Monday, June 12, 2006

NBA Finals Recap--Game 2

MAVS/HEAT (Game 2): Mavericks 99-Heat 85

- Dallas set the tone for Game 2 with their stifling defense, but added to their effort some timely long-bombs courtesy of Stackhouse. The Mavs were playing lockdown defense for the entire 1st half, but the offense was not quite in step thanks to bad turnovers and only 40 points to their name with a little over a minute remaining in the half. Then all of a sudden, the Mavs go on a 10-0 run (basically Stack goes on a 10-0 run), lead 50-34 at the half, and you are sitting there wondering what just happened after it seemed the game was tightly contested just a minute ago. All the momentum was shifted in that short span and the whole complexity of the game changed where the Mavs had a comfortable cushion the rest of the game.

- The defense by the Mavs was just awesome throughout the game--the Heat shot 41.4%. They did the dual action of frustrating Shaq & Wade all night. They would not allow any easy looks for Wade--he shot 6/19--and they were doubling Shaq hard everytime, forcing him to kick the ball out. But even with all the attention on Shaq, the Mavs did a great job rotating to the Heat role players. When you only allow 5 shot attempts by Shaq and only allow Wade & Shaq to shoot a combined 33.3%, you're doing good things. Part of Shaq's rough going has to be attributed to Dampier. He did another admirable job fighting Shaq for post position and not allowing easy entry passes into him. He actually outproduced Shaq as well, by pitching in 6 pts. & 13 rebs. (4 off.); maybe now Damp needs to come up with a playful nickname for Shaq that can rival Erica. The Mavs also took care of their def. boards and won the overall reb. battle 46-32.

- The Mavs' offense went ballistic in the middle portion of the game after playing pretty sloppy the first 20 minutes of the 1st half. The Mavs scored 32 points in both the 2nd & 3rd quarter each, although struggling in the bookends of the game. The stretch that sealed the game came with 1:30 remaining in the 2nd quarter with the game 40-34 in Mavs' favor. The way the game was going, it seemed that we were heading to a tight halftime score, but Stackhouse had other plans. Jerry hit 3 3pt. shots in that stretch (also fouled on one make), and before the Heat knew what hit them, they were down 16 points going into halftime. And they never really made a serious threat the rest of the game. Stack was huge off the bench with 19 pts. on 6/11 (4/5 from deep), and helped spark the Mavs' bench corps to 41 points to 20 Heat bench points. Devin Harris also provided a nice punch off the bench with his penetration (11 pts.) and did a great job on defense keeping his body in front of Wade. Dirk rebounded with a solid performance with 26 pts., 16 rebs., 4 assts. and got to the line 11 times (10/11). The Mavs shot 48.6% from the floor, but did struggle again with turnovers (18), which led to a mostly sloppy 1st half.

- I don't think the Heat played that badly defensively, even though the numbers would say otherwise. If you take out the 3rd quarter & the last 2 minutes in the 2nd quarter, the Heat did a decent job making the Mavs work hard for their shots. Although Dirk's numbers look pretty good, I felt that the Heat actually guarded him pretty tough once again. I thought you could not ask more from Haslem or Posey. It's just Stack just really burned them, especially at the end of the 2nd.

- On the other hand, the Heat offense was once again a disjointed unit that could not find any easy answers vs. Dallas. Wade was not finding any easy paths to the basket all night and he looked as visibly flustered as I've ever seen. Shaq could not establish any dominance in the post cause of the immediate doubles and the lack of response from his secondary options. Riley has to find a way to free up some space for Shaq and try to get more movement off of the ball when Shaq has it. Ant Walker was probably the most consistent Miami player in Game 2, after an abysmal previous game--Walker had 20 pts. on 8/16 (4/7 from deep) and actually helped keep the Heat somewhat close in the 4th quarter. Mourning also chipped in with a solid effort with 11 points on 4/4 shooting.

- The one good thing the Heat have to look forward to being 2-0 down, is they are 8-1 & shooting 51.4% at home during the playoffs so far. Although, the Mavs are a good road team that is 6-3 in the playoffs and their def. effort is something that travels well. I expect Miami to get at least 2 out of 3, and send this series back to Dallas.


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