Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dallas Mavericks use late fourth quarter run to even series with 86-83 win over Heat

By Kshell

The Dallas Mavericks who were led by Dirk Nowitzki scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter rallied from nine points down to defeat the Miami Heat 86-83 to win game four of the NBA Finals. Now that the series is tied at two games it becomes a best of three series. For the Mavericks they played team ball as five different guys scored in double figures led by Nowitzki who scored 21 points despite having the flu. For the Heat despite Dwyane Wade scoring 32 points suffered the loss due to Lebron James scoring just eight points including zero in the fourth quarter. The Heat obviously need James to step up his game to win the NBA championship. The Mavericks won despite shooting 0-13 in the second half from three pointers. The Mavericks showed that they aren't the Mavericks from the past as they are tougher now. Take Nowitzki for an example who had just 11 points after three quarters and playing through the flu. Nowitzki who didn't bail on his team like James did instead he would end up rising to the occasion in the fourth quarter. Now the series is tied at two games with the all important game five being played on Thursday in Dallas which will be the final game for the Mavericks in front of their home fans.

The first quarter was a strange quarter as the Heat shot terrible but survived by rebounding the ball. The Mavericks came out hitting their shots led by Jason Terry. The Mavericks led by Nowitzki started the game off leading 6-0 but the Heat responded with a 6-0 run of their own led by Chris Bosh. The score at the end of the quarter was 21-21. For the Mavericks who shot 8-16(50.0%) from the field were led by Jason Terry who scored seven points on two for two shooting including a three pointer. Nowitzki scored six points on three for five shooting. For the Heat who shot just 7-24(29.1%) from the field were led by Dwyane Wade scoring six points on two for six shooting, Bosh six points on three for seven shooting. Lebron James scored four points on one for three shooting. The Heat outrebounded the Mavericks 16-10 led by center Joel Anthony who had six rebounds for the Heat.

In the second quarter the Heat outscored the Mavericks 26-24 to take a 47-45 lead at halftime. The Heat shot terrific in the quarter making 12-18(66.7%) of their shots led by Chris Bosh who scored 10 points on five for five shooting in the second quarter. Wade scored seven points on three for four shooting in the quarter as well. The Heat at halftime were led by Bosh who had 16 points on 8-12 shooting. Wade had 10 points on 5-10 shooting from the field as well. Joel Anthony gave the Heat a spark scoring four points and grabbing eight rebounds. Lebron James had just four points on one for four shooting at halftime. The Mavericks were saved in the second quarter by DeShawn Stevenson scoring 11 points and making all three of his three point attempts. The Mavericks were led by Stevenson's 11 points, while Terry also scored nine points off the bench. The Mavericks star player Nowitzki was just one for five shooting in the second quarter and had just eight points on 4-10 shooting. It was a great back and forth half which saw both teams best player struggle. One team would have their star player step up while the other star never did show up.

In the third quarter the Heat would increase their lead led by Wade. Wade scored 12 points in the third quarter on five for five shooting. Bosh would add six points in the quarter while James would score his final four points of the game in the fourth quarter. The Heat were trailing 65-61 but ended the quarter on an 8-0 run to take the 69-65 lead heading into the fourth quarter. To that point Wade had 25 points on 10-15 shooting, Bosh had 22 points on 9-17 shooting. James had just eight points on 3-10 shooting but did have seven rebounds and six assists. James also had an incredible alley-oop pass to Wade to take the lead 67-65. For the Mavericks Shawn Marion scored eight points in the third quarter to have 16 points. Tyson Chandler also added 10 points and 10 rebounds while Nowitzki continued to struggle scoring just 11 points on 4-13 shooting. Both teams couldn't buy a three pointer as the Heat missed all five attempts while the Mavericks missed all seven. Nowitzki had eight straight playoff games where he scored seven points or more in the fourth quarter. He would add to that streak once again.

In the fourth quarter the Heat would continue that run that ended the third quarter. The Heat would finish the 13-1 run on a Udonis Haslem jumper to take a 74-65 lead in the fourth quarter. That is when the Heat went ice cold and in particular Lebron James was being passive. The Mavericks knowing their season was on the line once again would ride on Nowitzki once again who scored 10 points in the fourth. The Mavericks defense didn't allow the Heat to score for over six minutes and went on a 17-4 run to take an 82-78 lead over the Heat. Then with under a minute to go the Mavericks who led 82-80 missed several open shots and finally James got the rebound threw a full court pass to Wade who was fouled. Wade made the first free throw but missed the second one with 30 seconds to go. Mavericks went to Nowitzki again to give them an 84-81 lead. After a Wade dunk it came down to Jason Terry who had a solid fourth quarter to make both free throws. Terry did just that giving the Mavericks an 86-83 lead which gave the Heat one final possession. Wade would drop the inbound pass and saved the ball kicked it to Mike Miller who had to take a deep three pointer and missed it. The Mavericks had tied the series up 2-2 while Lebron James had taken just one field goal in the fourth quarter.

For the Mavericks they played team ball today seeing five guys score in double figures. They were led by Nowitzki who finished with 21 points on 6-19 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jason Terry was big scoring 17 points on 6-15 shooting including a three pointer. Shawn Marion added 16 points on 7-12 shooting while Tyson Chandler recorded the double-double scoring 13 points with 16 rebounds including nine offensive rebounds. DeShawn Stevenon who came off the bench for the first time in these playoffs scored 11 points hitting three three pointers. The man he was benched for J.J. Barea scored eight points. The Mavericks won a game where they shot horrible from three point range making just 4-19(21.1%). The Mavericks proved they can win defensive battles where they only score 86 points. The Heat dictated the pace and the Mavericks responded with the win outscoring the Heat 21-14 in the fourth quarter. Holding the Heat to 5-15(33.3%) shooting from the field in the fourth. Now the Mavericks hope to win game five in their final home game of the season to take a 3-2 lead back to Miami.

For the Miami Heat this is the second game this series alone where they lost a decent sized lead in the fourth quarter. The Heat have to wonder how they go themselves in this hole where the series is tied at two games. The Heat who have yet to lose two games in a single series will find out what they are made of on Thursday in game five. The Heat were led by Wade who scored 32 points on 13-20 shooting from the field and grabbed six rebounds. They also received the best finals game to date by Bosh who scored 24 points on 9-19 shooting while pulling down six rebounds. Those were the only guys who scored in double figures. They received good production from Anthony who scored four points and eight rebounds including five offensive. The big missing piece was James who scored just eight points on 3-11 shooting but did have nine rebounds and seven assists. Still the Heat aren't paying James to be a good solid all around player. They are expecting him to be a great player who is the best player in basketball. Now the Heat have to wonder how they got themselves in this mess and only have 48 hours to figure it out.

All in all, the NBA got exactly what they wanted which was a long NBA Finals. The Finals will be heading back to South Beach where a champion will be crowned. The Heat have controlled this series in the first four games yet the series is tied at two games. The Mavericks have their closer and there is no confusion where Nowitzki goes they go. While the Heat the confusion has been where has Lebron James gone? In the fourth quarter in the last three games he has just four points total. Wade is carrying this team yet it doesn't seem to be enough as James and the rest of the role players aren't pulling their weight. The Mavericks just like in 2006 find themselves just two wins away from the franchises first ever NBA championship. Nowitzki is proving to everyone that is the best closer in the NBA right now today. Now for the Heat if only Lebron James can prove he is the best basketball player in the NBA right now today. This has been a great series and we are guaranteed two more games which should be fun.


- The Mavericks are doing their best to make me eat my words. I've often stated that having the best players will win you a title vs the best all around team. Well the Mavericks after being embarassed in game one have won the bench battle. Today the Mavericks bench outscored the Heat bench 26-15. The surprising part was who carried the bench in the first half.

DeShawn Stevenson normally a starter came off the bench so the Mavericks could get J.J. Barea going. For both guys they played their best game of the series making Rick Carisle look like a genius. Stevenson scored 11 points on three three's while Barea scored eight points. Jason Terry scored 17 points including eight in the fourth quarter. Terry in the Mavericks two victories is averaging 8.0 PPG in the fourth, in their two losses is averaging zero points.

- Lebron James is adding fuel to his "haters" these finals. James who was having an average Finals really shit the bed tonight. He scored just eight points and attempted just one shot(which he missed) in the fourth quarter. The Heat didn't score for a six minute stretch while their nine point lead slipped away. Just like in game two they needed someone to step up and win this important game. Instead during that six minute stretch James continued to pass, pass and pass some more. A superstar in that situation needs to step up and put that game away. By winning game four that would basically clinch the NBA Finals as no road team has ever won a game six and seven in the NBA Finals.

James in the last three fourth quarters has just four points total. I know he is playing good all around but he isn't Jason Kidd. He is a superstar who needs to be scoring at the very worst 20 points for his team. James scoring total has decreased each game going from 24 points, to 20 points to 17 points now to 8 points. James in the Finals is averaging just 17.3 PPG on 26-56(46.4%) which isn't bad but only attempted 14 field goals a game is. He is shooting horrible from three point range making just 3-14(21.4%) after game one where he hit 4-5(80.0%). Now like Chris Bosh in the first two games James isn't this bad. For the Heat to win the title they need Lebron to step up. At this point James proved today he can never be Michael Jordan but I'm sure he can care less. The Heat and James need to step up or their season could end in disappointment.

- Dwyane Wade loves the NBA Finals or does he love playing the Dallas Mavericks? It is hard to tell but Wade is having another great NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Wade had his second 30+ point game in these finals which were both losses. Wade finished with 32 points on 13-20(65.0%) shooting from the field. Wade after having a terrible series against the Bulls is reminding everyone that he is probably the third best player in the NBA.

If the Heat win the Finals unless Lebron James scores like 50 points two games in a row Wade would win his second NBA Finals MVP. Wade for the series is averaging 29.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.5 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. He is shooting 47-80(58.8%) from the field and is averaging 20 field goal attempts a game. Wade is playing terrific but now needs James to bring his "A" game as well. Wade and James both haven't played a great game in the same game since the Boston series. If Bosh plays like he did the last two games they'll take that. It's now on James to rise to Wade's level in these finals.

- Dirk Nowitzki statistically didn't play a great game. Yet this could have been his defining game of his career. He had the flu and played poorly first three quarters. Yet he battled and once again saved the Mavericks in the fourth scoring 10 points. Nowitzki finished with a double-double for the third straight game. Nowitzki unlike in years past doesn't rely on the three point shot. Nowitzki like he did in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers and continued throughout the playoffs showing everyone he is best closer in the NBA.

For the series which if the Mavericks win Nowitzki would obviously win the MVP. Nowitzki is averaging 26.5 PPG and 10.3 RPG while shooting 34-80(42.5%) from the field. He has made 33-34(97.0%) from the free throw line this series as well. He is also averaging 11.0 PPG in the fourth quarter compared to Lebron James who has just nine points total in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki is putting this franchise on his back and trying to win the Mavericks their first title ever. Regardless of the game Nowitzki is having the Mavericks know he'll show up in the fourth quarter which the Heat can't say about their best player Lebron James.

In conclusion, we have a terrific NBA Finals in the making. With the series tied at two games I'm sure the ratings for game five will be pretty high. Now the Mavericks still have all the pressure in game five as no team has ever won game six and seven on the road. In fact in the 2-3-2 format only the 2005 Detroit Pistons have avoided elimination in a game six on the road but ultimately lost the game seven. Since the 2-3-2 format started in 1985 the winner of game five in a 2-2 series is 6-3(.667) in the series. Last year though the Boston Celtics won the game five while the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals. For the Mavericks they have to be feeling pretty good to be tied at two games considering they have yet to really lead in the second half. For the same reason the Miami Heat have to be kicking themselves as they've blown a 15 point lead in game two and now a nine point lead today in game four. The Mavericks do know that in a big game they can count on Nowitzki. While the Heat there is some doubt after today that you can count on Lebron James. It's a best of three series now which will come down to which superstar will show up. The Mavericks know they have their guy but do the Heat? I guess we'll find that out on Thursday.

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