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Bet on the NBADespite scoring the Mavericks' final twelve points of the game, Dirk Nowitzki could not power the Dallas team to a win in Game Two, missing his final shot to tie the game at 88.

The Miami Heat narrowly escaped with the 88-86 win, relying on their superb defense to shut down the Mavericks shooting, and leading by as many as 14 points at one time. The Heat now lead the NBA Finals two games to one, with Game Four to be played on Tuesday night in Dallas.

The Dallas Mavericks fell behind again, but this time did not come up with a large enough run to overcome the deficit. A 14-point lead in the second quarter, a 13 point lead in the third quarter, and a seven point lead in the fourth quarter were all put together by Miami Heat runs. The Mavs just could not get the stops on the defensive end as Miami outran them in the open court, and Dallas had a poor shooting night, making only 17-of-49 shots with Nowitzki's 11-of-21 factored out.

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But looking at some of the stats from Game Three, it is hard to see why the Mavericks lost – in fact, their poor shooting was almost entirely the cause of the loss. In almost every other category, they outperformed the Heat. Dallas made it to the foul line more often, grabbed more rebounds, including offensive rebounds, had only one more turnover, and two fewer assists. The Heat, though, had 8 steals and made six more field goals on 43.6% shooting.

Every team so far this postseason has learned that they can not shoot in the low 40s or below 40% and hope to get a victory against the Miami Heat. Their defense has been holding opposing teams to 40% or lower for vast stretches of games, while their star powered offense allows Miami to get a fair number of easy baskets in the paint. This allows the Heat to shoot the ball just barely better enough to pull out wins in close games.

Dallas is usually a better shooting team, and has had trouble playing against the Heat offense, which makes them pay for every missed shot and turnover. The Mavericks will also have to avoid playing from behind throughout these games, allowing the Heat to go up by double digits before going on their own run, and hoping Dirk can take over down the stretch. While that worked in Game Two and looked to be working in Game Three, it is not really a strategy for winning an NBA Championship.

 

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