Monday, June 19, 2006

NBA Finals Recap--Game 5

MAVS/HEAT (Game 5): Heat 101-Mavericks 100 (OT)

- Wade would not be denied. In a classic playoff performance, Dwyane Wade shook off early game rust and switched into Air Jordan Jr. when the Heat needed him most. The Heat became only the second team in about 20 years to win all of the middle three games in the NBA Finals.

- Once again Wade seemed to will the Heat to victory. After struggling in the 1st half to find his offensive rhythm, he started to gain confidence late in the 3rd by hitting a couple elbow jumpers. These shots seemed to spark him and open up drives that were being shut down successfully in the 1st half and much of the 3rd. Wade went on to score 17 points in the 4th by making Jordan-like shots under duress, especially looking eerily similar drilling plenty of elbow jumpers. Dwyane finished with 43 pts on 11/28 and made a living at the line, 21/25.

- Shaq did not see quite as much constant doubling, but was usually marked by multiple guys most of the time thanks partly to the Mavs playing a fair amount of zone. Again, Shaq did not force the issue and shot 8/12, keeping his shooting percentage at a blistering 66.6% for the series. But he reverted back to his woeful ways at the line by shooting 2/12--the Heat shot 32/49 from the line, this definitely kept the Mavs closer. Shaq did continue his playoff trend of great effort on the defensive end. He was challenging shots all game (he did a great job distracting Terry last shot in regulation) and even was spry on the perimeter when needed--he did an admirable helping out on Dirk away from the interior. This might have been the most active I've seen Shaq in a long while.

- I thought Miami's defense was pretty solid as a whole--the Mavs shot 45.7% and still struggled from long-range (5/19). Their one problem came with trying to contain Terry, but once again, they did a great job harassing Dirk, who shot 8/19 & missed all 4 3pt. attempts. James Posey was a big part of this and a big part of the Heat fortunes on both ends. Posey flew all over the floor picking up charges, loose balls, rebounds (6), and also pitching in 10 points with a couple big 3pt. makes. The Heat's bench outscored the Mavs' bench 23-12, and got 8 huge points from Payton, who hit a big 3pt. shot late and broke out one of his old-school scoop shots high off the glass in OT with the shot clock running down. The old man still has a couple bullets left in the chamber. Jason Williams also hit some timely threes (he was 3/5 from deep), and the Heat shot a solid 41.2% from 3pt. land.

- The Mavs were basically a two-man affair for most of the game. Terry & Howard were causing many headaches for the Heat throughout the game, and seemed to be the only guys keeping the Mavs competitive. Terry was just simply deadly coming off screens all night and usually moving to his right to bury pull-jumpers from everywhere--he had 35 pts. on 13/23 & was 4/9 from 3pt. range. Howard also did damage in the mid-range area with 25 pts and was able to draw contact on his drives, he was 9/11 from the line. But his only two misses came late in the game, to go along with a big miss late by Dirk. The Mavs shot 21/25 from the line, but their four misses came in the late stages of the game. Dirk started to gain some steam in 2nd half after struggling to find good looks most of the game. He made some really tough shots late and also made a nice dish to Damp after drawing a triple-team late in the 4th. Dirk ended with 20 pts., 8 rebs., but only shot 8/19 overall & was 0/4 from deep.

- The Mavs did a good job defending, especially the middle portion of the game. They cut off Wade's driving lanes for the most of 3 quarters and their zone was very effective--they only gave up 28 pts. in paint to the Heat. The Heat looked ragged in the 2nd & 3rd quarter cause of the zone and Wade's inability to find lanes. The Mavs might have pulled this game out if they had Stack, who probably would have given at least double-digits. The Mavs bench only managed 12 points. Although, the Mavs did win the rebound battle 42-33--Howard pitched in with 10 (5 off.).

- There seems to be a lot of discent toward the officiating in this game cause of the disparity in free throws (49 attempts for Miami to 25 for Mavs) and on the last play by Wade. Was it a foul on Wade? Not from the angle I saw, but Wade was playing at home and was drawing fouls all night like a seasoned vet. Some of the disparity can be blamed on Hack-Shaq and that Dallas was mainly settling for jumpers all night. The complaining about the timeout is not warranted either--Howard clearly was asking for a timeout, he walked right over to the ref. If anyone was to blame, it was Avery for making confusing gestures from the bench. Whatever the case, the Mavs have to find away to contain Wade the entire game--the zone maybe needs to be tried even more. How bout some high screen/roll action near the 3pt. line with Dirk & Terry; Nash & Dirk use to cause many problems with that.


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