It’s put up or shut up time for the Dallas Mavericks. They’ve been against the ropes all series long but Sunday’s Game 3 presented them a great opportunity to pull ahead and retain home-court advantage. Unfortunately, the Basketball Gods intervened and sent Dirk‘s game-tying jump shot clanging off the back iron. Here are the things the Mavs must focus on if they are to tie up this series.
Key #1: Stop Dwyane Wade
Somehow the Mavs need to figure out how to keep this guy out of the paint, even if it involves double-teaming him. The only problem with that strategy is D-Wade can light it up from beyond the arc, shooting 50 percent in Game 3. The Mavs need to get the ball out of Wade’s hands, and force LeBron and Bosh to beat them, which doesn’t sound like a great strategy either…
Key #2: Grab an early lead
The Mavericks have had to play catch up in every game this series. In the three games so far, Dirk and the Mavs seem to think the game starts at the seven minute mark of the fourth quarter. Taking the comeback train has only worked out once for the Mavs. If Dallas can take a lead into the fourth, something tells me that their defense and Nowitzki’s three-ball can carry them to a victory.
Key #3: Make LeBron James feel you
That might sound awkward (or difficult to do in today’s NBA) but the Mavericks need to stop letting LeBron come down the lane and absolutely bang on them. Guys like Tyson Chandler and Ian Mahinmi have six fouls to use, and they better do so with a purpose. A couple hard fouls on LeBron, even if it yields a flagrant foul, might make James think twice before preparing for liftoff.
What do you think? Will the Mavs win Game 4 tonight?
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