It wasn’t an explosion, it wasn’t the complete dominance and control LeBron James played with in the Conference Finals. Still, this time with a much better Wade, especially in the second half, a hardly rested LeBron James (45 minutes) led the Heat as always when it mattered the most, getting his first NBA Finals win along the way.
As always with Dallas Mavericks games, the team that won the bench battle, won the game. Miami won this one 27-17. Jason Terry did hit a few threes, but the Dallas ball movement didn’t work against the Heat’s amazing rotation on defense. It can’t completely stop Dirk Nowitzki (27 points), but the way the Heat don’t stop working on defense forced him to take harder shots than usual, not letting him get hot, mostly in the fourth quarter.
Two very good teams, but with flaws. Miami’s offense gets stuck too many times, waiting for LeBron James or Wade to save the day. Dallas? too reliant on the way they can spread an offense and release shooters. They did hit tres (9-20), but were terrible from everywhere else, succumbing to the Heat defense, shooting 37.3% from the field. The Mavs can’t win like this. Well, maybe with Nowitzki Magic. It didn’t show up last night. Haslem, Anthony and Bosh made it very hard for to get comfortable, harder than anyone has in this postseason.
Miami didn’t showcase much better numbers – 38.8% from the field, Chris Bosh with 5-18 from the field (19 points), two starters finishing scoreless. Didn’t matter. Big threes all night, including from Wade and James when the game was on the line, eliminating Barea and Stojakovic, not allowing Jason Kidd to play like we’re a decade ago and influence the game. It comes down to three words – Defense, Defense, Defense.
Someone has to step up for Dallas, someone to kind of rattle the Heat’s defense. Chicago didn’t have that one player to do it, and Derrick Rose crumbled under the load of carrying the team’s offense on his shoulders. Miami’s offense jammed too often last night, especially when Bosh got the ball on the left side, wasting too much time off the clock. Wade and LeBron were there to carry them through, a double privilege Dallas don’t have. Nowitzki needs a wingman to score. He won’t win this series by himself.