“Hollywood as hell” is how Joachim Noah of the Chicago Bulls described the Miami Heat. After Game 2 of The NBA Finals which featured another Rocky style comeback by the Dallas Mavericks, who would disagree with him.
Just like Balboa, Dallas has engineered epic comebacks on two previous occasions in these Playoffs, and so it was only fitting that the third installment would involve the Hollywood Heat. The Lakers led by 16 in the third quarter of Game 1 in the West semi-finals and the Mavs would overturn that lead by the final buzzer. They’ve also overcome a 15 point Thunder lead in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, now they dumped Miami on the mat after overcoming a 15 point lead with seven minutes and change left in the fourth quarter.
The chief turning point was a Dwyane Wade three pointer that was over-celebrated in front of the Mavs bench, sparking a reaction from Jason Terry. Fittingly it was the man with the championship tattoo who would start the comeback, which would be finished, Rocky style, with a knockout blow delivered by a man with playing with an injured hand, Dirk Nowitzki.
After the Thunder’s Game 4 meltdown against the Mavs, LeBron James was quoted as saying:
“I don’t want to sit here and be the coach of OKC but I seen a lot of things that could have been done better”
It’s funny how words can come back and bite you in the behind, as this Miami meltdown was “Hollywood as Hell,” but in LeBron’s words, a “lot of things could have been done better…”
Shot selection – After really over-excelling in Game 1, shooting 11-24 from three, Miami put up a ridiculous 30 three pointers in Game 2, making only 9. They shot nine threes in the last eight minutes as they settled for bad looks late in the shot clock, trying to run the game down rather than going to the basket.
Rebounding – Dallas out-rebounded Miami by 41-30, including an 11-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Dallas has rarely had the advantage on the boards in these playoffs against anybody, so Miami really needed to box out better last night.
Half court offence – Earlier in the season, Miami’s reliance on iso sets combined with a lack of a half court offence was much maligned and the reason they struggled to close out close games. In the final eight minutes last night, they took 10 shots from 15ft or further out as the offence completely capitulated serving only as a reminder of that same Heat side that couldn’t close out a team with a winning record.
Chris Bosh – The Bulls tried to limit Wade and James’ scoring in the Eastern Conference Finals and were prepared to let Chris Bosh score to contain the other two. Bosh responded and stepped up with two 30+ point performances and the Bulls were done in five games. Bosh again is the x-factor, as Dallas also tried to limit Wade and James. In Game 1 of the Finals he shot a woeful 5-19 from the field, but his 9-12 from the line helped bail the Heat out. In Game 2, again he struggled, shooting 4-16 from the field. However, this time he was only able to back it up with 4-4 from the line and his 12 points were not good enough. He settled for way too many long jump shots, going 1-6 on j’s from 16-23ft. Just like LeBron, he needs to remember his own words and get the ball “where big guys get it”
On the other side of the ball, Dallas looked down and out, until Wade’s three point taunt inspired another comeback:
Jason Terry – Took exception towards the over-exuberant Heat celebration and started the Dallas comeback, living up to his Championship trophy tattoo, scoring 8 of his 16 points in the final 7 minutes.
Dirk Nowitzki – Dirk was just, err well, Dirk. His three to tie was clutch. Tehn, his spin on Bosh and knockout layup finish with his injured hand was Rocky-esque, and will go some way to putting the memory of 2006 to rest.
Shawn Marion – The Matrix was outstanding in this game, shooting 9-14 from the field for a very efficient 20 points. He also grabbed 8 rebounds, 3 on the offensive end, and held LeBron James to just 8 points in the second half.
So was Game 2 a case of a Miami meltdown? Or do the Dallas Mavericks just not know the meaning of the word defeat?