A Dirk Nowitzki shot of his choosing to tie the game. Its what Dirk and the Mavericks both wanted.
It clanged off the back iron. It doesn't change what Dirk did, his twelve straight that carried them to the brink of victory.
Not over, though. Not over the brink, but also, the series is not over. Certainly, things may look glum, but its not exactly a new feeling. Things weren't looking so bright at the end of the regular season, either. Anyone betting on a Finals run then? After Brandon Roy Roy'd the Mavericks, was anyone thinking they'd get this far? The Heat are an insanely talented group of players who don't always play together. The Mavericks are a great team who turn moderate talent into great execution.
We saw in Game 2 the individuals playing to close the game. Here in Game 3, the Heat came out as a team, and stayed that way late. It was not James or Wade taking the eventual game winning shot, but an open Chris Bosh, free because of a teammate's screen. They found ways to utilize insane talent in a team based setting throughout the game. Even Chalmer's fantastic talent at hitting buzzer beating threes after committing a backcourt violation was worked into the offense.
Its hard to encapsulate this game in a few paragraphs, though. It was so up and down, so back and forth. A run here, and a run there. There was no balance, no steadiness. The pace ramped up and down gradually. The turnovers ebbed. The shots made varied from too easy to "holy crap, no way!" to none at all. The defense followed an easy blow-by with tight coverage and a contested jump shot.
88-86. There was no symmetry, nor was there joy in Dallas. The mighty Mavericks gave effort, but in they end, they simply struck out.
- LeBron and Wade are just a handful. Its easy to say "make them take jump shots", except that A) they blow by you even then and B) they both hit jumpers now. Chris Bosh hitting the game winner was because of the double up top.
- Miami can double Dirk effectively and constantly because their athleticism allows them to recover. They will give up shots, but usually contested ones, and any chance to drive is almost always stopped. Dallas lacks the athleticism, and really are facing two people they have to double. Its much more difficult.
- I think after the three games, its obvious that Miami is just so much more talented. Like I said above, though. Dallas is an unselfish, unified team who has the ability to force mistakes from an arrogant, somewhat immature Heat team if they play right.
- Dallas outrebounded Miami by six.
- Chalmer's buzzer beater was bad enough, but him draining three's like it was nothing was just a back breaker. Its really been all series that the supposed weakness of the Heat, outside shooting, has almost been a strength. It hurt them late in Game 2, but other than that the three ball has been a huge weapon for Spoelstra's squad.
- J.J. Barea HAS to get it going. That offensive spark is missing, and the bench is suffering. Remember, his penetration in this postseason has resulted in him scoring, but he's also really helped generate offense when he kicks it. Many of the wide open shots against LA and OKC were because of his penetration. He's struggling to do so in this series, and when he does, the Heat hardly respect him.
- Is it time to give Corey Brewer or Rodrigue Beaubois a short stint and see if they can make an impact? Brewer, maybe. I think its still no on Roddy.
- Or...just play Stevenson more. He's been stroking his shot, and we've seen he's lethal when he's hot. He provides great defense, can get in people's heads, and is actually an able passer.
- The Mavericks need to win three of their next four, with two on the road. It sounds tough, but it doesn't sound impossible. The Mavericks have made adjustments all season and especially postseason, they just have to find what it is. The Heat make it hard, but even I can see some weaknesses that Dallas can gameplan around even more to exploit. You might want to look for an article about a couple of Miami weaknesses coming up tomorrow or Tuesday. Until then, just stay off the ledge. It worked for Miami fans in 2006.