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NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

Posted on: May 31, 2011 5:18 pm
Posted by Matt Moore

J.J. Barea knows LeBron James shut down the MVP Derrick Rose. J.J. Barea knows LeBron James is stronger. J.J. Barea knows LeBron James has a bigger wingspan, a bigger frame, a bigger defensive skillset, and every physical attribute in the book outside of raw speed defensively. 

J.J. Barea still thinks he can get around LeBron James. 

"He's taller and stronger, but I still think I can get by him," Barea said Tuesday before Game 1. 

The diminutive Mavs bench spark plug is not lacking for confidence in speed, nor should he. He's been torching defenders with his abilty to get to the rim all season. When the defense does adjust, Barea  loops under the basket. Barea's made a name for himself by being fearless and aggressive and said he has no plans to change that. 

"I'm attacking. I'm going to stay aggressive. I bring a lot of energy on both ends, and we'll see what happens." 

But with LeBron guarding him? With that wingspan?

"I think Westbrook and LeBron are pretty similar. LeBron's stronger, but we'll see what happens." 

That kind of confidence comes with success, and Barea's had a lot of it, and it's been predicated on speed. The Mavericks, though, aren't a barnburner, up-and-down squad, not even in the playoffs. They're just highly efficient. In this series, however, they may wind up having to try and pick up the tempo a bit more. 

The Mavericks were 20th in pace this season, at an estimated 93.1 possesions per game. The Heat, funnily enough, were right behind them, 21st, at 92.9. And in the playoffs, where everything slows down, we've seen the same comparative trends. The Mavericks are ninth among all playoff teams at 86.6 possessions per game, while Miami is 12th at 86.2. What does those numbers mean? It means neither team has been running Seven Seconds or Less. It doesn't mean either team lacks ability on the break though. Both teams have the same attitude about fast breaks that Rick Carlisle described Tuesday morning. 


There's a gap between running for running's sake (most of those teams you'll find in the lottery or one-and-done in the first round, not naming any names), and being aggressive when the opportunity presents itself. Carlisle said that the same things which spark the Mavericks' break are what the Heat use as their core: defense and rebounding. It's those types of elements that allow for the break, to let Jason Kidd cut down the middle and find an open cutter or a shooter on the perimeter, and that lets Barea get to the basket behind a defense. It's also those things that give LeBron and Dwyane Wade highlight opportunities. And it's those opportunities that will likely have a huge impact in this series. 

Carlisle was particular before Game 1 of saying they weren't going to slow down or speed up the offense. "We're going to play our pace," the Mavericks coach said Tuesday morning. It's a generic quote meant to avoid any strategic leak of information, but it's also indicative of the Mavericks' confidence going into Tuesday night's Game 1. 

The Mavericks will be fast when they need to. They'll grind when they need to. And they'll hope that they can make more plays. Half-court, full-court, defensively, this is going to be a series about speed. Whoever gets to the spot first, wins. 

We know one thing, though. Barea thinks it'll be him, no matter who's guarding him, even if it's LeBron James.

Read more: 2011 NBA Finals | Miami Heat | Dallas Mavericks

Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:52 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

I can blow by Lebron. So lets not get carried away by JJ's statements. If Cuban finally has the goods on Sterns gambling operation, then Dallas will win, if not Kudos to the Heat. 

By the way Lebron, although extremely skilled, lacks these facets to his game; Off the ball offensive game, a wet jumper outside 20 feet, a set shot, low post offensive game, low post defensive game and Zero Rings.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:32 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

Mwangaz you must be smoking something serious ... oh wait YOUR A DALLAS FAN. Your just hoping Barea scores enough to warrant Lebrons attention ... Barea can shoot but so can Mike Miller and I don't think Marion is going to be covering him. Carlisle probably told the kid to call Lebron out but again ... Barea IS NOT faster than Rose, and Lebron stoned him too! And Westbrook is NOTHING like Lebron!

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:26 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

LeBron needs to take Barea seriously. He can hurt the Heat with his ability to shoot 3points. sorry Sheldawg but it is what it is: Barea has good range behind the 3point line. :)

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:23 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

JJ run the air out of LeChoke!

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 8:11 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

1) Lebron will be on Dirk or Terry, Barea isnt enough of an offensive threat to worry about wasting Lebron on him. This is a simple ploy by a coach hoping that Lebron isnt covering Dirk. 2) Chalmers or Wade will be on Berea and he is not that much quicker than either of them. So once again this is a drivel article by CBS!

Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:58 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

Matty, I don't really think he's "calling Lebron out." He's just saying he can get to the rim on LeBron. There's no reason not to believe that? He's way faster than LeBron. I'd be suprised to actually see LeBron covering him anyway-- very awkward matchup...LeBron at 6'8 trying to cover a guy 5'8? Sure he'll be able to reject contested shots but I don't see LeBron being quick enough to guard him. I think that would be a mistake for the Heat.

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:52 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

this is funny haha barea callin out bron? houston we have a problem

brons prob laughin with his boy D Wade right now in the locker room

sheeeeeet kids these days

Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:22 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

In other news, Miami is in Florida and its hotter there than it is in Dallas right now.  I hope this does not stir up trouble either.  Stop making something out of nothing, MEDIA!

Since: Sep 21, 2008
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:22 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

Derrick Rose shoots 6% with Lebron on him... Barrea will be lucky to get 6 points this series if Lebron has anything to say.

Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: May 31, 2011 7:16 pm

NBA Finals Heat vs.Mavericks: A question of speed

J.J. is quick and confident.  He'll leave LeBrawn in his dust quickness wise, but he can't get careless with the ball which is a tendency for him. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or