Ugh. I just want you all to know that it is statistically VERY hard to lose six straight overtime games. But our Dallas Mavericks (13-20) found a way tonight against the Miami Heat (22-8) in a nail biter that no one saw coming. O.J. Mayo led the way with 30 points and six assists for Dallas, while Lebron James reminded everyone why he's the best player alive, just missing a triple double, scoring 32, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 9 assists.
Okay, I'm not being fair. To say the Mavs "found a way" to lose isn't fair. Some poorly timed bad decisions paired with a ridiculous no call resulted in the overtime. I'm getting ahead of myself though. Suffice it to say it was nice to see a solid effort from the guys on the tail end of a road back-to-back, but it wasn't enough.
O.J. Mayo attacked from the opening possession, putting the Mavs up following the tip. Dallas put pressure on the Heat all period, going up by 11 at one point before an 8-0 run saw Miami regain some control. Transition success was the name of the game for everyone from Mayo to Darren Collison, as well as Vince Carter and even Elton Brand, who was on the receiving end of a nice Carter pass for an old fashioned three point play. The quarter ended 30-22, with Dallas punishing the Heat on the glass.
The second quarter saw the Heat push back in a big way. The Heat defense clamped down a bit which flustered the Dallas offense at times. They narrowed the Maverick lead to four points before a fantastic Mayo three pointer, a Collison free throw, and another Mayo jumper pushed the lead back to 10. A Wade and-one, which was a phantom foul (where he simply fell down and got a call) paired with a technical free throw after Dirk correctly argued the refs missed Wade mugging him on a pass, and a couple of turnovers which resulted in Heat points brought the Heat back within two.
Dallas got the lead back to four, when Lebron scored on an offensive rebound. He then hammered Dirk under the basket, but alas, no call. James then took the ball down and got fouled for free throws, tying the score 48-48. A Carter layup followed, then two more Lebron free throws, and a Kaman lay in to end the half had Dallas up 2, 52-50.
Miami took control in the third quarter, getting up 60-54 in a hurry. Vince Carter began to look his age as he took and missed a number of shots, paired with some turnovers. However, while Vince Carter occasionally does too much, he also makes athletic shots, as he scored five quick points after a rough start to the quarter to bring Dallas back within one.
The game then got wild, with each team hitting some crazy shots, but the Heat eventually pushed their lead back to six, with the score 78-72. Rodrigue Beaubois found Dirk for a three, then Dirk found himself being guarded by Ray Allen and converted a beautiful whirling dervish lay in. James countered with what can only be described as an MVP type shot; a fade away corner three as the shot clock expired. Dirk got fouled on the next possession and scored both free throws, as the quarter ended 81-79 in favor of Miami
The final quarter started with Roddy missing two shots in terrible fashion (remember when he was good? You don't? Me either. More on him below). Luckily, the Heat were not able to capitalize too much. Mayo scored his first points of the second half on a gorgeous pull up which was followed by a Shawn Marion bank shot runner. Chris Kaman scored a lay up after a missed travel to bring Dallas within two. O.J. Mayo then hit a three from Orlando at the end of the shot clock to give Dallas the lead. Marion scored on a sideline inbounds back-cut to push the lead to three before a Dwyane Wade lay-in.
The lead stayed at three for a bit before Collison drove to the right and floated an amazing pass to the left corner to a wide open O.J. Mayo to give Dallas a 97-91 advantage. At this point the game gets silly, with Ray Allen answering Mayo's shot with a big three, followed by Vince Carter slashing along the baseline before finding Dirk Nowitzki for three at the top of the key, keeping the Dallas lead at six.
Here, things begin to fall apart for Dallas. Lebron missed a couple of free throws but Dallas wasn't able to extend the lead any. Wade and Lebron both scored lay-ups to cut the lead to two. Dirk made one out of two after getting fouled to make the score 101-98. The Heat missed the next possession, but the following play decided the game. Dirk received a pass and was simply bowled over by Dwayne Wade, who then took the ball and dunked it. It was an absolutely atrocious no-call.
Vince Carter then took a terrible three-point attempt which lead to Miami pushing the ball and getting Shane Battier a wide open corner three to give Miami a 103-101 advantage. Luckily, Dirk bailed out Dallas hitting a fall away to tie the game and send it to overtime.
Ah, yes, overtime. Where Dallas lost, again, for the sixth time this season. The Heat simply began making shots they'd been missing the rest of the game. The Mavericks were lucky to be in it at all, to be honest. The Dallas offense fell apart in a hurry, as Carlisle first opted to sit Dirk before realizing that wasn't a great idea, then paired him with Shawn Marion for a small ball line up which wasn't able to contain the attacking Heat offense. The game was over within a minute of the overtime, and Miami ended up winning 119-109.
-Earlier I mentioned corner threes. Tom Haberstroh of ESPN put out a piece analyzing corner threes, who shoots the most and the least, who makes the most and the least, etc. It's fascinating if you have an ESPN Insider account. As far as Dallas goes, we don't shoot a ton of corner threes and make even fewer. This is specifically due to Dirk's absence; the 2011 title group hit a number of corner threes as they marched to the championship. Putting Dirk in the center of the floor acts like a QB in a spread offense and more often than not, ball reversal out of double teams means we have guys open in the corner. The problem is that the players Dallas does have aren't able to hit the shots very much.
-I may get railed for this but I do not care. There is no way Lebron James and Dwayne Wade played this entire game without committing a single foul. There simply isn't. I counted two times Lebron got away with highway robbery and at least three times Wade didn't get called for something he should have. I've seen and read the various smart people analysis of why Lebron doesn't get called for fouls. It's hogwash. He commits fouls that aren't called because he is a smart savvy player who butters up the refs with kindness and stares them down when things don't go his way. More power to him, of course, but I think it takes away from the game. The Wade no call near the end of the fourth was inexcusable. Even the Miami commentators stifled laughs as they replayed the "steal". Oh well, at least this guy isn't one of our fans. To be clear, I don't think this stuff caused Dallas to lose. I'm just pissed off by it.
-Dallas shot nine free throws in the first half and eleven the rest of the game. Some of that is due to Miami limiting the Dallas fast break offense. But the rest is due to the refs not blowing their whistles.
-Vince Carter looked like a 35 year old. 36 minutes is too many for him and makes him worthless. I know Carlisle feels like he has no other choice but it's not going to look good as the season goes on. He was second on the team on shot attempts with 16 yet only scored 15 points. Rough.
-Mayo shot the ball well. He also got blocked twice on long range jump shots. He also had six turnovers. He really needs to stop turning the ball over so much. It's getting old.
-Some Miami fans were apparently shouting at Chris Kaman thinking he was Brian Cardinal. That's hilarious. It's also sad. Know your NBA players, lower level Miami Heat "fans". FAN UP! Or something.
-Does anyone remember when Roddy was good? He's so bad. Some of his missed shots feel like turnovers. One in particular, a swooping lay up which hit the top of the glass and bounced right to a Heat player, made me yell at the TV.
Okay. I'm done. See you later in the week!
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