Thursday, June 2, 2011

Observations from Game 2

This was a tale of two games in one.  One comprised of Mavericks possessions where they continued to feel the pressure of Heat's athletic D, made rushed and difficult passes, took rushed shots, and turned the ball over, and Heat possessions where they scored easy transition buckets off turnovers with the superior foot speed of Wade and James and were efficient in the half-court game with Wade getting to the rim at will; and another game comprised of Mavericks possessions, many of which occurred during the last six minutes of the game, where they settled down, went methodically through Nowitzki, made easy passes and made open shots as a team, and Heat possessions where they were forced to play half-court offense after good Mavericks possessions, where they surprisingly went away from Wade attacking the rim, which he was extremely successful doing in the first half.  

For Dallas:
  • Nowitzki was more aggressive when he got the ball, particularly early (despite still missing shots that he has been making this postseason ) and very late when he finally looked composed and confident when taking shots and made the shots his team needs him to make, while also creating for his teammates with the threat of his offense.  
  • The Mavericks went away from him for much of the 3rd and early 4th, a surprising mistake that resulted in him not taking any more possessions on shots and free throws than he did in Game 1, before force feeding him the ball when they most needed him leading to the 17 point turnaround in the last 7 minutes of the game.  They also started the 3rd quarter especially slow, and didn't go to him until after Carlisle called a timeout, before mostly going away from him again until the final run.  More on this later. 
  • The Mavericks turned the ball over 18 times and were particularly sloppy during some stretches.  Credit the Miami defense for this, but Dallas composed themselves late in the game, didn't allow Miami's pressure to rush them into bad passes, and they didn't turn the ball over at all in the last 7 minutes.  
  • Dallas won the battle of the boards.  On the offensive end, after getting outrebounded by 10 in Game 1, Dallas outrebounded Miami by 5, while limiting Miami to 6 offensive boards.  On the defensive end, Dallas outrebounded Miami by 6 rebounds.  
  • The Mavericks ball movement was more successful going through Nowitzki than on penetration through the pick and roll, although he was a little sloppy with the ball, resulting in five turnovers.    
  • Kidd particularly struggled and was uncharacteristically sloppy.  Although, he has been the only other Maverick aside from Stevenson to hit multiple 3s with efficiency.  Both Kidd's playmaking and the team's three-point shot-making need to improve for Dallas for things to be a little easier on them going forward. 
  • Barea seemed to be the only Mavericks guard able to get anywhere against the Miami defense with penetration.  He got a few good shots and created for his teammates, but even he struggled, going 0 for 5 after starting very aggressively and going 2 for 2. And despite creating some good shots in the first half for his teammates, they didn't result in points as they missed on those few open opportunities.  
  • Terry finally stepped up late in the 4th quarter, making key baskets to start the Mavericks comeback, and at least threatening to penetrate before getting the ball to Nowitzki, but he started slow, continuing to miss open looks, particularly his two open looks from the beyond the arc early in the 2nd quarter. 
  • Marion again played consistently good basketball, making positive plays on both ends of the floor, the only Mavericks player to do so for both games in this series. 
  • Chandler stepped up his effort in Game 2, particularly on the offensive glass, where he was non-existent in Game 1.  
  • Stojakovic was again a non-factor and defensive liability.  When he's on the floor, the Mavericks need to find a way to get him open looks and he must knock them down.  Otherwise, he's certainly going to do them more harm than good.  
  • Stevenson made some big open three-point shots in the first quarter, making up for the complete lack of made three-point shots from Terry and Stojakovic.   
For Miami:
  • It all starts with Miami's defense, which was great for most of the game and forced Dallas into a lot of bad possessions and turnovers, leading to easy baskets in transition due to their athleticism.  
  • Miami again made more three-point shots, three more, but it took them 13 more attempts and they only shot 30% from beyond the arc.  A few of those attempts were questionable forces during Dallas' game-winning run to end the game.  
  • Wade was absolutely unstoppable going to the rim.  Why the team went away from this late in the 4th quarter is a mystery.  It may have been partly Dallas' defense, but it didn't seem that Miami tried to get Wade going inside the arc during the final stretch.  He also ran past the Dallas defense for multiple transition plays in the 3rd and 4th to help extend the lead to 15.  
  • James continues to impress with his ability to hit difficult contested outside shots almost as well, if not better than he does open shots, including making a contested three-point shot near the end of the first quarter, after missing a wide open three-point shot from the top of the arc despite traveling to get his feet set.  However, those same contested shots did not fall late in the game.   
  • Bosh was poor from the field again, and had a costly turnover late in the game with Miami leading by four.  He has certainly disappointed in his first finals appearance.  
  • Bibby, stepped up big and played his role by hitting open 3s, making 4 of 7, after going 0 for 4 in Game 1.
  • Anthony made life difficult for Dallas offensively around the basket, blocking 3 shots and contesting many more.  He played his role, but again did not pose a threat offensively, as expected. 
  • The bench for Miami wasn't much of a factor.  Chalmers shot poorly from outside, but made a big wide open three-point shot to tie the game at 93.  Miller and Haslem were disappointing, shooting 1 for 6 combined.   

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