Friday, June 16, 2006

NBA Finals Recap--Game 4

MAVS/HEAT (Game 4): Heat 98-Mavericks 74

- After all the doom & gloom about the Heat's inferior status in this series, we now have a best of 3 scenario. I never quite understood this idea that the Heat were being overwhelmed in the series. Granted, the Heat needed a quasi-miracle to win Game 3, they were right with the Mavs throughout Game 1 and if they would have fed Shaq more during the mid-portion of the game, the outcome could have easily been different. Now the Game 4 blowout cancels out the Game 2 blowout. This Heat win might be more impressive than Game 2, cause the Heat were in total command throughout the game, while Game 2 was pretty even until about a 1:30 remaining in the 1st half and Stackhouse went on a 3pt. barrage. Also, the Heat should have won this game by about 35, but they got very sloppy with the ball for a 12 minute stretch in the late 3rd & early 4th.

- Basically, the Heat took command early of every aspect of the game, and never relinquished their control. They came out in the 1st quarter very crisp and at a faster pace, which led to 30 points in the quarter. Wade continued where he left off in Game 3, by attacking the basket from varied angles and looking smooth on his outside shots. He was a big part of the Heat effort of driving the baseline for the second game in a row. Wade finished with another All-NBA performance of 36 points on 13/23 & 6 rebs.

-Although, Shaq got in some early foul trouble, he still shot a great percentage (6/8) for 17 points & 13 boards. For all the people writing him off, look at the fact that he is shooting 66.6% this series, has shot around 60% for the entire playoffs, shot 60% during the reg. season, and shot 60% last year. He has been getting doubled hard on nearly every touch, and he's done a great job passing the ball this series. The point is he still needs to be doubled on almost every touch and this causes great lanes & opportunities. Another thing for all the detractors-- what if he had more consistent shooters around him? In LA, he had guys like Fisher, Horry, & Rice who could bury shots.

- This was probably the best overall effort by the Heat in this series, thanks in large part to the play of the role players. Walker played another reserved game where he restrained his bad impulses with 14 pts. on 5/11. James Posey was just all-around fantastic: he was extremely active on both ends, frustrating Dirk, and getting 15 points & 10 rebs. Alonzo also held the fort down defensively when Shaq was in foul trouble. He did a great job at the backline of the zone changing/blocking shots and just being physical--he had 6 rebs. & 3 blocks.

- All in all, the Heat defense was very strong; maybe their best performance of the playoffs. Granted, the Mavs missed a lot good looks they usually hit, Miami still did a good job on Dirk (he was 2/14 from the field) and were extra physical as whole. It sort of helped their cause that the refs were letting a lot of stuff go. The Heat held the Mavs to only 7 points in the 4th and did a tremendous job holding the Mavs to 31.6% from the floor. Their zone was very effective and it helped that the Mavs shot 3/22 from long-distance. The Heat did another great job on the boards, outrebounding the Mavs by 12. Making it 3 out of 4 games winning the board war, after the Mavs had won the rebound battle in every game in the West Conf. playoffs.

- There was not too many bright spots to point toward for the Mavs in this game. They were thoroughly manhandled in every catergory of Game 4. Maybe you can chalk it up to just a bad shooting night that happens on all levels of basketball. They had a lot of good looks, but had a lot of shots lip out. But even with that, the Mavs defense was a little too porous for the second game in a row. The Heat driving lanes were not being shut off fast enough and once again the Mavs gave up too many chances on the baseline. No Mav really had a notable performance on the offensive end, it was pretty much a collective, ragged effort. Dirk had 16 pts. & 9 rebs, but shot 2/14 with 4 TOs. Stackhouse did have 16 pts. & 4 assts, but shot 6/18. Devin Harris was a semi-bright spot with 11 pts. and some great effort drawing two fouls on Wade by moving his feet wonderfully. Dampier could not neutralize Shaq in this game, Eric had 0 pts & 4 rebs.

- The Heat still had a problem with turnovers--18--and they kept the Mavs closer than they should have been cause a flurry of turnovers in the late 3rd/early 4th. The Heat probably should have won by 35 points, but they were sloppy in this section of the game with careless TOs. I expect the Mavs to shoot better in Game 5, but they need to tighten up their team defense and get it back to the way they were playing in Dallas.


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