Well, the Mavs are leaving South Beach with what they came for, a victory, and they got it in emphatic fashion. Maybe it was LeBron and Wade‘s early celebratory antics that got the Mavs rolling, but Dirk stepped up and reminded us all why he has been Captain Clutch this whole postseason. The Mavericks proved that just like in the Oklahoma City series, we can never count them out of a game. Heading back to Dallas for three straight games, they have a chance to take a commanding series lead. Here are the keys to doing so:
Key #1: Feed off the home crowd’s energy
In Games 1 and 2, the Miami Heat thrived off their home fans’ excitement, particularly after LeBron’s filthy put-back dunk in the second quarter and Wade’s three-pointer late in the fourth, though we all know how that ended. The Mavs have only lost one home playoff game – to the Thunder in Game 2 of the conference finals. They have one of the loudest home gyms in the NBA, and you just know they’ll have the volume cranked up tonight. Look for the Mavs to be the ones going on the third quarter run with their fans behind them.
Key #2: Shawn Marion needs to bring the heat, offensively and defensively
If the Mavs were to have their own Big Three, it would probably consist of Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Marion. All three stepped up huge in Game 2, but it was Marion’s athleticism on both ends of the court, and on the boards, that paced the Mavs. In Game 2, Matrix had 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting, a handful of which were layups and dunks. If he continues to get easy buckets on pick-and-rolls and fast breaks, the Mavs probably won’t have to play catch-up in Game 3.
Key #3: Make three-pointers and defend the three-point line
The Heat won the three-point battle nine to six in Game 2, and Dirk only attempted two long balls the entire game. The Mavs have become so focused on Miami’s Big Three that they let Mike Bibby drop four threes and let Mario Chalmers get wide open for the game-tying three with 25 seconds to play. Bron-Bron and Wade also banged two killer three-pointers apiece. Hey Terry and J.J. Barea, let those threes fly in Game 3 please. Remember what Gretzky said: you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
What do you think? Will the Mavs win Game 3 tonight?
Follow Mike on Twitter at @Mike_Aufses.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.