know they’re going to get another 30 from Dirk this game.
That’s not a problem, the all-time great will get his points. He’ll do his fadeaway, and his one legged jumper, he’ll spin baseline and make a cheeky backdoor cut. Yes, Dirk Nowitzki will play his game. The worry isn’t about him, it’s about the other players on his team.
Named Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Brendon Haywood, J.J Barea, those guys. You know the other players on his team. The ones who help him win games. Or the ones who are supposed to help him win games. The Dallas bench is stuck. They’re not making shots. They’re not swinging the ball, they’re not penetrating, they’re not taking care of the ball. Nothing the Dallas role players are doing offensively is helping the Mavericks at all. The other 4 starters made a total of 9 shots in game 3, for a total of 24 points. 24 points from your “best players” isn’t going to cut it. Especially not in the NBA finals where the other team is playing their best basketball. 24 points from the Dallas starters was only 2 points more then the 22 points off the Miami bench. If the Heat reserves are outplaying the Dallas starters then something is not right. They are the ones who will take the blame if the Mavericks go on to lose this series. They need to step up, start playing confidently and knocking down the shots they can make. They have to play Maverick basketball.
The team defense played so far from Dallas has been top class. They have been shutting down Lebron very well, limiting him to only 20 points a game in the finals so far. He hasn’t produced as much as the Heat have wanted and that’s all due to the Maverick defense. They have also kept Bosh pretty limited after his Bulls scoring outbreak. He is averaging only 16 points a game in this series. So credit is due to keeping two of the big three under control. Then there is the man who has every single Maverick number. That’s Dwyane Wade.
I don’t think breaking their hearts in 2006 was enough for D-Wade. He wants more, he wants to demolish their spirits, destroy their hopes and win another ring. He is doing a very good job of it too. He has averaged 29 points a game this series. That’s not good for the Mavericks. When they’re letting the opponents star player get comfortable with his offense. It is never a nice site to see. They need to do a better job of cutting off his penetration. He should be getting double teamed at the top of the key to get the ball out of his hands. Whoever is guarding him can give him no air space once so ever. Suffocate him, make him turn the ball over, do something. But Dwyane Wade is looking much too relaxed in this series.
If I am looking at this series through Erik Spoelstra’s eyes, I am very content with the way my team has played in three games.
They have held Dallas to under 90 points twice. They have completely cut everybody but Dirk out of the equation. They’re defense has been better then ever, and Dwyane Wade has stepped up to the plate, and has hit home-runs every game.
But a great coach is never satisfied. He needs more from his team. He needs them to do a little thing called getting back on defense. Yes, ever heard of that. They’re half court defense has been stellar, but it’s their transition defense that is killing them. After a dunk or a three point shot, the Heat are screaming or taking their time back up the court with a grin of content. That’s not acceptable, they need to sprint back. A game is won with defense as a whole not just in the half-court.
Another thing on their checklist is to limit Dirk. If they can limit Dirk then they can cut the Dallas points from in the 80’s to mid 70’s. Besides him no other players are getting in the high teens. They’re doing more then a great job on defense on every other player, but Dirk is killing them. They have succeeded in getting him stuck between double teams. They’re job is not done there, they have to keep the double on him so they can’t feed him the ball once more for single coverage. The Heat don’t have much to worry about from the perimeter. All though they have 3 all time greats in three pointers, they haven’t been playing well and once they start making shots then you start worrying about them more. For now focus more energy on Dirk.
I’m looking for the same attack for Miami. Driving in, drawing fouls and penetrating the paint. They did a great job of that last game and that won them the game. If they can do that again this game should be easier to win. For the Mavericks I am looking for gritty interior defense to hold off Dwyane and Lebron’s penetration. I’m also looking for Jason Terry to step up. Step up big time. Make some shots, roll the jet down the runway. Some Jason Terry type basketball. That savvy veteran style i love so much.
Game 4. I’ll see you 5 hours.