|Written by Michael|
The Dallas Mavericks hung around most of the game, even building an eight point lead in the third quarter, before the Heat clamped down on defense. And in the fourth quarter, it was all James-Wade time, with the Mavs shooting their worse percentage of the postseason and having a terrible offensive night.
So far in the playoffs, the Mavericks have been offensive giants, hitting jump shots from everywhere on the floor and notoriously tying an NBA record for 20 three-pointers in their Game Four sweep of the Lakers. But last night, neither team was really capable on offense, with the Mavs going 25-of-67 and the Heat shooting 31-of-80. The Heat's 16 offensive rebounds to Dallas' 6 was a deciding factor in getting Miami more shot opportunities.
It took until the fourth quarter for Dwyane Wade to really get into the game, but once he did, Miami had the two best players on the court. James and Wade are two of the best closers in the league, and they did their job last night, with Wade hitting a three-point shot to give :the Heat their largest lead of the game, and James making a three-point play with a dunk and foul shot. Wade also made an assist to get Chris Bosh a late-game dunk, followed by another dunk from James with 38.6 seconds remaining.
It was all just too much for the veteran Mavericks to keep up with. Miami has a still-young team, although their Big Three have enough experience to have developed the poise needed to close out games. Their superior athleticism lets them take over games in the fourth quarter after other teams are worn down by the Heat's crushing defense. And once especially James takes over, it seems like he can do no wrong and every shot will fall for him.
The Mavericks will have to retool now before Game Two on Thursday. Dirk Nowitzki tore a ligament in one of the fingers of his non-shooting hand, and will probably wear a splint for the rest of the series. How will that affect his shooting? Nowitzki is the heart and soul of the Dallas team and by far their best scorer and shooter. But the Mavericks will also have to figure out the rebound game, as they can not keep giving up 16 offensive boards and expect to win, even if they kept the Heat to 38.8% shooting.