Blog Entry

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

Posted on: June 10, 2011 1:51 am
Edited on: June 10, 2011 6:46 am
 


DALLAS -- If you remember, all the way back when this whole thing started, Dwyane Wade said something that, at the time, seemed arrogant. Now it just looks ignorant.

"The hard part is out of the way," Wade said when the Heat pulled off the free-agency coup of a lifetime, turning the Heat into a super-powered super-contender with super-expectations and super-criticism. The quote has been revisited time and time again as a reminder of what this thing looked like back in July.

But after Game 5 it was put in particularly stark relief. Because, for the Heat, nothing has been that easy. From the first loss to Boston in the season opener, to the injuries suffered to Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller, to the inability to grab the top playoff spot, to two playoff series that looked easy on the outside and were tough, gritty affairs on the inside, all the way to the daggersaurus Jason Terry morphed into with 33 seconds left ... the entire season has been an unexpected battle for Miami.

Think about that. A team with three All-Stars. Three superstars. Everything handed on a free agency platter, what was supposed to be the "hard part." 

And things don't look any easier for the final game, or games, of their season. That much is clear after Game 5.

But what might be of most concern is that, as the series has gone on, things have actually gotten harder for the Heat, and easier for the Mavericks. If Game 5 represented anything, it was the Mavericks' offense finally busting out of the muzzle the Heat's defense had put on it after a playoff run where they had looked nearly unstoppable at times. The first four games were more than a grind, they were a desperate scratch and claw up a sheer cliff. Game 5 was a cannon fire contest and the Heat did not have the guns. As the Mavericks offense broke out, it became about open looks for the Mavericks while the Heat were running head-first into walls. Even as Miami managed to get five players in double figures, along with some bench production, the Mavericks had already gotten out of their corral. And the Heat could not wrangle them again.

An open look for Jason Kidd. A contested 3-pointer in rhythm for Jason Terry. Shots the Heat need the Mavericks to miss, finally fell. After Game 5, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra credited the Mavericks' early work in creating open dunks and looks inside for getting the Dallas into a rhythm from which there was no looking back.

"I think what led to (the late 3-point shooting) were a lot of 'relief' points they got in the first half," Spoelstra said, referring to points created when the defense collapsed on a ball handler and the rotation broke down. "And we talk about this all season long. We try to take away the relief. Easy opportunities in the open court, easy opportunities right at the rim. They were getting all of that in the first half. And the psychological part of that is naturally the basket starts to look bigger."

It certainly did to the Mavs, who shot a blistering 68 percent from 3-point range. They shot an effective field goal percentage (factoring the added weight of 3-pointers) of 65.9 percent, which is the equivalent of landing 48 haymakers in a boxing match. They blistered the Heat by creating open looks inside and then capitalizing on the reactions on the perimeter.

Before Game 4, DeShawn Stevenson said the Heat "don't want to play a tough game." In Games 4 and 5, the Mavericks made the Heat play that tough game, and the result is two losses. Even with an improved offensive output in Game 5, the Mavs offense made the Heat pick a poison, and no matter what they chose, it was toxic. It reminded you of that scene in "The Princess Bride" where the Man in Black poisons both glasses of wine. No matter what the Heat chose, they died from the adjustment.

Spoelstra said after the game that "nothing that [the Heat] have achieved this year has been easy" and they are "certainly not going to start [being easy] now." It's a long way from where the Heat were when Dwyane Wade and LeBron James thought this ride would be a breeze.

Instead, it's only gotten harder.

The only question left concerns Miami's need to win two games, back-to-back. Has winning a title against a team they have been unable to do beat consecutively, even at home where the three superstars first took the stage together, become simply too tough for the Heat?

If it has gotten too hot for the Heat, they won't have to worry about getting out of the kitchen.

Dallas will be happy to throw them out.

Comments

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 11, 2011 9:48 pm
 

Media making it easy for LeBron and Dwyane

Wow, even you Matt, succumb to the Heat-baiting hatred for LeBron and Dwyane. Can you lighten up? The only issue is that a very good and deep Dallas team is ahead 3 games to 2 for the Heat. The reality is both teams have played well including LeBron and Dwyane. Dallas has not lost more than two games to any opponent in this year's playoffs. Should the Heat win game 6 at home they will prove to be the best team Dallas has faced. It is not about LeBron and Dwyane. It is about Miami. It is not about Jason and Dirk. It is about Dallas. When Dallas makes a great play, LeBron choked. When Miami makes a great play, Miami should be doing that every possession.

What makes it amusing is that all this press is making LeBron the most money of any player in basketball. Controversy is bringing viewers to watch the NBA in record numbers. Controversy is making LeBron's sponsorships the most lucrative in the league. Hate him? That's fine with him. He makes more money. Love him? That's fine as well as the money rolls in. The only thing that hurts LeBron is indifference. That is not going to happen. He is playing you and Gregg and others like a concert violinist playing a solo. He has you exactly where he wants you.

As for me, I can't help but admire two players who play a very high level of basketball and make it pay for their investment accounts. I can't help but laugh at all the hand wringing that comes from the media. Keep it up, folks., It is working fine.



Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 8:52 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

Here's something easy for the Heat - lose the series in 6.  This team is done.  LeBron has shown us before he is a quitter and Wade with his bad hip and cough (haha idiot) won't get it done.  Mavs have proven they are the better closing team although the Heat are getting pretty good at dropping half court shots to end quarters. 



Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 7:44 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

First off, I think a lot of people, myself included, underrated the Mavs.  But the LeBron issue, and wade, too, is fatigue. The problem with three guys like over 40 min a game is that they wear down.  History in the playoffs supports this thesis. LeBron  has NO spring, cant jump both feel off the ground it looks like. Wade is dinged up.........and the mavs have that bench.......dirk gets longer rests.  When Kidd goes out Terry comes on, or Barea. Another thing nobody has mentioned is DeShaewn Stevenson. They guy has  been a monster on defense. He's guarded almost everyone on the Heat at one point or another. What an underappreciated player.  And then there is Chandler inside. Too much for Anthony.....and like the laker series, Chandler got more and more confidence.  I say its over in six.



Since: May 13, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:42 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

you must be really stupid to not understand the basic context of my statement they would have had james and bosh without doing the sign and trade idiot they gave up all those number 1 draft picks just to add another year on his contract can you understand that ? probably not you dont even know what a contract is much less what a sign and trade is



Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:10 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

"It's funny how some people think the Mavs have no chance of winning this series in Miami. They've won there once already and the Heat have blown it in the 4th quarter in all three losses. Dirk and the Mavs are on a mission and they aren't going to let the big three get in their way. I'm tired of hearing how old and washed up the Mavs are, because they're the ones who are up 3-2 in this series."

Any Heat fan (and I'm one) who has been watching this series and especially the last two games and thinks it's a slam dunk that the Heat win two @ home are idiots....





Since: May 27, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 4:07 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

Hey Spinachmouth - yeah, so stupid that it got them to the NBA Finals in the first year, even without a true center or a really good point guard....you MORON



Since: May 23, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 3:28 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

"Mavs are stacked - what are you drinking. All they have is Dirk, a six man who can score, a washed up point guard, a career underachieving center and a midget. The only reason why the Mavs are wining is coaching. All the Heat have to do is put Lebron on Dirk in the 4th qtr and the series would be over already with Heat winning. Heat win next two and we will not hear from the Mavs again"



Dave - I apprieciate what you are saying, but if you are speaking of coaching, then the Mavs are light years ahead of the Heat. If LeBron is such a special defensive player, why has Spoelstra not put him on Dirk? Career stats will not determine the outcome of this series. Miami's "Big Three" have not lived up to the hype, they should hope that home court will give them a boost. If not, series over, Mavs win. The pressure is on the Heat, they can't afford to lose again. Don't think for a moment that Coach "Spo" ins't looking a few rows up into the stands and looking at the face of Pat Riley.


By the way, who do the Heat have on their bench?  Bibby? Howard? Eddie"Is anybody in the" House? Oh wait, Joel Anthony is the defensive stopper that held Dirk in check. The Heat bench does not scare anyone. Miller missing threes at the end of the game? I thought those shots were supposed to be divided between Wade, James and Bosh. When you go shopping, Mr. Riley, sometimes you don't get everything that you think you paid for.Take a good look everyone, the Heat will be done on Sunday night.  Hey Dallas, are you ready for the championship parade?    



Since: Apr 10, 2011
Posted on: June 10, 2011 3:17 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

It's funny how some people think the Mavs have no chance of winning this series in Miami. They've won there once already and the Heat have blown it in the 4th quarter in all three losses. Dirk and the Mavs are on a mission and they aren't going to let the big three get in their way. I'm tired of hearing how old and washed up the Mavs are, because they're the ones who are up 3-2 in this series.



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:50 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

Mavs are stacked - what are you drinking. All they have is Dirk, a six man who can score, a washed up point guard, a career underachieving center and a midget. The only reason why the Mavs are wining is coaching. All the Heat have to do is put Lebron on Dirk in the 4th qtr and the series would be over already with Heat winning. Heat win next two and we will not hear from the Mavs again



Since: Mar 5, 2007
Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:11 pm
 

NBA Finals: Nothing easy for the Heat

Down but not out. The Mavs need another win and they need it in Miami. I do not think that happens.


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