Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

Posted on: June 4, 2011 7:43 pm
Posted by Royce Young

The Big One:
You just can't ignore history. Not when it's as striking as what Gregg Doyel laid out in his column. Since going to the 2-3-2 format in 1985, teams have split the first two games 11 times. And the winner of Game 3 has won the series all 11 times.

So one of these teams will be facing history after Game 3. Not a fun place to be.

Now of course the obvious edge leans to Dallas, but the Heat were tied (with the Mavs, ironically) for the NBA's best road record this season. And with the way Game 2 went down, you can fully expect a more honed in, focused Miami team. The Heat were embarrassed by their meltdown. Which means they're angry. And angry teams play, well, angry. Which makes them scary.

The X-Factor: Psyche. Who has the edge here, mentally? The Mavs who are headed home with a split after pulling an incredible Game 2 win out of somewhere when they were trailing by 15 in the fourth? Or the Heat, who blew said lead and game, but dominated for 41 minutes and pretty much outplayed Dallas 90 percent of Games 1 and 2?

It seems like you've got to favor the team headed home with a mission accomplished feeling. The Mavs did what they had to do and now they've got home court advantage and three straight games in their place. Realistically, they could finish this thing off at home. But that also brings pressure because the Mavs don't have a lot of room for error here.

The Adjustment: Dallas really adjusted in the fourth quarter against Miami's pick-and-roll by hedging really hard and bringing their big men out to pressure the ball. The Heat's offense basically died because they couldn't get anything going toward the basket. Dallas sent two defenders at LeBron every time he touched it in the fourth, especially when the ball pinned LeBron near a boundary.

Miami has to be able to space the floor better, which is a challenge because Mike Miller isn't healthy. It comes down to Dwyane Wade creating space with his dribble and finding open teammates. Same for LeBron. Those two make everything happens offensively for Miami so they have to key in on spacing and making sure that the offense doesn't stall out because Dallas cranks the pressure.

The Sticking Point: Something I can't really get past: The Mavs came out of Miami with a split and yet, to me, it never really felt like they played their best kind of basketball. Except for the last seven minutes of course. The Heat naturally had a lot to do with it, but Dallas still missed a bundle of shots in Game 2 and never executed all that well offensively. They stayed in the game because Tyson Chandler kept a lot alive inside and they got just enough in transition.

That's a winning plan for Dallas because you can't hold Dirk down forever, but that also tells me this could be a dangerous game for Miami. The Mavs are going to play their best game at some point in this series. And if it's Game 3, a lot is going to be staring the Heat in the face. Including history.
Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:56 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jan 17, 2011
Posted on: June 5, 2011 5:39 pm

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

The Heat played well to frustrate Dallas' offense over all but 6 minutes of Game 2.  Dallas' shooting percentage and 3 point percentage are way down from the previous series'.  Turnovers are up, and Miami has exposed Dallas' rebounding woes.  They have the quickness to pay attention to Dirk and get back to the shooters.  Miami has shot about 47% for the series, which is quite high for a team that isn't a great jump shooting team.

Dallas' weakness is that other than Barea they don't have anyone who can beat Miami off the dribble, and Miami has put Barea in a Rose like vice.  Dirk is capable of putting the ball on the floor and passing, but Miami can also create a lot of turnovers when he does that (as they did in Game 2).  Defensively, Miami has the edge and can win in Dallas.  Dallas' advantage is that when the game gets into the last 2 minutes, they know what they are doing on every possession and Dirk is deadly. Also, Dallas is capable of stringing together a series of perfectly executed offensive possessions and getting good shots when Miami isn't focused.  In addition, Tyson Chandler seems to be creating problems for Bosh but is foul prone.  However, Miami has proven that they too can execute in the final minutes of games, so Dallas will need more than what they provided in game 2 to win another game in this series.

Overall, if you look at how the teams have played, Miami has been better over more minutes than Dallas.  Miami has forced Dallas to play mostly at its pace.  Dallas had one great 6 minute stretch to make this a 1-1 series, but I am doubtful that they can execute at that level for a full game to beat Miami if Miami is playing well.  I know that Bosh and Lebron can both play better, but I doubt that Marion will continue to be as good and Spoelstra will do everything he can to focus on taking Terry out as he did in game 1.  Without Marion or Terry, I don't think Dallas can score enough points to win.  The Heat have kept Dirk to his average and have made him work for those points.  That trend will probably continue.  


Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: June 5, 2011 4:29 pm

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

The Mavs will come out on fire tonight and win by double digits.  I'm sick of the media and game announcers slobbing the knobs of the Heat.  Sure, they have 2 fantastic players, 1 good player and a bunch of scrubs.  I believe the better team will win 95% of seven game series and the Mavs are the better team. 

Since: Dec 14, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 1:41 am

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

Yet more media bias for the Heat.  Typical.  Royce, your notion that the Heat have "dominated 90% of Game 1 and Game 2" is just sheer nonsense.  Was Miami "dominating" in Game 1 when Dallas led at halftime?  Were they "dominating" when Dallas then built an 8-point lead in the 3rd quarter?  Or how about in Game 2?  Dallas led for a vast majority of the first half before having their 9-point lead erased to a tie game at halftime.  Did the Heat dominate then?  Or what about the final 7 minutes of the game?  The truth of the matter is that Dallas has been every bit as good if not BETTER in the first half of both games, as they led at half in Game 1 and were tied in Game 2.  The 3rd quarter has belonged to Miami in both games except for a few minutes in Game 1.  The 4th quarter went to Miami in Game 1 and was split in Game 2.  Break it down by quarters (8 total so far), and the score for "domination" (where one team gained a big edge in points) reads Miami 3, Dallas 2, Tie 3.  The Mavs held leads of 8+ points in both games and went on a 22-5 run to close out Game 2.  Watching both games and looking at both box scores reveal that the Heat have not come anywhere CLOSE to "dominating for 90% of the series so far". 

Again, just another typical biased media member.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2011 1:25 am

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

Disagree, Royce, that Dallas is necessarily going to play their best game to come. Consider how much the media made of the Heat's loss to Chicago in the first game of that series and how strongly the Heat came back to take game two, three, four and five. The Mavs have been simply outplayed sp far. It even feels like an unlikely confluence of events took place to allow them to win one game. The reason: the Heat defense is the best in the league. But in game two they did not get their stops. Perhaps that happens again - probably not. The Dallas defense is good but the Heat offense is better except in that last quarter. Perhaps that happens again - probably not.

This series does not feel like historical statistics will mean a thing. These are two terrific teams that will make adjustments after each game and the back and forth is enticing. It is more likely to go seven than five. It is more likely to have at least one overtime game. It may be that every game will be won or lost with the last good shot. Tomorrow we see the next chapter of a good series.

The NBA needed this. The league has a new swagger as many more are viewing these games than usual. The 'Decision' helped - even if fans tune in to see LeBron lose. They are sticking around for terrific basketball. Funny how that works.

Since: Jan 10, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2011 12:59 am

Playoff Fix: A pivotal Game 3 in Big D

A big factor will be if J.J. Barea can overcome the big height disadvantage and poor offensive showings in the first two games while the floor general Kidd is resting his 38-year old body. The Heat also need to chill with the flash stuff, it's not a South Beach party...not yet at least. 

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