That trophy keeps them going. The thought of them crying with the prestigious trophy in their arms is enough to keep them going. The thought of having NBA champion before their name keeps them going. The thought of being at the top of the basketball world keeps them going. The thought of all their hard work paying off keeps them going. Keep going they must.
This is no time to give up. The Mavericks and Heat realize they are too close to make a mistake. Too close for comfort is the right term in this context.
With the pressure increasing within every second they must execute their game plan. I have a few keys for each team that will help them win this series.
For the Mavericks the main thing they have to do is play amazing team and interior defense. They don’t have the defenders to guard Lebron or D-Wade. Shawn Marion isn’t quick enough or strong enough to deal with Lebron. Deshawn Stevenson doesn’t have enough defensive I.Q to deal with the craft of Dwyane. Which is why it’s crucial that the Mavs look out for each other on defense. If Lebron gets by his man then the other perimeter defenders have to shift over and take him on. Besides Lebron and Wade the Heat don’t have many threats to score from midrange. They won’t have to worry too much about the other players knocking their shots down when they rotate.
Keeping Miami in the half-court game could win them this series. The Heat often get stagnant on offense and leave it to Lebron or Wade for an ISO on the wings. That’s where their offense struggles most. They score most of their points off fast breaks, and from the free throw line. If the Mavs can force the Heat into a stagnant offense then the series will be much easier.
Then there is the interior defense that needs to step up. Tyson Chandler will really be tested this series. He’s facing off against the persistent rebounder in Joel Anthony. Don’t underestimate him based on size or age. This guy definitely makes an impact. He grabs
rebounds when it matters and is always a pest down low. Tyson Chandler will have to keep an eye on him while trying to stop D-Wade and Lebron’s penetration.
J.J Barea will be a very important piece of the puzzle for Dallas if they want to win. We all know Miami’s bench is one of the worst in the NBA, while Dallas has one of the best benches in the league. He has made players like Russell Westbrook and Brandon Roy look like inexperienced rookies with his dribble penetration and crafty layups.
He’s going to need to lay it all on the line this series when he plays against inexperienced bench players like Mario Chalmers. He’s going to have to know his mismatch at the point guard against Mike Bibby as well. He has to try and drive by him on almost every possession that will bring the interior defense out and give open shots to Jason Terry on the outside.
Then there is the three point shooting. Dallas made it clear that they are a three-point threat to be reckoned with. After knocking down 20 three pointers in the conference semi-finals against Los Angeles they made a statement to future teams that they should be scared of their three point talent. They have to keep that up this series. Miami has great perimeter defenders like Mike Miller, Lebron James and Dwyane Wade. It might be hard for them to penetrate so their three point shot is going to have to be working for them to produce.
You’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned Dirk in this. Well it’s because there is nothing different he has to do, he can’t step up anymore than he already has. He has been clutch, he has knocked down timely buckets, passed well out of the double team and led Dallas to the finals. We all know he is going to take Bosh apart. He has to do it with confidence, he has to realize this may be his last legitiment chance at a title and I think he knows what he has to do.
The Heat have keys that are a bit more simple.
Lebron and D-Wade must take over this series. Due to them being the best players on the court they have to take advantage of their match-ups.
It’s really no competition on the perimeter.
They can’t handle them, the Mavericks don’t have a Luol Deng or a Shane Battier kind of player. They need to run all over them, get them off the dribble, draw fouls. Anything to take over the perimeter.
Then they need Udonis Haslem to step up off the bench. When he produced for the Heat in game 2 against the Bulls the Heat killed in the 3rd quarter. He is such a versatile player and really stretches defenses because he has a mid range shot as well as a mean post game. If he can produce like he did in game 2 then the Heat’s bench production and confidence will go up immensely as well as their chance of winning.
Also, they need James Jones and Mike Miller’s three point production. The Heat’s three point percentage in the playoffs has been terrible their shooting around 30%. The Mavericks bench will kill the Heat’s bench if they can’t make their threes. Making their threes not only keeps the defenders on their toes more, but makes it easier for Lebron or Wade to pass out of the penetration, or when they blow by their man.
It’s these things that will separate the two teams in this series. Whoever can execute these keys the best then they’ll have the best chance of glory and pride.