Mavericks Even Up NBA Finals With 86-83 Win

The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in a must win situation on Tuesday night as they play host to the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

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NBA Finals: Mavericks' Brendan Haywood May Miss Rest Of Series Against Heat

Brendan Haywood returned in Game 4 of the NBA Finals for the Dallas Mavericks - but he played only three minutes. Haywood missed Game 3 and was limited in Game 4 because of a strained right hip flexor, and Haywood may now miss the rest of the series against the Heat because of it.

According to Tim MacMahon, Haywood concedes he may not play again this season. 

Haywood might not play another minute this series.

"It's a four-to-five-week injury. I'm trying to get out there in four to five days," Haywood said. "That's just the situation. It's a little disheartening, but it is what it is."    

Given how Haywood described how the injury was affecting him, this might not be a bad thing.

The Mavs didn't know whether Haywood could contribute in Game 4, but they decided to let him try after he tested the hip during the team's morning shootaround. It was painfully obvious that Haywood couldn't help the Mavs when Miami's Chris Bosh blew by him for an easy layup moments after the backup big man replaced Tyson Chandler.

"When I got on Bosh laterally, I couldn't move," Haywood said. "I couldn't move. I could tell it was giving me some problems."

Haywood told coach Rick Carlisle that he was unavailable for the rest of the game. Chandler played 43 minutes, scoring 13 points and grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds.    

Once again, the Mavericks will have to be fighting against fatigue and the Heat, as Chandler is going to have another heavy workload in Game 5.


NBA Finals, Game 4: Was Shawn Marion Injured Or Benched?

Shawn Marion sat for all but the last play of Game 4’s fourth quarter. Considering that he has been the team’s second best player these playoffs and that he’d piled up 16 points on 7-12 shooting (he and Tyson Chandler were the only Mavs who shot over 50%) in the first three quarters, that was a big surprise.

Marion appeared to be injured or at least slowed. After being kicked late in the third, he had ice wrapped around his calf while on the bench. But he was reinserted for that key sequence at the end of the game and told reporters after the game that he was fine physically.

I’m walking. I’m good. I think it was a matter of how the flow of the game was going and that’s what happens.

Marion’s ten or so minutes went to DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea, who played 26 and 22 minutes. Stevenson hit three of seven three-pointers and scored 11 points. Barea struggled in a starting role but did distribute the ball.


NBA Finals, Heat Vs Mavericks: Game 4 Thoughts

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 86-83 to tie the best of seven series at two.

The Mavericks were looking for a hot start after continuously falling from behind in the previous three games and Dirk Nowitzki obliged by starting the game 3/3 and giving the Mavericks an early 6-0 lead. Offensive rebounding and turnovers have been the Mavericks' Achilles heal throughout these finals and the first quarter was no different. The Mavericks committed five turnovers and gave up nine offensive rebounds which left them tied at 21 after one despite holding Miami to 30% shooting in the quarter.

Miami continued it's fast start to quarters by scoring seven straight to begin the second. The Mavericks countered by scoring nine straight points of their own and took a 38-34 lead. Chris Bosh hit the game winning shot in game three and got off to a torrid start in game four going 8/12 for 16 points in the first half. Deshawn Stevenson came off the bench and poured in 11 while Jason Terry helped with nine points of his own. After starting the game 3/3 Dirk finished the half just 4/10 and the Heat held a 47-45 advantage at the half.

At the half word came down that Nowitzki was battling a fever of up to 103 degrees and that Haywood was done for the rest of the game. The Mavericks needed to dig deep in the second half if they were to avoid a 3-1 deficit. Marion picked up the slack with ten points in the third quarter but it was Dwyane Wade who continued to torch the Mavericks helping Miami to a 69-65 lead after three.

The Heat scored six straight points to begin the fourth upping their lead to nine at 74-65. Terry hit back to back baskets coming out of a timeout and just like that.. the comeback was on.  When it was all set and done, the Mavericks had outscored Miami 19-9 in the final ten minutes of the fourth quarter.  They held Miami to one field goal in the last 7:24-  a dunk by Wade with nine seconds left in the game. A Nowitzki layup with 14.4 seconds gave the Mavericks a three point cushion at 84-81. Two huge free-throws by Terry and a botched final possession by Miami sealed the game and the series was tied.

Nowitzki's performance while battling a fever upwards of a 100 is remarkable and he continues to leave spectators speechless night in and night out. Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.  Once again, Nowitzki was magnificent in the fourth quarter, scoring ten of his 21 points in the fourth. In the finals, Nowitzki has not had a fourth quarter in which he's scored less than nine points.


Jason Terry brought a lot of unwarranted attention to himself prior to the game by calling into question James' defensive ability. Well, it appears he knew what he was talking about. Terry was immense off the bench finishing with 17 points and scored eight points in the fourth quarter. He did not commit a turnover in the pivotal fourth and continuously abused James off the dribble. If you're going to talk a big game, you have to back it up. Terry did that- at least for one night.   

After getting destroyed on the offensive glass early in the game, the Mavericks were only outrebounded by three overall, 44-41 and by three on the offensive glass 15-12. How did this happen? Tyson Chandler. With Haywood unable to go in the second half, the onus was on Chandler to stay in the game and he responded by playing 43 huge minutes. He was the unsung hero for the Mavericks scoring 13 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Of those 16 boards, nine were on the offensive end. He provided the Mavericks with a massive lift and his performance can not be understated.

Brian Cardinal was able to give the Mavericks seven all out hustle minutes and played decent defense against Bosh when called up in that short span. The insertion of JJ Barea into the starting lineup did not have initial success on the offensive end but was able to help out the Mavericks on the defensive end. It provided the opportunity for Stevenson or Marion be fresh at all times and put a good defender on Wade or James throughout the game. Wade has been unconscious all series hitting an array of circus shots and finished with 32 points. James? The defensive rotation limited him to 3/11 shooting and eight points. I'd consider that a successful adjustment by coach Carlisle.

These games have all been decided in the fourth quarter. The Mavericks were able to make the crucial plays down the stretch in games two and four, the Heat made the plays in games one and three. The Heat have yet to lose back to back games in this postseason. Thursday would be a great time to end that streak.

Game 5 is Thursday night at 8:00 CT.


NBA Finals, Game 4: Mavericks Beat Heat, Even Up Series

The Dallas Mavericks came up big on Tuesday night, defeating the Miami Heat 86-83 to even up the NBA Finals at two games a piece. 

The Mavericks trailed the Heat by two points at the half, but once again, rallied late in the game. Dallas' defense held the Heat to just 14 fourth quarter points - which is pretty remarkable for a team that boasts Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

Just like the past two games, Game 4 of the NBA Finals came down to the last shot. With the Mavericks up by one point with just over 30 seconds to play, Dirk Nowitzki drove to the basket to hit a layup with 14 seconds left, giving the Mavericks a three point lead.

Wade would then drive in for an uncontested dunk, cutting Dallas' lead to one point. Miami fouled Jason Terry with six seconds to play, and Terry nailed both free throws, putting Dallas up by three.

Out of a timeout, Miami looked to get the ball to Wade, who fumbled the ball, dove backcourt to save a back court violation and managed to get the ball to Mike Miller, who missed a three as time expired, sealing the win for Dallas.

The Mavericks won despite one of Nowitzki's worst performances so far, as the German was just 6-19 shooting from the field tonight. As usual, though, Nowitzki was excellent from the free throw line, shooting nine out of 10. 

Nowitzki did finish with a double-double, with 21 points and 11 rebounds - and this is despite having a fever of 103. 

Tyson Chandler played a team high 43 minutes for the Mavericks, scoring 13 points while grabbing 16 rebounds - seven of them offensive. 

Brendan Haywood did play for just over three minutes, scoring no points and going -10 in his brief time on the court. 

Dallas' defense was excellent once again, holding LeBron James to a meager eight points in 46 minutes. James was three of eleven shooting from the field, but did have nine rebounds and seven assists. 

Game 5 will be held in Dallas on Thursday, as the Mavericks look to take a 3-2 series lead headed back to Miami. 


NBA Finals, Game 4 Score: Heat Lead Mavs 47-45 At Halftime

A tight first half ended with a 13-7 Heat run as Miami led Dallas 47-45 at halftime in the pivotal Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The Heat started slow from the field and only hit one three-pointer in the half, but they closed strong from inside the arc and held Dirk Nowitzki to another poor first half of eight points and just one rebound.

Chris Bosh led the way for Miami with 16, a bad sign for the Mavericks, and Dwyane Wade chipped in 13. LeBron James had just four, and Mario Chalmers also added five points and four assists.

Rick Carlisle made a surprising starting lineup change, inserting J.J. Barea for DeShawn Stevenson. The move had an unexpected result, as Stevenson led Dallas in scoring with 11 points off the bench. Jason Terry had 9, and Tyson Chandler had a nice first half, with seven points and eight rebounds.

Miami dominated the indicator stats, outrebounding Dallas 24-16 and collecting ten offensive boards. They held Dallas to an unusually low nine assists and forced eight turnovers.

Udonis Haslem is the only player in the game with three fouls.

Game 5 will be in Dallas once more, Thursday night at 8:00 CDT. A win by Miami tonight would make that game a potential closer, and possibly their second championship celebration on Dallas’ court.


NBA Finals, Game 4: Mavericks' Brendan Haywood Active Tonight Against Heat

The Dallas Mavericks will be getting a bit of a boost tonight in Game 4 of the NBA Finals when they play host to the Miami Heat. Seven foot center Brendan Haywood is active tonight, per Earl K. Snead. 

Carlisle says Brendan Haywood is active.    

Haywood missed Game 3 thanks to a hip injury, and his status was in the air for Game 4 tonight. Haywood had been labeled as a game time decision, and would only be active and play if he felt near 70 percent strength. 

This means that Ian Mahinmi will likely have his minutes reduced. Mahinmi played only eight minutes in the Game 3 loss to Miami, missing his only shot from the field while grabbing a single rebound. He did add two free throws to account for his only two points. Further, Mahinmi was -6 in his very limited minutes.

Haywood played in both the Game 1 loss and Game 2 win, but played only eight minutes in Game 2. We'll see how much he and his hip can play tonight as the Mavericks look to tie the series up against the Heat.


NBA Finals, Game 4: Mavericks' J.J. Barea To Start, Brian Cardinal Will Receive Increased Minutes

The Dallas Mavericks will be shaking things up a bit in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. Needing a win to avoid facing elimination in Game 5, head coach Rick Carlisle has decided to start J.J. Barea in place of DeShawn Stevenson. Furthermore, Brian Cardinal will be ahead of Peja Stojakovic in the rotation tonight off the bench.

SB Nation's Tom Ziller offered some insight into these moves by the Mavs.

The shake-up is a bit stunning, as Stevenson is the only Maverick who has had any bit of success guarding Dwyane Wade in the NBA Finals. Jason Kidd will move over to check Wade, who is averaging 29 points per game on 56 percent shooting in the series. While Rick Carlisle has played Barea substantial minutes when Wade is in the game, it hasn't exactly worked. You saw Wade's numbers. He's scorching Kidd.


The Cardinal ascension is just odd; the wily veteran known affectionately as The Custodian for his penchant for dirty work at the expense of skilled plays will likely look to keep Miami off-balance and provide help defense at the rim.

At the very least, Stojakovic's minutes will be reduced. Given how poorly he played in very limited time in Game 3, this is likely a good thing. 

Still, starting Barea seems odd. He offered very little off the bench in Game 3 and came off as reckless with the basketball. Barea and the rest of the Mavericks' secondary players will have to show a much better effort in Game 4, otherwise they'll stare elimination in the face in Game 5.

We'll see how Carlisle's moves pan out tonight in Game 4, with tipoff scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT. 


NBA Finals, Game 4: Mavericks Fighting Fatigue, Heat

The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in a must win situation on Tuesday night as they take on the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals - but they might be playing against themselves, as well. 

It's no secret that the Dallas Mavericks are an old team, with Jason Kidd leading the AARP charge. Kidd isn't the only Maverick with some mileage on him, as Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki are all in their 30s as well. Because of that, the Mavericks might actually be playing against themselves as well - fighting fatigue as well as the Heat.

Jeff Caplan over at ESPN Dallas had an interesting take on this:

The Mavs don' t know if they'll be without backup center Brendan Haywood for a second consecutive game. Peja Stojakovic is such a defensive liability that he can't stay on the floor and when he is out there he's not hitting his 3-point shot. Dallas was basically left with a two-man bench in Game 3. Jason Terry and J.J. Barea, both of whom are struggling to score, are the only Mavs reserves that played more than eight minutes. 

It left Dallas' starters, four of whom are 32 or older, including 38-year-old Jason Kidd, logging significant minutes. Shawn Marion played 43 minutes, Dirk Nowitzki played 42 and Tyson Chandler logged 40 minutes.     

Simply put, Dallas needs more production out of their bench. Stojakovic was easily the worst Maverick in Game 3, going -11 in just six minutes of play. J.J. Barea was also a liability. Despite being +3, he was just two of eight from the field in 19 minutes, and dished out only one assist. 

We'll see if the Mavericks can make adjustments - like they did in a Game 2 victory - and come back and even the series up at 2-2. 


NBA Finals: JJ Barea To Start In Game Four?

According to Alex Kennedy, Rick Carlisle will start JJ Barea tonight in place of Deshawn Stevenson.

Barea played a part in the Mavericks’ third quarter comeback and I assume Carlisle liked what he saw if he is indeed starting him tonight. This will hurt the Mavericks defensively as Stevenson is the far superior defender but it looks like Carlisle is gambling that Barea makes up for it by getting the Mavericks’ offense out to a hot start for the first time in this series.


NBA Finals, Game 4: Mavericks Look To Even Up Series Against Heat

The Dallas Mavericks find themselves in a must-win situation already in the NBA Finals, as they play host to the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. 

Dallas dropped Game 3 to Miami at home on Sunday night, losing 88-86 after Dirk Nowitzki missed a potential game tying shot as time expired. That win gave Miami a 2-1 series lead and control of the series. 

The Mavericks are doing a good, if not great, job on defense, holding the Heat to 90 points per game so far in the Finals. Dallas needs to cut down on the turnovers and generate more points if they're going to even up the series at 2-2 on Monday night. 

In the Game 3 loss, both Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea committed four turnovers, contributing to eight of the team's 14 overall. Only three Mavericks were in double figures for points scored in Game 3 as well, with Nowitzki scoring 34 while Jason Terry added 15 and Shawn Marion added 10. 

Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas also believes that Dallas' bench play will have to improve in order to beat the Heat. 

The Dallas bench, the highest-scoring during the regular season at about 20 points, is averaging half that in this series. J.J. Barea, who turned into a mini-star with his breathtaking penetrations against the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder, has been totally removed as a threat. He's averaging 4.3 points and shooting 21.1 percent. 

He got into the lane in Game 1, but couldn't finish. Ever since, his drives to the rim have been few and far between. 

"Any time I get by him [Heat guard Mario Chalmers], LeBron is waiting for me at the free throw line and the big guys are waiting for me under the rim," Barea said. "Team effort, they're doing a good job. They know if they want to win they've got to be like that."     

The Mavericks have plenty of adjustments to make if they want to even the series up, but they had plenty to make after the Game 1 loss as well - specifically on the glass - and came back and won Game 2. We'll see if the Mavericks can do the same on Tuesday against the Heat.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CDT. Televised coverage can be found on ESPN.

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