Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks
The NBA Finals shifts to Dallas with the series tied at one. The Mavericks are 3-poit favorites over the Heat with an over/under point total set at 187.
Seven points in the final 57 seconds, without which his team would be down 0-2 and would have a microscopic chance of conquering the Miami Heat. That is why Dirk Nowitzki is the most fearsome offensive player in the world right now. That is why his team completed its fourth double-digit comeback on the road in these playoffs. And that is why the Dallas Mavericks head home with a chance to take the series lead.
In terms of all-around talent, LeBron James is unparalleled in the game of basketball. Dwayne Wade can get around pretty much any defender and is as lethal as any guard from mid-range to the rim. Wade put up a monster stat line in game two, controlling the game for the first three and a half quarters. But Nowitzki is harder to stop than either of them. With the game tied at 90, Dallas ran a brilliant play to get him open behind the arc. There was little doubt. After a brain fart by Jason Terry on the other end resulted in a shockingly easy Mario Chalmers three-pointer to knot up the game once again, the Mavericks did not mess around.
Obviously there are many Mavericks to laud and Heat players to wag the finger at in such a pivotal comeback (or collapse) at this stage. Blowing a 15-point lead with seven minutes to play requires a team effort. For Dallas, Shawn Marion has been superb thus far at both ends of the floor, providing complimentary offense while checking the LeBron on defense. Jason Terry’s mini-eruption catapulted the epic run, Terry scored a quick six in the minute after Wade pushed the lead to 15.
Miami helped out with poor play on both ends. The complimentary players passed up shots down the stretch, instead getting rid of the ball like it was a venereal disease. That left James and Wade to hoist three-pointers that were poor shots even for superstars. Defensively, the Heat were not aggressive enough on Dirk. They also left Jason Kidd wide open for a key three-pointer.
Now it’s anyone’s series. Miami is still the favorite given that it has more top-end talent, but Dallas has a chance to gain the edge with the next three games at home. The good news for the Heat is that LeBron has not broke through with a monster scoring game, which is inevitable in any series he plays. Tonight could be the night that happens. But I think the Mavericks’ bench will neutralize him with a breakout game of its own. Terry showed sparks last game. Barea and Stojakovic should play better at home, and another steady defensive effort will push the home team to a narrow win and cover. Take the Mavericks minus the three tonight.
Dallas Mavericks -3 Miami Heat