For about two months, I’ve been convinced that the Miami Heat – specifically LeBron James and Dwyane Wade – play by the philosophy that they can let an opponent get up by 10 or 15 and they can still be in control of the game, because that’s when James and Wade turn it into a highlight reel. And we’ve seen them do that so many times during the playoffs alone, so last night’s 10-point deficit to the Dallas Mavericks in the first half seemed like nothing, especially with Dirk Nowitzki and his crooked finger. The problem with that philosophy, though, is that eventually it’s going to bite them in the ass. Last night, in Game 2, the Heat were the ass and Nowitzki was the teeth.
Dallas Mavericks 95, Miami Heat 93 (Series: 1-1)
In Game 1, Dallas shot a pathetic 37% on only 67 shots. In Game 2, Nowitzki’s teammates finally stepped up around him and helped shoot 48%, and Shawn Marion’s 20 points were bigger than most people will ever give him credit for. But the real impact player for Dallas was probably Tyson Chandler, who provided 13 points on only 6 shots and just 7 rebounds, which is a seemingly stupid amount for a big man. But he brought his muscle, and that goes a long way against arrogance. Dirk, though… hoo boy, Dirk.
Even with a jacked up finger on his non-shooting hand, that fella is the definition of clutch. When the Mavs were down by 15 with 6 minutes to play and everyone on this planet saying they were D-O-N-E, not just in Game 2 but for the series, Dirk said, “Sprechen deez nuts” and grabbed crucial rebounds when it mattered, scored 9 points in Dallas’ 22-5 run in the final minutes, hit possibly the most important 3-pointer of his career to take the lead after his team blew its first half dominance and trailed the entire second half, and he cemented himself in the all-time NBA Finals highlight reel by completely Dursting Chris Bosh. I joked to my friends that Rick Carlisle should have been fired in the third quarter, but Erik Spoelstra looked absolutely Scott Brooks-esque last night when he assigned Bosh to Dirk, instead of putting Udonis Haslem on him. Inexcusable, inconceivable, and incredible. For all the people who praised Bosh for his hard work and big plays in the previous series, it’s out the window. He really helped his critics last night, and I thank him.
Since I had a few too many happy drinks to celebrate what will be one of my Top 10 NBA Finals games for quite some time, I can’t rant as much as I’d like to, so for additional reading, I recommend Gregg Doyle’s take at CBS Sports.
(Banner via Sun Sentinel)