Posted by Matt Moore
MIAMI -- Really, when you look at it, what are you going to do?
The Miami Heat busted open the Mavericks' zone. The Mavs' bench was a no-show. The Heat got production from their role players. Chris Bosh played well. And yet the Mavericks were right there, down four going into the final frame. And it really wasn't their defense that let them down. Miami's offense was just too good.
Dywane Wade after the game talked about momentum and how he "knew what (LeBron) was going to do" on a crucial pull-up 3-pointer to end the third. LeBron James talked about rhythm, and how when he saw Wade dribbling for a pull-up 3-pointer and that fell he knew Wade was "feeling good." It's all feel and instinct and trust in these two. It's faith. Faith in one another to make exceptional play after exceptional play down the stretch. You know, the kinds of plays Miami had failed to make time and time again this season, until the postseason. But James says they always knew the day was coming when they would do... this.
"We have guys that have closed out games before. We just had to figure out how to do it together."
Guess what? They figured it out. And now there is nothing more terrifying late in the game than James or Wade screaming down the floor with the ball while the other sprints to the perimeter. James' 3-pointer has always been the Achilles' heel. He went to it time and time again, far too often. But instead of it being a hindrance, it has become a boon, as the Heat continuously bomb from long range. As a comparison, the Heat's effective field goal percentage (factoring the impact of 3-pointers) was 45.6 percent, a terrible mark that reflects a rough shooting night all around. In the fourth quarter, they were over 52 percent. That's how you attack a Dallas defense sending multiple defenders. That's how you let your star players make star plays.
That's how you close out Game 1.
There will be talk of rebounding, and defense, and tactics, and bench play. But this game came down to Dwyane Wade and LeBron James being the best two players on the floor, two of the best in the NBA, and doing things only they can. Pull-up, fadeaway, ice-cold dagger 3-pointers with the clock winding down and a defender right in their face? How do you stop that if they're hitting? The answer is you don't. The Mavericks found that out the hard way in Game 1. Now the pressure's on them to find a more consistent solution in Game 2 beyond some of the suggestions heard at the AA Arena Tuesday night: prayer, the kitchen sink, and turning the lights off before the Heat shoot them out in the fourth.