NBA Finals: Mavs stay responsible to take Game 2
Posted on: June 3, 2011 1:47 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 6:03 am
Posted by Matt Moore
Beyond the finger, beyond the comeback, beyond the celebrations, beyond the collapse, Dallas didn't let this thing get out of hand. You want to make a comeback like that, you can't let it get away from you. Give up the lead too early and you'll exhaust yourself trying to recover. The lead ballooned to 15 in the fourth before the Mavs came storming back to take Game 2, but they would have been facing too steep a hill to climb had the Mavs not done their part to keep hanging around.
Dirk Nowitzki couldn't buy a bucket. Jason Terry couldn't find net. Jason Kidd was committing turnovers, for crying out loud. And the Mavericks hung in there. It's a formula that's worked in the playoffs time and time again with experienced teams. Because experienced teams are responsible to one another and are held responsible to one another. In a power structure like Miami, it's different. Not bad, necessarily. After all, we are talking about a tied series. Take for example the Mario Chalmers 3-pointer that tied the game before Dirk Dirked Miami. It was a blown coverage, no doubt. But there was no deflection postgame. Yes, it was a win, which makes it easier. But both Jason Terry and Jason Kidd both said "that was my mistake" on the play. It's not just about the leadership by example. It's about the example, especially down on the road. Dallas needed this win, and they got it because, when the stars were down, other players stepped up.
Shawn Marion's obligations in this series go about 17 different directions. Defend LeBron and Wade on the pick-and-roll. Control the defensive glass. Hit shots when open on the cut. Get in the passing lanes. Stay aggressive, stay aggressive, stay aggressive. Rick Carlisle's aware of what Marion contributed throughout the game when the rest of the team was trying to find themselves.
"Marion was great... He's got the toughest job on the planet right now guarding LeBron James, and you know, he just came off a series where he was chasing (Kevin) Durant around."
Marion isn't just playing a supporting role for these Mavericks. He's doing everything asked and then giving more.
"What we're really asking him to do is give us everything he can defensively," Carlisle said after Game 2. "And the offense he's given us is really helping as well."
Marion's floaters and odd hook shots helped the Mavericks in three key areas. They won the points in the paint, with Marion doing damage in the post and off the cut. Due to his size and athleticism, Marion is the Mavericks' only player who can finish off the catch, driving and with a defender closing. That's a big adjustment from Game 1, and the impact was noticeable. Marion was also out in transition, using that speed to finish including a layup with James chasing him down.
It was Marion's work offensively that put them in a position to close this game out, and his defense down the stretch that cut off the Heat's closers who had been so money lately. Marion was matched up one-on-one with LeBron James twice down the stretch. James went 0-2.
If Marion's offense and work on James wasn't the foundation for keeping the Mavs within range, it was Tyson Chandler adding 14 rebounds and keeping the Heat off the glass.
Dirk Nowitzki spoke about Chandler's impact after the game.
"We did a better job, I thought, with pick-and-roll coverage today. He really stepped out there and impacted the ball."
The Mavericks are so experienced, so solid, it's no wonder these comebacks keep happening, amazing as they are. For the Mavericks, they might be excited about their performance, but not surprised.
"We was poised," Marion said. "We didn't get rattled. And we knew we could take care of business and give ourselves a chance to win this game."
The Miami Heat have been running fun and games during these playoffs.
Welcome to the business of the NBA Finals.
Tags: 2011 Finals, 2011 Heat-Mavericks, 2011 Mavericks-Heat, 2011 NBA Finals, 2011 NBA Playoffs, Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, Chris Bosh, Corey Brewer, Dallas Mavericks, DeShawn Stevenson, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Eddie House, Erick Dampier, Erik Spoelstra, Finals, Ian Mahinimi, Jamal Magliore, James Jones, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Jason Terry, Joel Anthony, Jose Barea, LeBron James, Mario Chalmers, Mark Cuban, Mark Cuban, Miami Heat, Mike Bibby, Mike Miller, NBA Finals, NBA Playoffs, NBA Playoffs, Pat Riley, Peja Stojakovic, Rick Carisle, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler, Udonis Haslem, Zydrunas Ilgauskas