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The set can probably be boiled down as a staggered screen to offset Miami’s trapping and generally suffocating defense.
As Jason Terry brings the basketball along the wing, Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler get in position and set a staggered ball screen for Terry (with Nowitzki as the front screener and Chandler as the second screener).
What this staggered screen for Jason Terry is that it negates the Heat’s hard trap/hedge on the ball handler, especially on this first position, where the Heat seemed to look a little confused.
The post looks at different things the Mavericks did from the set, but the concept was fairly straightforward. Whether or not the Heat adjust to this particular scheme – and they probably will – one of the keys to this series appears to be Dallas’ ability to offset Miami’s smothering style of defense.
After tearing a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand in Game 1, nobody really knew how he, or that injury, would respond in Game 2. Nowtizki wasn't as efficient from the field as we have grown accustomed to (10-22) but when the Mavs needed him most, he was there with some of his trademark heroics. First, a three that gave the Mavs a 93-90 lead. Then, after a huge mental lapse by Jason terry that allowed a tying three from Mario Chalmers, Dirk drove to the hoop around Chris Bosh and hit a game-winning layup with his left hand. A desperation three pointer by Dwyane Wade went begging, and the Mavs escaped with a 95-93 win. The series is now knotted up at one as it heads back to Dallas.
Dirk said the injury performed better than he expected it to, via Mavs Money Ball.
"It felt great. I thought it wasn't going to bother me before the game, and it didn't. I was able to get a good grip on the ball."
And as for that last play, all started because Dirk realized that the Heat a foul to give. He, like everyone else who has ever seen a basketball game before, thought that the Heat would give a foul if Dirk started going to the hoop. As we all know, they didn't.
"We talked about it. They had a foul to give, so I actually drove a little earlier than I would have, knowing they had a foul to give. Made a move and the foul never came, so I was able to get to the basket and lay it in. That was a big play, and they didn’t have a timeout left, so we had to scramble back."
It doesn't sound like Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was particularly surprised about Dirk playing through the injury, and being able to play as well as he did. He also used a comparison that we've been hearing about a lot during these playoffs.
"I played with Larry Bird when he was the best player in the world. Guys like that don't feel pain right now. If you're feeling pain, you make yourself numb."
Notice that Carlisle quickly makes sure that nobody takes this comment as a nother Pippen/Jordan/LeBron disaster. But this is still high praise for Nowitzki.
This is an important time for the injury, to see how it responds after the game. If he experiences any swelling or discomfort, he has until Sunday to let it heal before Game 3.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals featured an amazing performance by the Dallas Mavericks, who showed the resolve and determination they've shown throughout the playoffs on the way to a 95-93 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday night. The Mavericks victory evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1 as it heads to Dallas for Games 3, 4 and 5.
Dallas won despite gifting the Heat 31 points off of turnovers, having Dwyane Wade go off for 36 points and having Bibby rediscover the fountain of youth for 14 points. So how did they do it?
After he struggled with his shot in Game 1, the Miami Heat looked to get Wade involved early and often in the first half of Game 2. In the first six minutes of the game, Wade was 4-for-6 for eight points and had three assists. He finished the half with 21 points on 9/13, two steals and two blocks. Mike Bibby started the game 2/2 from three and Deshawn Stevenson was able to keep the Mavericks within range with a pair of his own. Peja Stojakovic played five minutes in the first quarter and showed no signs of snapping out of his funk. Peja did not put up one shot but committed a turnover and looked lost on both ends of the floor. J.J Barea checked into the game at the end of the first quarter and immediately attacked the rim, hitting his first layup. Barea continued to play well in the first half, penetrating and creating shots for the Mavericks. The Mavericks had quietly extended their lead to 40-34 when a couple of Wade dunks closed the gap to 40-38. A missed opportunity came a few minutes later when Lebron James picked up his third foul with under four minutes to go in the second quarter. The Mavericks held a 52-41 advantage with a chance to maintain or extend their lead. One thing the Mavericks didn't want to do was get the Heat in the penalty. Inexplicably, the Mavericks fouled the Heat on four straight possessions and a Wade three to end the half had both teams tied going into the break at 51. The Heat ended the half on a 9-0 run.
Turnovers and dunks helped the Heat extend their run to 15-1 and a 57-52 lead. They would lead by 10 a few moments later 71-61. Brian Cardinal got some run with 4:23 left in the third quarter in response to Stojakovic's lackluster play. He soaked up a couple of minutes and then Nowitzki checked back in. The Mavericks were able to string a few offensive possessions to end the quarter and a Terry basket with four seconds left cut the lead to 75-71 going into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter got off to an ominous start as Haywood picked up a strained right hip flexor a minute into the quarter and was done for the game. With the Mavericks needing a spark on offense Rick Carlisle put in an ultra small lineup with no Chandler. The result? A 13-0 run by the Miami Heat. The lead was 88-73 and the Mavericks were all but done. Carlisle inserted Chandler back into the game and good things began to happen. How good? The Mavericks went on a 17-2 run to tie the game at 90. Dirk scored the Mavericks' final nine points including the game winning layup with 3.6 seconds to go. Left handed. The Mavericks had completed another historic comeback and the Heat were left stunned.
The keys coming into the game were the battle of the boards and the benches. The Mavericks won both. They out-rebounded the Heat 41-30 and the bench scored 23 points to the Heat's 11. A definite improvement on the boards but the bench could give them much more. Terry finished with 16 points but was only 5/11 from the field, Barea was 2/7 from the field and Peja was nowhere to be found. If their bench is able to get on track, the Heat could be in trouble. After a subpar game one, Chandler responded well in game two. He finished with 13 points and seven rebounds but was much more active keeping balls alive and really got under the Heat's skin throughout the game. He also played a key role in getting Nowitzki open on the late three that put them up 93-90 by setting a viscous screen on Udonis Haslem.
Dirk showed no ill-effects of the torn tendon on his left hand and finished with 24 points and 11 big rebounds. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the performance of Shawn Marion. He was immense down the stretch in denying James and Wade which forced them into contested threes and finished the game with 20 points and eight rebounds.This game is not won without Marion.
Of course, the Mavericks could not mount this comeback without some help from the Miami Heat. The Heat attempted 30 three pointers and were only able to convert nine. The shots that were falling in game one for Wade and James did not fall in game two as they each went 2/7 from behind the arc. The ball movement became non-existent and they began to hoist threes as their lead began to dwindle. They thought they had this game won with seven minutes to go and became complacent at 88-73. The Mavericks took advantage of it, began to hit the open shots they were missing all series and simply stole a game in Miami.
While this may have shellshocked some other teams, I expect the Heat to come out firing in game three but the goal coming in for the Mavericks was to gain a split. It didn't matter how, just get a split. Turns out, it took comeback for the ages. But, hey, they're coming back to Dallas with a split.
Game 3 is Sunday in Dallas at 7 p.m. CT.
The Dallas Mavericks scored 22 of the last 27 points in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals, and Dirk Nowitzki scored his team’s last nine. But it was Nowitzki’s driving left-handed layup against Chris Bosh with 3.6 seconds remaining that won the game for Dallas.
After a Mario Chalmers three-pointer evened the game with 24 seconds remaining, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra opted to defend Nowitzki one-on-one with Bosh. Miami had a foul to give early but allowed Nowitzki to get the ball and start his move. With the court spread, Nowitzki received the ball at the three-point line and backed Bosh down to the left elbow. A spin to his left and then a stutter step move caught Bosh off guard and gained Nowitzki enough separation to get to the basket.
Miami was late in helping Bosh at the basket, as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade covered Jason Terry and Shawn Marion on each baseline and Udonis Haslem had to keep track of Tyson Chandler, who was moving toward the basket along the right baseline.
Bosh said the play was typical Dirk, but that his defensive lapse was to blame.
He does the move that he always does. He uses his body well. I got caught up in trying to cover his drive, and that’s what he wanted. For a split second I just played bad defense and it cost us two points.
On whether his technical inspired his team:
It seemed to inspire the referees. Look, I’m not going to get into a big thing about the officiating. I stand up for my guys. If I think things are going on out there that aren’t fair, I’m going to fight for them. That’s just how I do business. If you get a technical once in a while, you get a technical once in a while. That was a long time ago, now.
On Shawn Marion’s performance:
He was great. We need him on the floor because of his defense, and offensively he’s given us points and playmaking. His movement on the court makes a lot of things happen for us.
On what he said to get his team going:
Just ‘hang in, let’s get some stops, let’s put some pressure on them.’ We hadn’t really put any pressure at all on them in two games. It’s hard because they put you in a lot of bad situations. They have breathtaking ability out there on the court. But by being solid and getting a couple of stops and then scoring, we got some momentum and it worked out.
On when he realized that they could come back:
Five minutes is a long time. If you’re getting stops and scores you can make up ground in a hurry. The key is to understand that there are no six point plays. You have to do it one play at a time. To win a championship series you have to have some good fortune, along with playing hard and giving yourself a chance.
On Nowitzki’s overall performance:
Rebounding was the biggest issue we had coming into this game. Guys did a much better job tonight and were more conscientious. Dirk had a great all-around game. He missed some shots early in the game, but he was getting double-teamed and he did a good job of making passes that led to opportunities for other guys. Defensively he kept a body on his man and cleaned up possessions with defensive rebounds.
On Nowitzki using his left hand to score late, despite a torn tendon in his finger:
Look, I played with Bird for three years when he was the best player in the world, and guys like that don’t feel pain right now. You play, and if you’re feeling pain you make yourself numb.
See Carlisle’s comments on nba.com.
Dallas was down 1-0 in the series and down by 15 with a little over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Their chance at a title seemed to be winding down, but Dirk Nowitzki would not let them die. After a 3-10 first half with just one rebound, Nowitzki came alive late to score his team’s last nine points in a frantic 22-5 run late in the fourth and even the 2011 NBA Finals at a game a piece.
Until the last few minutes, the game appeared to belong to Dwyane Wade. Wade led all scorers with 36 points on 13-20 shooting and filled up the box score with five rebounds, six assists (to just one turnover), three steals and two blocked shots. Miami also got a big game from Mike Bibby, who hit four of seven three pointers.
But it was Nowitzki who came through down the stretch. After hitting a layup and a three-pointer to give Dallas its first lead of the fourth quarter, Nowitzki answered a game-tying three from Mario Chalmers with a driving layup past Chris Bosh to give Dallas the lead, 95-93, with 3.6 seconds remaining. Wade’s desperation heave at the buzzer went off the rim and Dallas headed home with the even series they sought.
Game three in Dallas is Sunday at 7:00 CDT, 8:00 EDT on ABC. See you there.
The Mavericks accomplished some of their goals heading into Game 2 and led for much of the second quarter, but they find themselves tied at halftime, one point worse than where they sat in game one. Dallas has outrebounded Miami 18-16, held Miami to just two offensive rebounds, and they're finding much better shots, shooting 49% from the field and 44% from three. But Dwyane Wade and LeBron James have carried the Heat, shooting a combined 14-20 and scoring 33 points. Wade in particular has filled up the stat sheet, hitting for 21 with three assists, two rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
On the other hand, Dirk Nowitzki has been held in check, shotting just 3-10 and collecting only one rebound. He also has two turnovers. Jason Terry has also not found the mark, as he is just 1-5. Dallas has been led offensively by unexpected sources. Shawn Marion has ten poitns on 4-5 shooting, and DeShawn Stevenson has made three of four three-pointers. He also has two rebounds and two steals.
Dallas must win to avoid serious trouble - a 93% historical win percentage for teams who win the first two games of a 2-3-2 Finals.
The NBA has released the names of the officials for Game 2 of the NBA Finals Thursday night, and it's an interesting bunch. Joey Crawford, Ed Malloy and Ken Mauer are scheduled to officiate, with Bill Spooner once again serving as the alternate official.
Crawford is notorious for taking over games with whistles, so this will be a storyline for tonight's game. Malloy has a quick double-technical whistle. With Tyson Chandler sitting on four playoff techs and needing just three more to receive a one-game suspension ... and also needing a much more aggressive game than his Game 1 performance, Mavericks fans will be concerned that Malloy could blow a quick double-tech.
Mauer is regarded as pro-Rick Carlisle by Tim Donaghy, who said on the radio recently that the pair "go way back" and have corresponded. Mauer called Game 1 of the Mavericks' first round series with Portland. Dallas shot 29 free throws to Portland's 13 in that game, and Blazers coach Nate McMillan was fined after the game for complaining about the officiating.
Dallas has thus far avoided their nemeses, Danny Crawford and Bennett Salvatore.
It might be stating the obvious, but the Dallas Mavericks cannot afford to drop Game 2 against the Heat and fall into an 0-2 hole. As Calvin Watkins points out, a team that goes up 2-0 in the NBA Finals wins the series 93.3% of the time - at least under the current format.
At the Mavericks' shootaround Thursday morning, Dirk Nowitzki emphasized his team can't get down 0-2 in the best-of-7 series.
Under the current 2-3-2 format, a team with a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals wins the title 93.3 percent of the time.
Only three teams in NBA Finals history have returned from an 0-2 deficit to win the title. The last team to do it was the 2006 Miami Heat, which beat the Mavs in six games.
It would be somewhat poetic if the Mavericks lost Game 2 on Thursday night and then rattled off four straight wins to win the NBA Finals in Miami against the very same team that beat them in the 2006 NBA Finals - but I think the Mavericks and their fans would rather not go down that route.
Again per Calvin Watkins, Dirk Nowitzki thinks that the Mavericks need to do a better job of rebounding - or else they'll find themselves in an 0-2 hole.
"You never want to be down 2-0 in a series; that's a big hole to overcome," Nowitzki said. "It's not impossible, but we'd love to go home sitting pretty 1-1. We've got to go for it and compete a little harder, rebound better. I think that's a big key. The Heat is a very explosive offensive team and we have to hold them to one shot, rebound the ball and speed the game up some."
Here's hoping the Mavs avoid an 0-2 hole tonight in Miami.
The Dallas Mavericks ranked among the league leaders in using zone defense during the regular season, but head coach Rick Carlisle told the media prior to Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, "We're not going to make a living off of zone." Perhaps that's a good call.
In the regular season, the Heat faced a zone defense on 226 possessions, or just under three possessions per game, according to Synergy Sports Technology. In that limited sample size, they were only marginally less effective against zone defenses (scoring 0.951 points per possession) than against man-to-man defenses (0.955 points per possession). When one weighs the risk of playing zone--which reduces turnover creation and generally leads to weakness on the defensive glass--against its minimal reward against this particular Heat team, it's easy to understand why Carlisle might be tempted to scale back his team's use of zone as the series moves forward.
With that said, even some man-to-man defenses have zone principles. For instance, any defense which tilts or cheats to the strong side of the floor, perhaps to discourage a particular player from driving, uses zone on the weak side, often with two or three defenders trying to account for three or four offensive players. Though technically a man-to-man set, such an alignment pulls one defender away from his man ever so slightly, creating a zone on one side of the floor. Against Miami, which boasts, in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, two of the most fearsome slashers in the game today, these defensive sets are not uncommon.
Dirk Nowitzki is trying his hardest to make the torn tendon in the middle finger of his left hand a non-issue before Thursday's Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals. But no matter what he says, that injury is turning into one of the biggest storylines of the Finals. Dirk isn't worried about how the finger will feel when he is shooting, but he is a little concerned about some "incidental contact" from the Miami Heat defenders; according to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News.
"This is not the first injury I've played through in my career," Nowitzki said Wednesday. "I'm not really worried about it. I think once the game starts, the adrenaline starts flowing, I don't think it will really slow me down much. I'm really more worried about the ball-handling with the left and finishing on some layups with the left than about them swiping down, going for the finger."
Well, Nowitzki won't have to worry about that when he is being guarded by Udonis Haslem at least, as we mentioned earlier, so that might not be too much of a problem for him. The best thing about the injury is that it is on Dirk's left, or non-shooting, hand. He might not even need a splint. So even if there is some stiffness, it won't necessarily affect his shot. If Kobe was able to play a full season with a busted up pinkie on his shooting hand, Dirk should be OK with an injury on his left hand.
We'll be following this injury and Game 2 of the NBA Finals in this StoryStream, but check out Mavs Money Ball for more on the Mavericks.
Some of the concern after Dirk Nowitzki revealed in his post-Game 1 press conference that he had a torn tendon in his left middle finger centered around the finger being a target of Heat players. Hands – and Dirk’s in particular – are exposed for virtually any player with the ball, and he has the ball a lot.
I’m not that type of player that’s going to slap him on the hand every chance I get or anything like that," Haslem said. "I don’t believe in that.
The greater difficulty for the Mavericks is that swipes at the ball won’t only come from dirty plays. A popular way to defend the German is to attempt to take advantage of his naturally high dribble and long movements to knock the ball loose. And even if Haslem doesn’t take that approach, he will only guard Nowitzki for roughly half of the game.
Mavs Moneyball’s Lisa Rotter is in Miami with the teams and looks ahead to Game 2 Thursday night. She says that we can expect better shooting from both sides and that it’s time for the Dallas bench to pick up their play.
Rotter spoke with Dirk Nowitzki about his injured finger and about his team’s mindset after losing Game 1.
Monday, before practice, Dirk told the media what he had been saying to the team all season long: you can’t get too high on the highs, or too low on the lows. When I asked him if that still rang true after Tuesday’s loss, he said, “The mood is not great after a loss, but that’s natural. We’re a veteran team that’s seen a lot in this league, and that was a tough loss. It was right there, I mean as poorly as we played on both ends of the floor, we were only down four with a couple of minutes left. There were some positives to take out of this game and we’ve just got to be a little sharper tomorrow… we’ve got to come back and be better, so hopefully our guys take the challenge.”
Entering the NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks knew that they would have to be the aggressor, pound the glass and hit shots to beat a Miami Heat team that had not yet lost at home in the playoffs. They did none of those things in Game 1. The tide will be even tougher to turn in Game 2, but the resilient Mavs have to feel like they can't play much worse. Miami held Dallas to 37% shooting and outrebounded them 16-6 on the offensive glass on the way to a 92-84 victory in the opener.
To add injury to insult, Nowitzki tore a tendon in his left middle finger late in the fourth quarter. He is convinced that the injury won't inhibit him much and is considering not even wearing a splint. For the Heat, Mike Miller is battling a shoulder problem but also expects to be fine for Thursday. Dallas will still be without Caron Butler, who hopes to play later in the series. Butler is now five months removed from tearing his patellar tendon.
Dallas will look to match Miami's dogged pursuit of rebounds and loose balls and will hope to continue their edge at the free throw line. The Mavs also need to see improvement from their bench, which has given them a big advantage in the first three rounds but was outscored 27-17 and outshot 36%-18% in Game 1.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals tips Thursday night in Miami at 8 p.m. CDT on ABC. Local radio is ESPN 103.3.
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