Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Observations from Game 1

  • Miami's defense certainly stepped up to the task.  They did a fantastic job limiting Dallas' ball movement and closing out on shooters.  Their athleticism narrowed the passing lanes Dallas has been used to this postseason.  
  • Dallas came out tentative to start the game.  It appeared that Dallas shooters certainly felt the pressure of not only the NBA Finals, but of the active and athletic Miami defense, missing shots they have made in the previous series as the open looks came at a premium, resulting in some rushed shots on even open looks. 
  • Specifically, Dirk Nowitzki and Peja Stojakovic in particular missed shots they have made throughout the playoffs.  Jason Terry and J.J. Barea also missed some shots similar to those they have made throughout the playoffs.  Haywood even missed a dunk.  
  • Miami also did a great job on the pick and roll, rendering Barea ineffective.  He will certainly have to step it up going forward if the Dallas bench is to have the success they have had the rest of the postseason.   
  • Dirk Nowitzki was not as aggressive as he has been the rest of the postseason and as a result may not have earned some of the calls he got during the Western Conference Playoffs.  More importantly, his lack of aggression resulted in fewer uncontested opportunities for his teammates through the ball movement that starts with him in the post.  His lack of aggression may have hurt Dallas more than anything offensively within their control (read: not including Miami's defense). 
  • The biggest difference may have been the 10 more offensive boards Miami grabbed than Dallas.  All four of their bench players grabbed at least one offensive board.  
  • Despite only shooting 38.8% from the field (35.2% inside the arc), Miami probably did a better job moving the ball than Dallas did, getting two more assists as a result despite averaging 5.6 fewer in the playoffs.  
  • Miami not only took more three-point field goals but they made more, shooting 45.8% (11 of 24), with LeBron James leading the way with four including a fadeaway over Tyson Chandler to end the 3rd quarter.  Dwyane Wade added two himself.  It is hard to expect them to keep this advantage throughout the rest of the series.  

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