In anticipation of this series between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, it was anyone’s guess what would take place.
We knew that the Heat’s defense was going to show up strong.
We expected Dirk Nowitzki to give a strong offensive performance for the Mavs.
The question was, would Nowitzki's offense be strong enough to overcome the suffocating defense of Miami?
From the start of the game the Heat’s defense showed up strong. They were slow rotating to a couple open shooters, but throughout the game they did a fantastic job on limiting the Mavericks high quality shooters.
The Heat may have let Dirk score 27 points to lead all scorers, but they contested his shots. Miami made Nowitzki make the tough shots, and it messed up his rhythm throughout the game.
The Heat’s defense played as good as they have all playoffs, but a big key in this victory was the bench of the Miami Heat. Miami’s bench outscored Dallas by 10 points. Off the bench the Heat got a 27 point boost, the Mavs only had 17 bench points due to the strong defense of Miami.
Mario Chalmers lead all bench scorers with 12, with a 3-for-7 shooting day from behind the arc.
Dallas held Miami to 39 percent shooting, but they had no answer for the Big Three down the stretch. Chris Bosh and LeBron James both made some key shots early, but in crunch time it was Dwayne Wade and James that closed the game for the Heat.
James made a key fade away three to end the third quarter that gave the Heat the momentum to close out the Mavs in the fourth. Wade then came up big on the offensive end as well as defensively.
The Miami Heat have been undefeated at home throughout the playoffs. Since Udonis Haslem came back from injury, Miami has yet to lose a game. After his return in the second game against the Chicago Bulls, the Heat have been a completely different team. With Haslem in the mix, Miami is the strongest defensive team in the NBA.
With the second game of the series fast approaching, the Mavs only have a day to figure out a new game plan. At the same time, the Heat can focus on what they can do better.
The scary thing is that Miami was not playing up to their full capabilities, and head coach Erik Spoelstra has been superb in figuring out how to make his team better throughout the playoffs.
It's only one win for the Heat, and there is still a lot of basketball to be played. However, the Mavs have not trailed in a playoff series this season.
It will be interesting to see if the Mavericks can steal a win on the road. If the Mavs can get a win tomorrow, they will go home for three straight games with the series tied 1-1.
Only time will tell if the Heat are too hot for Dallas to handle.