Game 3 felt a lot like game 2 except that the Mavs fell 2 points short of the Heat. Dallas did cut down on the turnovers and rebounded better than in game 2, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. The Mavs played from behind most of the game again and went on one of their 4th quarter comebacks that we are so accustomed to by now. The absence of Haywood was a big blow to the Mavs defensive and rebounding effort and they hope to get him back for game 5. The Staff has said that he will only play if at least 70% healthy. He will be another game time decision. The veteran laden Mavs did play good defense again though holding the Heat under 90 points. It was a heavy dose of Dirk down the stretch again. Only difference this time is that he missed an elbow jumper to send game 3 into OT. It was good defense by Haslem, but let’s not act like it really had any effect on Dirks shot. Dirk just missed the shot. He got a good look, one he gets and takes many times each game, he just missed it this time. No one hits them all, though Dirk is such an amazing player you are surprised when it doesn’t go in. I would want the ball in no one else’s hands, in no other spot with the game on the line, so I can live with it. The killer was the possession before, in which Dirk caught the ball in the same spot at the elbow with a double team following. Dirk then saw an open Marion spotted up on the 3 point line, tried to hit him with the pass out of the double, the only problem was that Marion was then making a basket cut to the hoop, which resulted in a turnover. It was a tie game at that point and the game clock and shot clock correlation had given the Mavs the upper hand…if they could continue to get buckets.
The Mavs have not been playing their best basketball as a team in the Finals so far. With some better decision making I think that they could make things much easier on them. The Mavs make many runs like every NBA team does. They cut down leads like no other team does. My concern with these runs is as simple as this. When the Heat make a run they go up by 15 or so, when the Mavs make a run they are closing a 15 or so gap. The Mavs are expending too much energy to get back into these games to take them down to the wire instead of using it to create their own lead. This is either a recipe for disaster or the recipe of the most mentally tough team in the history of team sports. The rest of the Finals will tell us that.
The defense of the Heat has caused many problems for the Mavs in this series. Dirk continues to roll like a former MVP would but has not been able to have a consistent #2 scorer due to their defensive pressure. There is nothing else to do but to dig down and rise up. Certain guys just have to step up, bottom line. Now isn’t the time for Carlisle to get cute with the lineups or schemes. Now isn’t the time to try something new or to look for motivation. These guys have been playing basketball for their entire career to obtain one goal…an NBA championship. I don’t question the Mavs motivation though, this is a team full of guys who have been all-stars, each who have had their share of playoff disappointments. They have seen the valleys and now strive to see the view from the peaks.
We will see what game 4 has in store. Obviously, this is the biggest game in franchise history up to this point. I think that this Mavs team is a team that responds very well when they feel backed into a corner.
About the Author
Written by Andy R Strom
I was born in Dallas, TX and raised in the suburb of Coppell, TX. I grew up eating and breathing sports. I "buy local" when it comes to my teams, Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, Longhorns. I am 28 years old and currently live in Wisconsin where I graduated college from the Univerisy of Wisonsin Whitewater with a degree in health, human performance and recreation with a minor in coaching. I still follow my teams just as much now as when I am living back in Texas, they're just a little harder to see in person now. However, I follow all major sports and teams and love a good debate.