In a battle of the last two NBA Champions, the Miami Heat prevailed a surprisingly close game 110-104. Filled with classic performances from all superstars, Dwyane Wade stole the show with 17 points, 8 assists, and 8 steals. Once and future MVP Lebron James added 39 points on a cool 14 of 18 from the field. Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 28 points of his own on a mere 12 shots.
The first quarter was a wild, back and forth affair, with Dirk hitting back to back threes on the opening possessions. Lebron answered each with a strong move of his own near the rim. The Mavericks stayed alive early with hot shooting from the outside, hitting five threes in the quarter, including contributions from Jose Calderon and Vince Carter. Monta Ellis had a bit of a wild start, forcing the issue at the rim without being able to convert. On his third drive, he managed to find a diving Samuel Dalembert for a dunk. Defensively, Dallas could do little to stop the spread attack from the Heat. Lebron James operated at will off the dribble, in the post, and in transition, finishing with 13 in the quarter. The Mavericks finished the quarter up 32 to 21 after an end of quarter put back from DeJuan Blair.
The Mavericks started the second in horrendous fashion, with Gal Mekel turning the ball over three times in five minutes, effectively jump starting the Heat transition attack. Unfortunately, he was hardly the only Maverick with turnover problems, as Vince Carter, Dirk, and Ellis each had at least one troublesome turnover. Most were simply poor decision making from Dallas, as the Mavericks kept trying to sneak high risk passes past the read and react defense of the Miami Heat. The Mavericks managed to hang around, never letting the lead get past ten. Miami effectively shut Dirk out of the offensive flow, limiting him to one shot attempt in the quarter, opting to either double Dirk or leave Lebron in one on one coverage. Dwyane Wade put on a clinic in the quarter, hitting five of six shots in the period. Miami led at half 60-51.
The third period saw Dallas whittle away at the Heat lead by playing slower, smarter basketball. This resulted in far fewer live ball turnovers to start the quarter and forced Miami to play half court basketball. A Calderon three at the 3:19 mark finally gave Dallas the lead before Lebron decided to take over. After Dallas worked their way back into the game with a 19-4 run, Lebron lead a 16-6 run of his own to close out the quarter. A series of pick and rolls with Norris Cole and James forced Ellis to guard Lebron one on one, which played heavily to Lebron's favor. Miami took a 86-78 lead into the final period off of a killer James jumper on the last possession.
Dallas managed to hang around in the fourth, keeping the game within 6-10 points for the first part of the fourth. A Calderon three pulled Dallas within a single possession before Rashard Lewis buried a corner three to put Miami back up by six. DeJuan Blair and Vince Carter manage to work out two high-low combinations (both fed by Blair of all people) to keep Dallas within five . A Carter fade away pulled Dallas within three before Lebron buried yet another jumper to extend the lead. On the ensuing Dallas possession Mario Chalmers was ejected after a forearm shiver that connected with Dirk's face; Dirk hit both free throws and a jumper on the next possession to bring Dallas within one.
But it wasn't to be, despite continuing to hang around, the Mavericks simply could not take the lead. An old school pump and go jumper from Dirk brought Dallas within one again at the 2:31 mark before the wheels came off. Blair committed a turnover near the baseline on one possession. Monta turned it over on the following possession trying to take Norris Cole off the dribble. DeJuan Blair got tied up on an entry pass with Wade and lost the jump ball. The next possession after that Ellis took a truly horrible pull up three pointer after holding the ball for at least 8 seconds. The final possession of any consequence Ellis caused a Dirk turnover with yet another wild jump pass that Lebron picked off. Miami escaped 110-104
-24 turnovers. Stop with the jump passes, it's not that hard.
-Dirk had 12 shots and 28 points. What is wrong with the Dallas guards to where they don't just hunt for him when he's on fire? Dallas didn't have another point of consequence after the final Dirk shot at 2:31. That rests squarly on Rick Carlisle, Monta Ellis, and Jose Calderon.
-DeJuan Blair is hard to be mad at, because weird stuff happens when he's near the ball. Sometimes its good. Sometimes it's bad.
-Gal Mekel found out the hard way that jump pass bullsh*t doesn't work when you're playing the best athletes alive.
-Jae Crowder is a deer in headlights outside of Texas. Love his enthusiasm, but Lebron lived in his head during the short time he was on the floor.
-Good God, Lebron is good. He could've had 60 points. I hope everyone is aware of that. He picks and chooses when to kill teams.