Final Score: Dallas 95 Miami 93
Game 2 of the NBA Finals has been decided ladies and gents, and boy did it go down to the wire. A game that looked all but decided in the middle of the fourth quarter turned out to be nothing of the sort. Looking back now it's easy to see that this was a Miami Heat-dominated game, but as they saying goes, "Basketball is a game of runs". Dallas found themselves on the better side of a 19-5 run to end the game, and even the Finals series at one game a piece. The following paragraphs will help illustrate how this game turned out the way it did,and examine who and what was responsible for these results.
I already had the paragraph on Dirk's terrible shooting night typed in my head, and then the last six minutes happened. In one basketball run, Dirk was able to convince me to flip his grade upside down after his amazing late-game heroics. After a shoddy shooting performance during what could have been the biggest game of his career, Dirk shook off the pressure to anchor an offensive run that could end up shaping his legacy should the Mavericks win the championship. Nowitzki's biggest bucket perhaps came when he launched an uncontested three-point basket to create space down the stretch.
He may not have scored like some would have hoped, but he turned in a dominant performance none the less. James ended with only 20 points, but added greatly with eight rebounds and four steals on 8-15 shooting. He regularly put his stamp on game two with his long range bombs and his uncontested throw down's at the rim. He also continued to show his immense talents as a passer, especially when he found Mario Chalmers in the short corner on the inbound pass with mere seconds remaining. In a game where he dominated everything except scoring, LeBron did pretty much everything you would expect him to.
In case you missed it, this man was absolutely on fire in Game 2. He did it all as he poured in 36 points to go along with three steals and two blocks.What was more impressive than the point total for Wade however, was how he reached it. Shooting 13-20 for the game, Wade seemed to be in his own video game for most of the night. He hit threes, fade-aways, threw down monster jams, and seemed to do it with ease. Wade especially has to be a little upset with the outcome of this contest, but at east he knows he did everything in his power to win. (Including missing an impossible shot to win the game by mere inches)
On a night where the Miami Heat did just about everything right, where was this guy? He's supposed to be a member of this (or any) Big Three, and he's putting up 0/0? The funny part was watching him scream like he was owning the game after a put back dunk. I believe he was 3-14 before that one. I'm not saying Bosh doesn't have his moments, but he is proving relentlessly that he's not "Big Three" material.
Nothing has changed here folks. What most people (including me) thought would be a terrible defensive unit, continued to be one of the most suffocating defenses I have seen in a long time in game two. It doesn't surprise me that LeBron and Wade continue to block shots and force turnovers. What surprises me is the mammoth impact that Joel Anthony has had in the paint. He blocked and altered shots down low all game long, and was quietly one of the largest contributors on the Heat's roster. What changes what would have been an easy "A" call for game two, is the way the defense let up during the Mav's final run. Mid-way through the amazing comeback, players on the Heat squad seemed stunned. They couldn't believe what was happening, and began to react slowly and lethargically. If Dallas goes on to win the championship, the Heat will seriously wonder if that momentary derailment caused it.
How many games will the Heat win in Dallas?
All I can comment on tonight is the Dallas Mavericks lack of defense. Sure they won the game, but that was on offense people. Just how many uncontested dunks do you give up in the Finals before you realize that something's not right? Dallas could not have been worse on the defensive end in Game 2. They rotated whenever they felt like it, missed assignments like it was the game plan, and did everything but sending an engraved invitation into their painted area. I wish I could blame Dallas even more than I already have, but how do you defend LeBron and Wade when they played like they did tonight? One things is for sure, the only people that liked the Maverick's defense tonight was LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
It wasn't as much Miami's offense as it was the "LeBron, Wade and Bibby" show. Bosh was nowhere to be found with an abysmal performance, Joel Anthony continues to go scoreless in the finals, and Chalmers's points though heroic, were few and far between. The point here is that the stars of Miami went cold during the heated Mav's run, and what happened? That's not much of an offense (team wise) if you ask me. The rest of the team couldn't buy one to stop the run, and that's why the Heat find themselves tied in this series.
Finally, a place where I can praise the Mavericks tonight. While the Mavs hit a drought in the middle of the third that put them in a bad spot, they had offense to keep up early, and they finished with an amazing offensive run to topple the Heat. Just when it looked like Dirk was ready to add another bed room to his brick house, somehow he turned it all around. All of the sudden his shots where hitting the bottom of the net, and it became contagious. This awoke Jason Terry from his own offensive slump, and Shawn Marion continued with his great all around night to be just enough to push the Mavericks over the mountain top. All the Mavericks need to do at this point to take control of the series, is to just get back to how they dominated the last three rounds. Tonight they started to remember those ways.
Not many players came off the bench for Miami tonight, and only one player seemed to play well. Mario Chalmers registered nine points in the losing effort, including a potentially heroic three-ball late in the fourth quarter. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem each shot poorly from the field, and failed to make an impression on a game that really could have used their touch. Miami's bench shooters will need to make their presence felt in Dallas for the Heat squad to lock up some victories, and it will be even more difficult without their home crowd behind them.
Grade: C+ (All because of Chalmers)
The Dallas bench started out struggling, but thanks to the efforts of Jason Terry and J.J. Barea, they eeked out a pretty impressive impact on game two. Jason Terry lead the way with 16 points after starting the game in a shooting slump, but the big surprise was Barea's impact on the game while only scoring five points. From the moment he entered the game he gave it his all. He dove for loose balls, penetrated only to kick out and find the open man, and basically revive a dying Mavericks defense. Now if Stojacovic would only show up, Miami would really be in trouble.