Defense and Match-Ups. That was the biggest difference in game 1. Unfortunately, neither went in Dallas’ favor. In the final 5 minutes of game 1, Miami’s big three ate up Dallas’ squad. The match-ups on both ends of the floor were easily dominated by the Heat. Jason Terry looked like a lost, step-child out there on the floor. Terry was absolutely abused last night on both ends of the floor. He was unable to stop (let alone contain) D. Wade in the game’s most critical moments. Wade knows Terry can’t guard him. Hell, we all knew that coming into this series. Wade can post Terry up, beat him off the dribble, or just shoot over him. On the offensive side of the ball, Terry was irrelevant as soon as LeBron took over guarding him. LeBron’s size and quickness will be no match for Terry, as he looked really uncomfortable out on the floor. Terry is going to be critical in this series, as he needs to step up and be a reliable option besides Dirk. Dirk was hounded all night by Miami’s team defense and will be relying on his teammates to pick up the slack. I thought the Heat did a great job being aggressive with Dirk when he didn’t have the ball in his hands. They made is really difficult for Dirk to get to this favorite sweet spots on the court, and when he did, there were a number of bodies in his face. Haslem did an outstanding job making life difficult for Dirk. Haslem and the Heat displayed solid pick n’ roll defense throughout the game. In the previous series, Dirk would be able to find his open shooters once the openings developed off the pick n’ roll, but things weren’t as easy in Miami. Miami’s quickness and length made it difficult for Dallas to execute its offense. Miami has the speed to not only help out on defense, but can close the gap on the Mavs’ perimeter shooters. Currently, most of the match-ups are riding in Miami’s favor. Unless Dallas’ core players surround Dirk step up, it’s going to be another season of underachievement for the Mavs.
What I want to know is, why in the hell did Rick Carlisle go away from the 2-3 zone in the second-half? It was working in the first-half and that was one of the biggest reasons why Dallas had the lead. Miami showed its vulnerability against the zone, so why go away from it? Well Rick, you better get to work. Roughly 90% of teams up 2-0 in the NBA Finals go on to win the title (the 06’ Dallas Mavs are one of the few to choke it away).
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com and NBA.com.