Blog Entry

NBA Finals: Mavericks still kings of the comeback

Posted on: June 3, 2011 2:10 am
Edited on: June 3, 2011 6:00 am

Posted by Matt Moore

Down 15 with 6:32 to go, it looked over. There would be no drama, not against this Heat team, with their defense, with their stars, with their closers.


Down one with 1:37 to go, this wasn't happening again. It couldn't. You can't keep making these types of comebacks in the playoffs, and the Heat were a better, more experienced team than that. 


Tie-game, Dirk with the ball, a foul to give for Miami. The double would come, the Heat's defense would hold, and the superstars would have their say.


Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. Left-handed, no-handed, it doesn't matter. Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks are the Kings of the comeback, and long may they reign. The talk in the postgame pressers was about 2006 and how the Heat had done this exact same thing to the Mavericks. The Mavs aren't aware of that. 

"During the game, you don't think about anything like that," Nowitzki said. "You're caught in the moment as a player out there. You compete right there. You take every position like it's the last in The Finals. "

The Mavericks keep doing this because it builds off the experience that they have and the confidence they play with. The mighty Thunder were felled because eventually emotion is a crutch. The Lakers had their leg swept out because the Lakers were too used to success. And the Heat found out the hard way that eventually the tough shots don't fall and the answer isn't to take more of them. It's to make adjustments. Instead, the Heat elected to get away from everything that had worked. Doubling Dirk Nowitzki had been the answer all night, as they forced misses and turnovers. The Heat went into one-on-one defense against Dirk on the final possessions. He burned them. 

A comeback isn't some massive wave of offense. It's, as Erik Spoelstra would love to say, a grind.

"We kind of chip away one possession at a time" said the Big German. "We talked about getting stops. That was the big thing."

Rick Carlisle urged the players not to get caught up in getting it all back at once. 

"The key thing is to understand that there's no six-point plays. You're going to have to do it one step at a time with a stop, and then a good shot, and then hopefully a score, and then a stop."

The Mavs haven't been a great defensive team these playoffs, outside of these runs which have netted them so many wins. They lock in, they lock down, they lock out, and they walk out with the win.

But is this sustainable? Can the Mavericks keep counting on these kinds of performances?

That depends on if the bounces go their way, as Nowitzki suggested, and if the team continues to believe, which Rick Carlisle has been tattooing on reporters' heads this week. After Game 2, he was as vocal about it as ever. 

"If you're going to win a championship, you've got to have the wherewithal to hang in there when things are tough. You have to keep believing," Carlisle said. "All year our guys have believed. And tonight was another good example."


Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: June 3, 2011 10:48 am

NBA Finals: Mavericks still kings of the comeback

pixie dust? there were no smoke and mirrors used. people were making similar excuses for the thunder. dallas played lock down defense, forcing the mighty heat into tough jumpers. technically, (outside of transition baskets), the heat have settled for a lot of tough jumpers thus far in this series. the difference is that in the final seven minutes, those amazing shots stopped falling for them. that's it. that is the difference. dallas has played good defense throughout, but miami's amazing superstar shot making finally cooled.

everyone ignores the fact that shots dallas has made throughout the playoffs weren't falling. credit the heat defense for some of them, but dallas has missed wide open looks, which is very unusual as well. i will say it once more. these are two excellent collections of players. one is a team, the other is a collection of players. it's a coin flip series. who's shots fall, and who's shots don't... that's what will determine the winner of each of these games and eventually the series.

i'm not buying into the idea that one is better than the other. they each have their strengths and weaknesses... but i think it makes for a very even matchup.

Since: Apr 9, 2011
Posted on: June 3, 2011 10:05 am

NBA Finals: Mavericks still kings of the comeback

So glad the Mavericks won! Now we're going back to Dallas, where the Heat are now backed up into a corner!

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: June 3, 2011 5:01 am

NBA Finals: Mavericks still kings of the comeback

dirk is nuts. that being said, i'm not sure how long it will be before they run out of pixie dust... i really hope it's their year. 

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