Tag: Mavs Heat Game 1

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game One

Video: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade take over late


It was one fo the interesting questions coming into Game 1: Both the Heat and Mavericks had dominated late in games in the playoffs. That’s why both had advanced, both executed under pressure. So who would win the battle when they faced off.

LeBron James and Dywane Wade would. We should have guessed that.

The two of them made plays down the stretch — and combined on an ally-oop — to give the Heat their 92-84 win and a 1-0 lead in the series. Watch for yourself as they take over late.

Dirk Nowitzki injures finger on non-shooting hand

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game One
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In the fourth quarter of Game 1, Dirk Nowitzki made a clean strip of Chris Bosh as he was driving toward the basket, but he got called for the makeup foul after a bad whistle on the other end.

To add to the problems, Nowitzki tore a tendon in his left index finger on the play.

This is his non-shooting hand and he will wear a splint on it, he said. An X-ray came back negative.

Nowitzki didn’t sound too concerned after the game, as reported by Royce Young at CBSSports Eye On Basketball.

“Well it was just a freaky play, “Nowitzki said. “Bosh got a bounce pass and I stepped in. I thought I stripped him clean and then I kind of looked down and I couldn’t straighten my finger out anymore.

“I guess it will be all right. I have to wear a split probably for the rest of the playoffs, for a couple of weeks. But it will be all right. It’s on my left hand, so I’ll be all right for Thursday.”

We’ll have to see if this impacts his ball handling, passing and other parts of his game. And while this is his non-shooting hand, it may well impact his shot also (or at least force him to adjust). Dallas cannot have him be just average this series, so any finger injury is of concern.

NBA Playoffs: Dallas shooters go cold… or was it the Heat?

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game One

It will be the “chicken or the egg” question out of Game 1, and we will not really know the answer until we are well along in this series.

Did the Dallas Mavericks just miss shots, or did the Miami Heat make them miss?

Because the key Dallas shooters were shooting like they played for the Bulls. Jason Terry was 3-of-10, J.J. Barea 1-of-8, Peja Stojakovic 0-3, Jason Kidd 3-of-8. In the two previous series, the Mavericks shot 44.5 percent from 10-to-23 feet, but they were 4-of-14 in Game 1 (28.6 percent). That all was key in Miami’s 92-84 win.

“We had opportunities we just didn’t take advantage of it,” Jason Terry said in a postgame interview broadcast on NBA TV. “Defensively you hold them to 92 points, but offensively that was just a disaster for us….

“You have to finish at the basket, you have to make your wide open shots and we didn’t get that accomplished tonight.”

These were the kind of looks that Dallas hit to beat the Trail Blazers, Lakers and Thunder. Barea got loose in the lane but his floaters rimmed out. Terry got good looks at threes but they fell short.

If you’re a Mavs fan, you hope it was just Game 1 nerves, just one of those nights.

Because the other explanation is that the Heat threw off their rhythm.

Miami is the most athletic and aggressive defense the Mavericks have faced. Oklahoma City and Los Angeles were both plenty long, but neither played with the aggression that the Heat did. The Lakers never bothered to close out on shooters, Miami closed out fast. Shawn Marion curls off a pick and Dwyane Wade still blocks the shot. Shooters felt footsteps.

It looked to be that way with Terry — the closeouts of the Heat seemed to rush him, throw him off his rhythm.

“They are a very good defensive team and it was tough to get shots all night,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said in a postgame interview broadcast on NBA TV. “Both teams shot under 40 percent, so that gives you some idea of how difficult good, clean shots are going to be to get in this series.”

Then on top of all those missed shots — 42 of them — the Mavericks grabbed just six offensive rebounds. Miami got second chance opportunities the Mavs did not.

For Dallas to score enough to win Dirk Nowitzki has to have a big night (he had 27 and was solid), but Jason Terry and one other player have to join him. Shawn Marion had 16 points on 12 shots to help out the cause.

But if Terry and the other Mavs shooters are not more efficient, this series will end early.

Dallas needs to play at a faster pace, not get sucked into a grind-it-out defensive game. They need to run sets that make Jason Terry a playmaker, not just a spotup shooter.

Unlike the Bulls, we know Dallas can knock down open shots. That they didn’t was either just one of those off nights or it was Miami’s athleticism forcing them to rush. Miami will be the same relentless defense in Game 2 Thursday.

That’s when we’ll start to get a clearer picture of what went wrong for Dallas.

NBA finals Game 1 preview: It’s more than LeBron and Dirk

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game Five

It’s one thing to watch the tape and read the report.

Dallas knows it has to turn Dwyane Wade and LeBron James into contested jump shooters, not let them drive or get going in transition. Miami knows it needs to front Dirk Nowitzki, force him to put the ball on the floor going right and bring the quick double once the ball is on the floor.

It’s another thing entirely to execute it.

These two teams reached the finals because they have executed better than anyone else in their conference. Both have played amazing in the fourth quarter. Now comes Game 1 of the NBA finals and while both sides know what to do, pulling it off will be the key.

We’ve given you a lot of previews and things to think about, but to me here are the real keys. The ones besides Dirk and LeBron

Chris Bosh will be big for the Heat if he gets going. Dallas has struggled with stretch fours or any big who can step out and knock down a jumper, the most recent being LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland. Miami is going to use Bosh to pull Tyson Chandler away from the rim and if that works it opens up driving lanes for Wade and LeBron. If Chandler sags off Bosh, the Heat have to make him pay for that.

On the other side, how will Dallas’ shooters spread the floor on the Heat. Miami was able to slow Derrick Rose way down by putting up a wall of defenders in front of him, packing the paint. Chicago could not make the Heat pay for that by knocking down threes, the Mavericks must. How well those shots are contested and how many fall will be key.

How well does the Dallas zone work? Miami’s going to see it, if they dice it up they won’t see it for long but if they struggle they will see a lot of it.

Dallas is going to really test the Heat’s pick-and-roll defense. Dallas has also not faced a team that uses guys this athletic to defend the pick-and-roll. That is going to be an interesting battle.

Can Dallas’ bench have a big impact, or does the fact they will always see at least one and usually two of Miami’s “big three” change that equation.

When it is tight late, which team is going to make the most plays. Both have been fantastic these playoffs in the fourth quarter, but something has to give starting Tuesday night.

We’re not going to get all the answers tonight, but we’ll get some. We’ll start to get an idea. Come on by the PBT live blog starting at 9 pm Eastern and we’ll have some fun.

PBT’s plethora of Heat vs. Mavs previews — plus a live chat

NBA Finals Preview
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While you’ve spent the weekend barbecuing or water skiing, we’ve been pumping out the NBA finals previews. Breaking down the Heat vs. Mavericks.

And there is more to come — including a live chat tonight during Game 1 (starting about 9 pm Eastern). Come on back by PBT tonight at chat during the game, starting with us all mocking Michael McDonald’s singing of the national anthem (if he gets the words wrong will anybody be able to tell?) and going on through the game.

But for now, here are some things to check out.

PBT did a position by position breakdown of the finals and matchups.

We gave you the five keys for each team.

We did our traditional finals preview.

We even talked about the odds and favorites to win finals MVP.

There was a discussion of how this is a shot at redemption for many Mavericks players, and how you may not like them but you have to respect the Heat.

There’s even a vote up for which team you think will win the NBA finals.

And there’s more to come today, including a Game 1 preview, then the live chat tonight. So get ready for the finals, you’ve got plenty to read, then come back by and chat during the game. It will be more fun than water skiing. We promise.