Blog Entry

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:46 am
Edited on: June 12, 2011 1:04 am
The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will play Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals in Florida on Sunday night. Posted by Ben Golliver.

One Big Thing: For the fourth time in the 2011 NBA playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks get the opportunity to close out a series on Sunday night, this time against the Miami Heat on Sunday night. In their first three opportunities, the Mavericks went 3-0, winning by an average margin of 108-93. In other words, when presented with the chance to put someone away, they've handled their business with the utmost professionalism.

Those numbers are spiked a bit by their ludicrous Game 4 performance against the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Mavericks also held off a late charge by the Portland Trail Blazers on the road and handled the Oklahoma City Thunder with extreme care down the stretch at home. All three closeouts came on the heels of emotional wins, much like Dallas' thrilling win in Game 5. Against the Blazers, Dallas won an important bounceback Game 5 after collapsing in Game 4. Against the Lakers, Dirk Nowitzki took over in Game 3 against the Lakers, frustrating them to the point that they totally melted down -- flagrant fouls and ejections in a blowout loss -- in Game 4. Against the Thunder, Dallas won a pivotal Game 4 in overtime that swung momentum in their favor for good.

In the Finals, the Mavericks are coming off of their best game of the series, a solid Game 5 win in which they shot the lights out, played excellent defense down the stretch and frustrated LeBron James for at least the third game in a row. Do those factors and recent history point to Dallas closing this one out in their first opportunity once again? 

The X-Factor: Who else could it be except for James? His pedestrian play in Dallas left the assembled media befuddled. Where was the stellar late-game play he displayed in Miami's earlier battles against the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls? Why was he so disengaged? The X-Factor in Game 6 is how often James gets to the line. He can keep Miami in games as a facilitator, but he can only push the Heat to their best performances and premier offensive efficiency levels when he parades to the charity stripe.

His free throw splits in the postseason are amazing. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, he averaged 10 free throws per game. Against the Celtics, 8.4 free throws per game. Against the Bulls, 8.8 free throws per game. Those numbers compare favorably with his regular season average of 8.7. In the Finals, James has averaged just 3.2 attempts per game. There's just no way that he can continue at that rate if Miami hopes to win both Games 6 and 7.

The Adjustment: Will Heat coach Erik Spoelstra make any adjustments? While Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has changed his starting lineup (adding J.J. Barea), shuffled his rotation (cutting down Shawn Marion's minutes), benched a player (Peja Stojakovic) and creatively dealt with an injury (Brendan Haywood) during the course of the Finals, Spoelstra hasn't done much. He's stuck with his guns, for better or worse.

With Miami's back against the wall, we'll see whether Spoelstra stays the course or if he finally gives into desperation a bit. The most obvious change would be to cut down point guard Mike Bibby's minutes, opting either to go with a bigger lineup or to lean more heavily upon (and perhaps to start) Mario Chalmers. Defensively, he could also re-think his late-game defense on Dirk Nowitzki, who has twice beaten single coverage to deliver a game-winning basket. Spoelstra also needs to get Chris Bosh back into the flow, pray that Dwyane Wade won't be limited by his hip contusion and hope James doesn't wear down after he's been ridden into the ground by playing such heavy minutes throughout the postseason. 

Can Spoelstra find a new approach to dealing with these problems? 

The Sticking Point: Miami's home crowd has been derided as a joke all season long. They show up late, wear goofy clothing, require sheets to be used to cover up all the empty seats and are about as unintimidating as a crowd can be. To this point, it hasn't really mattered. Miami was 30-11 at home during the regular season and 9-1 at home in the postseason.

But these are the games in which homecourt advantage mean the most. To fight off a veteran, experienced, clicking team like the Mavericks, the Heat need every possible advantage, and that includes a rowdy crowd that can get on officials, distract free throw shooters and make late-game communication in halfcourt sets more difficult. Miami doesn't really have that ace in its hole. Could that prove to be a fatal Achilles heel?

Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: June 12, 2011 7:17 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

I find it funny that all this hate aimed at the Heat is because of fear and jealousy. When it comes down to it, you all know this is your best time to beat the Heat as they will add pieces and get more cohesive as a unit as time goes by. Dallas, Boston, and the Lakers will get even older, and all we will have to worry about is the Bulls. It very well could be 4 or more championships even if it is not this year. And for that, all of you are terrified because it boils down to one thing for a sports fan...hope...and you will have none.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:19 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

Change your name Le Bron to

  • King Lame
  • Le Hype
  • Le Wannabe

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: June 12, 2011 3:00 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

13-18 from 3-point range?  Not happening tonight.

The mavs have won games they had no business winning.  When the Heat is up by at least 7 with 6 minutes to go, Spo should call a timeout just to drill in the fact that they need to even be more agressive and pretend they're down by 7.  If this happens, HEAT will win, if it does not, then it's status quo and it's a toss up. 

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:27 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

Jaydayusat 's comment is exactly right.  There are three things happening. 1 the heat are worn down. James has no legs left. Wade is banged up. You cannot play three guys for 48 minutes through an entire playoff and not have them wear down. 2 LeBron i think has real psychological issues. He seems almost delusional.3 The Mavs are hot. Really really hot. Kevin McHail said on a show recently that Dallas is playing the best basketball hes seen in a while. Kidd has been tremendous. Stevenson unsung and important for his defense. He's the artest of Dallas. AND Dirk!  dirk and terry and kidd and marion have never won a ring. This is their time. They are going to come out ferocious tonight. Mavs will win it.

Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: June 12, 2011 2:02 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

Now or Never?  He has been in the league 8 years.  The answer is clearly obvious:  Never.  I am sick of wasting time even writing about this player.  He is not a winner, not a champion, but simply an athletically gifted human.  DNA does not equal Bird, Kobe, Magic or Jordan.  Face reality everyone, and after tonight, may the media move on and close this media-made chapter forever.

Since: Dec 18, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:29 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

J.R. you are a very funny man. But you know what? If I have Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh playing for my team , hell, I'll be confident like you too but these 3 All Star players have proven that they are not ready yet. Maybe next year or the year later, but this season, the Mavs is going take the throphy. The meltdown in the 4th qtr will continue tonight for the Heat, sorry dude.

Since: May 5, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:28 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

The Mavs will take care of business tonight and put the series away.  Let's go MAVS!

Since: Jun 4, 2011
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:16 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

 Nothing wrong with a little jabbing before the game. With the heart and great defense tonight, Mavs win. If the jokes
would have come from MVP of the league ... whom I heard say some foul stuff about Duke. Then I might be offended.
But Lebron and Wade are playing from their hearts too. This will be a great game. Dirk might have to make some hard
fouls under the basket to get this one in the bag. I have never seen Jason Kidd so serious. He brings alive the team's
defense. If the Mavs open up the floor, they could win this.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:10 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

I see the phrase "NBA Finals Fix" and think, "David Stern".  Anyone with a working brain could see his heavy hand in 2006, and I won't believe that he'll allow Mark Cuban's team to win a title until they actually hoist the trophy.

Why do you even watch sports if you think its all a conspiracy theory with a pre-determined outcome? 

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: June 12, 2011 1:01 pm

NBA Finals Fix: Mavs looks to close out Heat

I see the phrase "NBA Finals Fix" and think, "David Stern".  Anyone with a working brain could see his heavy hand in 2006, and I won't believe that he'll allow Mark Cuban's team to win a title until they actually hoist the trophy.

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