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