Game 1 of the 2011 NBA Finals was a great game played by two great teams.
It is constantly said that defense wins championships. There was plenty of defense played in this game.
It is also said that a strong bench is needed for postseason success. The bench play in Game 1 was surprising.
The superstars from each team showed how important their contributions are to the success of their respective teams and in crunch time they delivered.
The Miami Heat showed more hustle and more heart all game long.
Dallas starts a lineup that includes two seven-footers as well as Shawn Marion, who once averaged double-digit rebounds. Also, Jason Kidd is among the best rebounding guards in NBA history. Still, the Miami Heat out-rebounded the Mavericks by 10.
The hustle by Miami resulted in 16 offensive rebounds that often led to second-chance points.
The Dallas Mavericks have showed repeatedly in the postseason that they are a team that fights through adversity and plays their best when they are down deep. That did not happen in Game 1.
All the credit regarding hustle plays and desire to rebound the basketball goes to Miami in Game 1. Dallas needs to find a way to at least match the intensity the Miami Heat brought in their first meeting.
Game 1 was all about defense. The Miami Heat shot 39 percent from the field, while Dallas shot 37 percent. The game featured more outstanding defensive plays than rim-rattling dunks and acrobatic finishes.
The Miami Heat did a great job chasing down the Dallas shooters all over the floor and clamping down on defense inside to prevent easy scores.
On the other hand, the Mavs did an amazing job guarding Chris Bosh. Dirk Nowitzki continues to show he is not the defensive liability he once was. He constantly got right in Bosh’s face and denied him easy looks. Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood also did a solid job with help defense and double-teams.
This series is bound to continue to be defensive oriented. Game 1 was a great start.
The Mavericks often opted to let LeBron and Wade take open threes. They paid the price. Miami is not typically a great three-point shooting team, but in Game 1 the Heat were right on the money.
Miami scored on 11-of-24 three-point shots, while Dallas only managed 9-of-22. The Mavericks are going to have to win the three-point battle if they want to beat the Miami Heat.
Adjustments will be made for Game 2, which will likely shift this category back to the Mavericks. Regardless, the Mavericks are going to have to win a few more battles besides this one to even the series on Thursday.
The Miami Heat bench outplayed the Dallas Mavericks bench. Nobody expected such a thing to happen.
Dallas’ bench has been one of the main reasons the Mavs find themselves again in the NBA Finals. The scoring output just was not there in Game 1.
Jason Terry only scored 12 points, all in the first half. Jose Barea and Peja Stojakovic were 1-of-11 from the floor and were complete non-factors. The only bright spot was Brendan Haywood, who played outstanding defense in every minute he was on the floor.
Miami’s bench was surprisingly good tonight. Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller did a great job getting open for three-pointers. Udonis Haslem provided hustle and defense, which was the reason Miami won the game.
Dallas still has the better bench in this series and it should be able to bounce back in Game 2. The Mavericks can only hope that is enough to earn a win.
Dirk Nowitzki had a Dirk Nowitzki game with 27 points and eight rebounds. He scored in bunches, rebounded the ball and found the open man when double-teamed. The problem was he shot poorly from the field.
To make things slightly worse, Dirk Nowitzki got injured in the last few minutes of the game. Dirk Nowitzki tore a tendon in his left (non-shooting) hand while swiping the ball away from Chris Bosh.
This injury is not something that should affect Dirk too much given that he is right-handed. Still, it may bother him catching passes or trying to make strong moves to the basket with his left hand—something he was been doing a lot lately.
The Mavericks need Dirk to play his best to beat the Heat. Even then, they will still need some more out of everyone else to make it a fair fight.