NBA Finals 2011: 3 Changes Dallas Mavericks Must Make Against Miami Heat

John ValentovicAnalyst IJune 6, 2011

NBA Finals 2011: 3 Changes Dallas Mavericks Must Make Against Miami Heat

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 05:  Jose Juan Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts against the Miami Heat in the second half of Game Three of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    After dropping Game 3 to the Miami Heat, 88-86, the Dallas Mavericks will be forced to make a few changes if they they want to tie the NBA Finals at two games apiece on Tuesday.

    Game 3 was another thrilling, exciting contest between these two well-matched teams.  The Heat were able to build up a double-digit lead yet again, but found themselves in another battle as the game entered the fourth quarter.

    Ultimately, the Heat did just enough to win, and now are only two games away from capturing a championship.

    The following are three changes the Mavericks must make heading into Game 4.

Increase DeShawn Stevenson's Minutes

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 05:  DeShawn Stevenson #92 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in the first quarter while taking on the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressl
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Stevenson played very well during the first two games of the series, shooting 5-of-8 from three and providing lock-down defense on both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.  He has proven to be one of the Mavericks' most reliable shooters in the Finals.

    That being said, why in the world did he only log 14 minutes in Game 3?

    Both J.J. Barea and Peja Stojakovic have really struggled for Dallas in this series, so it makes very little sense why their minutes aren't going to Stevenson.

    He is perhaps the Mavericks' best perimeter defender and he has also chipped in offensively, which is more than could be said about Barea, Stojakovic or any other bench player for Dallas (not including Jason Terry).

    Stevenson needs to play more minutes in Game 4.

Dirk Nowitzki Needs to Shoot More

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 05:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks walks off the court after being defeated 88-86 by the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expres
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Through the first three games of the series, Nowitzki has averaged 20.3 shot attempts per game, including 21 in Game 3.

    That number needs to elevate to at least 30, if not more, if he and the Mavericks hope to take back control of this series.

    Nowitzki is far and away the Mavericks' best offensive player and he is excellent at using his size to get his shot off from anywhere on the floor.  He can score in so many different ways and is also very good at getting to the free-throw line.

    The Mavericks are now two games away from elimination, and now isn't a good time for Dirk to become unselfish.

    He needs to take over and demand the ball every possession.  

They Must Limit Turnovers

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    DALLAS, TX - JUNE 05:  Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after making a three-pointer in the third quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Three of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 5, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER:
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    This one may seem obvious, but the fact of the matter is that turnovers are absolutely killing the Dallas Mavericks.

    Turnovers are never good, but the Heat make their opponents pay for turning the ball over better than any team in the league.

    Miami thrives when they can get out in transition, where James and Wade are both almost unstoppable in the open court.

    Turnovers have also contributed to Dallas digging themselves double-digit deficits on multiple occasions in this series.

    They can't keep getting behind like they have been, and limiting their turnovers will help them keep the game closer, especially in the first half.

    You simply can't keep giving the Heat extra possessions like the Mavericks have done through the first three games.