Blog Entry

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Posted on: May 30, 2011 10:57 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 11:18 pm
The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals in Florida on Tuesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.

One Big Thing: Following Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said that the Miami Heat were "Hollywood as hell." The entire world immediately agreed with him. Whether that's a positive or negative attribute, one thing is clear: The NBA Finals are basketball's biggest stage and the Heat give off the air of a team that is poised to seize that stage. Game 1 will be decided by whether the Dallas Mavericks can withstand the initial surge of momentum the home team possesses in such a long awaited game. The Mavericks have already won in tough environments during the playoffs, beating the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder in arguably the two loudest, craziest NBA arenas. They also walked into the original basketball Hollywood -- the Staples Center in Los Angeles -- and stole both Games 1 and 2 from the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. If there's a team in the NBA that figures to be ready from jump amid hostile mayhem, it's these Mavericks.  

The X-Factor: If Dallas hopes to beat Miami four times out of seven games, they'll need to win the three-point shooting battle, and win it big. The X-factor to watch in Game 1 isn't necessarily what percentage Dallas shoots or how often they chuck it up from long distance, but how Miami is able to defend the three-point line. Conventional wisdom dictates that the Heat have the athleticsm, quickness, basketball IQ and discipline to provide help to Dirk Nowitzki or on pick-and-roll situations and still close out hard to weakside shooters to consistently contest shots. The Mavericks' passing picked apart the Lakers and left the Thunder confused at times. Will there be a learning curve for Miami? Will they be able to effectively force spot-up shooters to create off the dribble? Will that be enough to throw a wrench into Dallas' fine-tuned offensive machine?

The Adjustment: Both teams face the same basic, huge adjustment: Defending a superstar caliber player who is producing at the top of his game. The Mavericks overcame teams led by LaMarcus Aldridge, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. All three had flashes offensively, but none was able to sustain consistent, volume production over the course of their series against the Mavericks. Aldridge was the victim of swarming defense; Bryant settled far too often from the perimeter; and Durant was regularly muscled off the ball and away from his spots. The Heat, meanwhile, arguably had it even easier on this point. First, they faced the Sixers, who lack an elite No. 1 scorer. Then, they defeated the Boston Celtics, who lost their best offensive weapon when Rajon Rondo dislocated his elbow, limiting his effectiveness and ability to create offensive opportunities for the Big 3 of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Finally, they faced an elite scorer in Derrick Rose who was overburdened by the lack of a consistent No. 2 and No. 3 scoring option. They were able to overload on Rose and then sic LeBron James on him, daring anyone else to make them pay. The rest of the Bulls came up very small.

The Mavericks must now deal with not one, but two, superstar high-end scorers in James and Dwyane Wade, both of whom are aggressive with the ball in their hands and have recently shown that they are focused on create high-percentage opportunities. The Heat will have to deal with Nowitzi, an elite, multi-dimensional scorer, but also keep track of secondary scoring options like Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea. Which team will handle their new defensive challenge more effectively?

The Sticking Point: 2006 lingers. There can't be a Mavericks-Heat Finals without some discussion of the officiating. While the Mavericks have gotten excellent contributions from their bench throughout the playoffs, guys like Stojakovic, Barea and even Brendan Haywood are going to wind up being major defensive liabilities if they see extended court time, especially simultaneously. Marion and center Tyson Chandler, in particular, will need to play defense very intelligently to avoid getting dinged for quick fouls. The Mavericks starters match up fairly well with the Heat's. Take out a piece or two unexpectedly for a six minute stretch, though, and Miami is more than capable of going on a quick double-digit run to wrest control of the game. Everyone expects James and Wade to get free points at the free throw line. The question is whether those trips take a second toll by throwing off Dallas' rotations. For the sake of this series, hopefully both teams are allowed to play.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:04 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

cusefan has the right analysis. Its going to come down to rebounds in a big way.  LeBron and Wade can always score -- they are lethal. Dirk can always score and Terry and Kidd have lately been playing incredible. They can score.  But, can Chandler dominate the paint? he should.......Miami has bosh and joel anthony,...... neither big enough to contend with Chandler.  But Chandler is an up and down player.  Heywood is NOT a liability however....contrary to this acticle. So Dallas is deep inside.  And Im guessing how the refs call this is going to determine a lot. Savatori is reffing tonight.....a guy with a quick whistle. Too bad.  But it can help Dallas too.....if they try to rough up dirk (which is what I would try).  Mavs in five.

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:30 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Wade is not an x-factor.  He can win games by himself when his game in on.

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:28 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Kidd and the Matrix?   That's your analysis?

Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:22 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Lebron and Wade get their points no matter what.  Dirk and Terry do the same.  Bosh is overrated (good, not great) and will be neutralized by Chandler for the most part.  The series comes down to Kidd and Marion being the difference makers and winning the series for the Mavs.  Mavs in 6. 

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 6:34 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Letz go DIRK DIGGLER and Dallas!! EWWW I am rooting for a Dallas team.... I am now going to bathe in Hydrochloric acid.....

Since: Sep 29, 2010
Posted on: May 31, 2011 6:26 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

Bibby is a dinosaur who has nothing left but a couple of 3 point attempts if hes wide open. If he tries to drive Chandler or Haywood will get it out. Not to mention his defense is nonexistent. My guess is Rileys puppet(Spo) will play more Chalmers or no Pg, like they did the end of the bulls series. Wade or Lebron can bring it up and Lebron is a good enough passer to offset the lack of a real pg. The question is whether the stiffs Miami has down low can control Chandler from dunking over the top and killin ghem on the glass. That will be the key to the series in my opinion. If it comes down to who has the better options overall, dallas should win, but we all know that 2 superstars can change that thinking. Wades health is also a question as chicago beat him up  a little bit and he didnt look 100%. Should be very interesting I just hope dallas doesnt lay an egg.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:54 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

The Mav's have the best player in the NBA to go along with the best starting five. They should win. However, we are talking about David Stern's NBA where the Heat were already handed one unearned series win. If by the grace of God, we get something resembling an honest night's work out of the officials in the first two games, the Mavs will either sweep or win in five. If we get typical officiating, the Mav's should win in five or six. If we are treated to the same type of officiating as we saw in the series with Chicago, the Heat might win in six or seven. So, what are the odds that the officials will defy Stern and do their jobs? My guess is about a 1,000 to 1. They will likely let James continue commit 8 to 10 offensive fouls a game to go with another 6 on defense and this will be a series.

Since: Apr 8, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:56 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:36 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

"Lebron just like anyone else was tired of losing so he joined a good team that not only has another superstar but a team that plays great defense. "
If that was what happened then everyone would be fine ... but LeBron, Wade, and Bosh colluded behind the backs of the NBA, breaking many regulations, and somehow got the Heat and the League to buy into it. The Celtics, Lakers, Spurs ... etc built the teams ... they did not assemble them in a back room shady deal.
But what is done is done ... I anticipate a very fun and emotional series!

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:25 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Heat host Mavericks for Game 1

At least you will be stronger after the game!! GO MAVS!! Mavs in 6!!....If you do this for each loss....Those 400 push-ups should help with the frustration. Good luck!!

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