NBA Finals 2011: Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks Game 3 Report Card
The Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night 88-86 and took a 2-1 lead in the 2011 NBA Finals.
Game 4 is set for Tuesday night, and the Mavericks will look to get back on track and even up the series while the Heat will attempt to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
For now, let's take a look at a Game 3 report card featuring players and coaches from both teams.
Dwyane Wade: A-
Wade was brilliant again on Sunday, hitting a number of clutch shots on his way to scoring 29 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Right from the opening tip Wade looked determined to put Miami on his back and make sure the team didn't collapse like it did in Game 2.
It seemed like he was playing with a different motor than everyone else in Game 3, and was able to answer a few different runs by the Mavericks with some crucial shots.
LeBron James: B
James seemed content to let Wade take over Game 3 and dominate ball, and it proved to be a smart decision by LeBron.
Although he only attempted 14 shots, James was much more aggressive in terms of taking the ball to the basket. Once again he only attempted a handful of free throws (four), but he rarely settled for low-percentage shots from the perimeter.
His defense was solid, and he also recorded nine assists and was able to get many of his teammates involved. It wasn't a memorable performance by LeBron by any means, but in the end, he did enough to help his team win.
Chris Bosh: B-
Bosh hit what proved to be the game-winning shot with 39.6 seconds left, and it's a good thing he made that shot because his grade would have been much lower had he not.
Although he did improve his shooting efficiency in Game 3, he somehow managed to grab just three rebounds. Additionally, his defense was once again nothing to write home about, and there is little doubt that he has become a liability at that end of the floor in this series.
But he did make the biggest shot of the game, so it wasn't all bad for Miami's big man.
Erik Spoelstra: B
Spoelstra made a number of good moves during Game 3, including riding the hot hand of Mario Chalmers while limiting Mike Bibby to just 18 minutes.
Miami seemed to make some adjustments regarding defending Nowitzki, and it seemed to work early on the game. Dirk still came on late, finishing with 34 points, but he couldn't really get anything going in the first half.
Of course, having James and Wade makes Spoelstra's job much easier, but he still deserves some credit for the fact that the Heat are now just two games away from a championship.
Dirk Nowitzki: B
Nowitzki led all scorers with 34 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and continued to be automatic from the free-throw line, making all nine of his attempts.
However, Dirk committed a backbreaking turnover late, throwing the ball out of bounds as a result of a lack of communication with Shawn Marion, and then missed what would have been the game-winning shot as time expired. Although Udonis Haslem defended him well during the last possession, Nowitzki still wound up with a clean look, but he just couldn't get it to fall.
Nowitzki was also solid on defense, including putting together a few highlight-reel blocks.
Shawn Marion: C
Marion came back down to earth in Game 3, scoring just 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. He had been helping Nowitzki carry the scoring load during the first two games of the series, but really struggled in Game 3. He also didn't have much of an impact on the boards, finishing with a mere four rebounds.
He continued to do an admirable job defending LeBron, so he still had some impact on the game—just not enough impact for Dallas to pull it out.
J.J. Barea: C-
Barea has really let the Mavericks down in this series, as he has had a number of open looks in each game but has failed to knock most of them down.
Coming into this series, much was made of how good the Dallas bench was, but it has failed to live up to many people's lofty expectations.
Rick Carlisle: C
My biggest beef with Carlisle to this point has been his (mis)use of DeShawn Stevenson.
Despite the fact that Stevenson played outstanding defense and shot 5-of-8 from three during the first two games of the series, he only logged 14 minutes in Game 3.
Both Peja Stojakovic and Barea are struggling, which is even more of a reason why Stevenson should see an increase in minutes.
He also could have potentially limited Wade in Game 3, but didn't receive much of an opportunity to do so.
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