Dallas Mavs AT Miami Heat
June 2nd, 2011 at 9 PM EST
Opening Line: MIA -4.5
Current Line: MIA -4.5
Opening Total: 186
Current Total: 187
Opening Moneyline: MIA -335, DAL +285
Current Moneyline: MIA -210, DAL +180
Miami Leads Best of Seven 1-0
For all that we can say of what fingers are – small digits that accomplish but a small part of the tasks of a entire hand, it’s incalculable, however, the affect a small finger injury can have on the shot of a shooter — particularly the finger of Dirk Nowitzki. Fortunately, it didn’t swell, and according to Dirk, it will prove no obstacle as the Maverics attempt to tie the series up with three consecutive games in Dallas to follow.
“I think once the game starts, the adrenaline starts flowing, I don’t think it will really slow me down much,” Nowitzki said. “I’m not really worried about it.”
Much is made of the 2-3-2 home court format in the NBA Finals. A lot of people, perhaps rightfully so, say that it favors the road team more than the ordinary 2-2-1-1-1 format, and to be honest I’ve no idea why the NBA favors changing the format for the Finals. That aside, let’s take a look at how things are developing for Game Two.
In Game One, Miami got 65 points from the “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. As mentioned in last series’ writeups, the Heat are 39-5 when they receive 70 points from the Big Three, and accordingly the closer they get to reaching that “magic number,” the greater their chances at victory.
Disturbingly, the two “non-Big-three” Miami starters, Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony, both failed to score and were a combined 0 of 5 from the floor. The Heat did receive nice games from their bench trio of Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers, and Mike Miller, who combined for 23 points on 8 of 21 shooting (not so great) and they outscored the Mavs bench (supposedly their STRENGTH) 23 to 17. Most notable for the Mavericks bench was shooting guard 6th man Jason Terry’s 3 for 10 shooting, which led him to 12 points, 3.5 below his season average.
Dirk Nowitzki was effective, as usual, though his efficiency from the field left some to be desired. He shot 7 of 18 from the floor, but redeemed himself at the free throw line where he sank all 12 of his attempts.
It might sound dirty, even low class, but expect Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem (if he sees time on Dirk, that is) to make a lot of plays at Dirk’s injured finger. If they could get him to tweak it (“accidentally”) it could spell the very demise of the Mavericks in tonight’s game, and indeed – in the series.
There are other reasons for concerns for Rick Carlisle, who has proven he simply had poor teams in Indiana, not that he was a bad coach. He is looking at a ten rebound differential from game one, and the upsetting factor is that most of it was just being outhustled by a Miami team that seemed hungrier and more focused, sometimes a corollary of having home court advantage.
It’s just what seems like destiny for a Heat team that was chosen along side the Lakers as the odds-on favorites. LeBron said he doesn’t expect to win “one” ring, but “five or six” before he is done playing for the Heat, and as Steve Kerr pointed out, they have to get the first one first! This was only LeBron James’ first WIN in the finals, as his Cavs were swept in 2007.
While I picked Miami in 7, I am tempted now to think it will end in 5 or 6, just because of the same fact I illustrated in the Heat – Bulls series: The Mavs are playing one on three. Superstars are what win titles, and most of the good teams had trios. Kareem, Magic, Worthy…Bird, McHale, Parish…Jordan, Pippen, Rodman….This is no different. Having a trio of three superstars makes it difficult for opposing teams to win because it requires shutting down one of them while limiting one of the two others. Very rarely will all three get shut down.
Some betting trends:
Dallas is 16-3-1 ATS in their last 20 games and they are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games. The Mavericks are 5-1 SU in their last 6 road games and they are 10-1 SU in their last 11 games against the Heat. The total has gone OVER In 4 of Dallas’ last 5 games against the Heat and the Mavs are 5-1 SU in their last 6 road games against Miami.
The Miami Heat are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games and the total has gone OVER in 8 of Miami’s last 12 games; it has also gone OVER In 6 of their last 7 at home. The Heat are 5-0 SU in their last 5 home games and the total again has gone OVER In 4 of the last 5 vs. Dallas. Miami is 1-10 SU in their last 11 games against the Mavericks and the Heat are 7-14-1 ATS in their last 22 against Dallas. The Heat are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games at home against the Mavs and the Heat are 1-5 SU in their last 6 at home against the Mavs.
Tonight’s game offers a chance at redemption for Nowitzki. He needs to hit over 50% of his shots for the Mavs to stay in it, and he needs to attempt more than 20 a game. They are too much of a defensive team to rely on their role players (Marion, Chandler, Barea) for scoring when they are not proven offensive players. Moreover, and lastly, for all the talk that the Heat had a weak bench, their depth is sufficient. Teams seldom use rotations bigger than eight players, and the Heat have eight solid ones.