NBA Finals 2011: Why Dallas Mavericks Shouldn't Be Concerned About Game 1 Loss

Ben TeitelbaumCorrespondent IIJune 2, 2011

NBA Finals 2011: Why Dallas Mavericks Shouldn't Be Concerned About Game 1 Loss

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  (L-R) Dirk Nowitzki #41, Jason Kidd #2, Tyson Chandler #6 and Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Dallas Mavericks react in the fourth quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals duri
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    After the Miami Heat took Game 1 of the NBA Finals 92-84 over the Dallas Mavericks, everyone seems to be giving endless love to the Heatles, Superfriends, Big Three, Miami Thrice or whatever you want to call them. 

    Just moments ago on ESPN’s "Around the Horn," Bill Plaschke proclaimed the series “over,” and his pundit brethren overwhelmingly share the sentiment. 

    Well, I don’t. While it’s fair to laud LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami defense, I came away last night thinking that Dallas should not be worried. 

    Am I saying that the Mavs will win this series? Not necessarily. I’m just stating that it’s not nearly finished.  

    Here’s why Dallas is all right, in no particular order.

Peja Stojakovic's Shooting

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 17:  Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 17, 2011 in Dallas, Te
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Peja Stojakovic took three wide open three-point attempts in Game 1, and he missed all three. 

    And when I say wide open, I mean it. Miami’s purportedly great rotating D never bothered Stojakovic on his jumpers. He simply couldn’t hit. 

    No way he goes ice cold again, considering Peja is shooting 40 percent from deep this postseason. 

    While a three or two might not seem like that big a deal, I am a huge believer in the theory that a few plays here and there can really swing momentum and determine a game. 

    Hitting an impossible shot (LeBron’s third quarter buzzer beater), committing an untimely foul (Carlos Boozer’s Eastern Conference Finals Game 5 flagrant, converting an old-fashioned three-point play instead of settling for two foul shots (Miami did and Dirk didn’t). 

    A timely Stojakovic score might have been enough to give Dallas the win, and it just might do so in the future.

Jose Juan Barea's Play

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 31:  Jose Juan Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks lays the ball up against Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat in the first half in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User
    Pool/Getty Images

    Although the Heat defended JJ Barea better than any of his Western Conference foes, the pesky Puerto Rican still got to his spots. 

    Unfortunately for Dallas, he didn’t convert. 

    Barea missed several shots that he normally makes, such as layups, floaters and short pull-up jumpers, going 1-8 in 18 minutes. 

    And don’t tell me Miami’s help D or shot blockers were the primary reasons. In previous rounds, Barea hit ridiculous attempts over stellar shot blockers such as Serge Ibaka and Andrew Bynum. 

    Expect Barea to bounce back and be a difference maker in Game 2.

Rebounding

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 31:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks grabs a rebound against Mike Miller #13 of the Miami Heat in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    The Heat killed the Mavs on the boards, outrebounding them by 10 and collecting 16 on the offensive glass. 

    Although Dallas is not an elite rebounding team, neither is Miami, and I doubt they will hold such a distinct advantage as the series progresses. 

    Rick Carlisle and his team are smart, experienced and mentally tough. They will clean up this area of the game and devote more attention to boxing out.

Heat Three-Point Shooting

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    MIAMI, FL - MAY 31:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat shoots a three-pointer while taking on the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Heat went nuts in Game 1, hitting 11-24 shots from downtown. 

    LeBron went 4-5, and although his stroke has looked confident and deadly throughout the postseason, I can’t see him repeating that performance. 

    Wade went 2-4, despite shooting 27 percent in the playoffs and 31 percent for the year. 

    Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller went a combined 5-11. They’re both good shooters, but c’mon, seriously? 

    If the numbers normalize and Miami returns to their team average of 37 percent, then Dallas’ strong defensive efforts will be even more pronounced.