MIAMI, FL - JUNE 02: Shawn Marion #0 (R) and Dirk Nowitzki #41 (L) of the Dallas Mavericks celebrate as LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat walks towards the bench in Game Two of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 2, 2011 in Miami, Florida. THe Mavericks won 95-92. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Mavs Can't Complete Comeback, Loses Game 3 To Heat 88-86

On Sunday night, the Mavericks will look to take control of the NBA Finals and take a 2-1 series lead in Dallas

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NBA Finals, Heat Vs Mavericks: Game Three Thoughts

The Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks 88-86 to take a 2-1 lead in the NBA finals.

The Mavericks started out with three impressive defensive possesions but failed to stop the Heat as Wade hit three miraculous layups as the shot clock wound down to salvage six points. It would be that kind of night for Wade. He picked up right where he left off in game two finishing the half with 19 points. With Haywood inactive, pressure was on Tyson Chandler to stay out of foul trouble. Chandler obliged and did not pick up a foul in the first half, substantial since backup center Ian Mahinmi did not. Mahinmi drew an offensive foul as soon as he checked into the game but picked up 3 quick fouls. The Heat attacked the rim early and often to begin the game as Wade and James each had eight points in the first quarter. A Chalmers half-court shot gave them a 29-22 going into the second quarter. The Heat would extend their lead to 45-31 by converting turnovers and playing impervious defense which forced the Mavericks into sloppy offensive possessions. However, the Mavericks were able to close the half on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 47-42 after trailing by 14.

Miami scored eight straight to begin the second half and were up 13 once more.The Mavericks responded by going on a 15-2 run of their own to tie the game at 57. Chandler was immense on the defensive end and even J.J Barea played a part in frustrating the Heat defensively. It was 67-64 heading into the crucial fourth quarter.

As it has in the previous two games, it would once again come down to execution down the stretch. Nowitzki was able to score 12 straight points for the Mavericks and 15 of the Mavericks 22 points in the fourth quarter. Wade would answer by scoring seven straight points for the Heat. With the game tied at 86 the Mavericks made a concentrated effort to keep the ball out of James and Wade's hands and that left Chris Bosh wide open on the baseline and he he hit the game winning jumper with 39 seconds to go.

The Mavericks were able to win the battle of the boards 42-36 without the presence of Haywood which is a good sign. Chandler and Nowitzki picked up the slack nabbing 11 rebounds a piece. They were also able to win the bench battle 25-19. However, Jason Terry's production was nearly matched by Mario Chalmers. Terry scored 15 to Chalmers' 12. And that 15 points came on a very inefficient 5/13 shooting.  Barea continued to struggle in this series as he shot 2/8 for the game. Coming into this series the Mavericks' bench had to severely outplay the Heat to have a chance, they have not.

The Heat's defense has been magnificent through two games but the Mavericks' multitude of unforced turnovers needs to stop in a hurry. Kidd and Barea had four turnovers each. Kidd has particularly struggled in this series shooting 35% from the field and averaging four turnovers a game.

Nowitzki shouldered the load offensively, finishing with 34 points but received no help from his teammates. After averaging 18 points through the first two games, Marion fell back to earth by going 4/12 from the field and scoring ten points. Kidd didn't' provide much help as he finished 3/8 for nine points. Combined with the efforts of Barea and Terry, it was a one man show for the Mavericks. In the fourth quarter, Nowitzki went 4/7 from the field and a perfect 6/6 from the line while the rest of the team went 3/11 from the field and did not attempt a free throw. The Mavericks were +23 with Nowitzki on the floor and -31 with Nowitzki off the floor.

The Mavericks will need Haywood back in game four but it will not matter if they are not able to generate enough offense to help support Dirk's efforts in this series and continue committing careless turnovers.

Game four is Tuesday night at 8:00 CT.


NBA Finals, Game 3: Mavericks Can't Complete Comeback, Fall 88-86

The Dallas Mavericks couldn’t dig themselves out of another large deficit on Sunday night, losing 88-86 to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.

Miami scored six unanswered points to start the second half, giving them a double digit lead yet again. The Mavericks, though, steadily cut into Miami’s lead and at one point went on a 17-3 run to take the lead from Miami.

With the game tied at 86 in the fourth quarter, Chris Bosh hit a jump shot to give the Heat a lead with under a minute to go. Dirk Nowitzki, though, had an uncharacteristic turnover on the ensuing possession, giving the ball back to the Heat with 30 seconds to go.

The Mavericks defense would come up big, not allowing Miami to score. With 4.4 seconds left to go, the Mavericks called time out and drew up a play. Nowitzki missed a fade away jumpshot as time expired, giving the Heat a Game 3 victory and 2-1 series advantage.

Nowitzki was brilliant yet again, despite the loss. The German scored 34 points, including the last 10 points for the Mavericks in the fourth quarter. Nowitzki also grabbed 11 rebounds, tying for the team high with Tyson Chandler. Nowitzki was also a team high +12 for the game as well, with Peja Stojakovic bringing up the rear for the Mavericks, going -11 in just six minutes of play.

Jason Terry finished second for the Mavericks in points, scoring 15, which sheds a bit of light on how little help Nowitzki received in Game 3.

The Mavericks will look to even the series up in Game 4, which will take place on Tuesday night in Dallas.


NBA Finals, Game 3: Heat Lead Mavs 47-42 At Half

Dwyane Wade’s 19 points on 8-13 shooting lead the way as the Miami Heat lead the Dallas Mavericks in Game 3 of the NBA Finals 47-42 at halftime. The Heat led by as many as late in the second quarter, but the Mavericks managed to close to within five to end the second.

LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers added 10, 7 and 6 for the Heat, who shot 42%. Bosh continued his cold shooting int he finals with a 2-9 half. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry led the way for the Mavs with ten points each. Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd had eight and six, as Dallas shot just 39% from the field.

Rebounds and turnovers, two big factors in the first two games, were even. Dallas had the first half edge in three throw attempts, 15-9, but they missed four while Miami was perfect.

With Brendan Haywood out with a hip flexor, Ian Mahnmi logged 5:38 of playing time and racked up three fouls.


Brendan Haywood Inactive For Game Three

Rick Carlisle just announced that Brendan Haywood will indeed be inactive for tonight’s game.

This means Ian Mahinmi will get his first extended run of the playoffs and makes it imperative Tyson Chandler stays out of foul trouble.

Rodrigue Beaubois has been activated in Haywood’s spot.


NBA Finals, Heat Vs. Mavericks: What To Watch For In Game Three

Here are three things to watch for as you get ready for game three of the NBA finals.

Will the Mavericks bench finally put their stamp on this series?

Despite outscoring the Heat in game two, the Mavericks' bench has struggled through two games. While too much emphasis is put on home-court advantage in the playoffs, playing at home tends to have an impact on bench players especially. Jason Terry was able to score eight points in the Mavericks' fourth quarter rally and the Mavericks will have to hope it's a sign that he's finally getting back on track. Peja Stojakovic and J.J Barea have been non-existent through two games. Barea has been able to penetrate but has panicked around the rim while Stojakovic has looked utterly lost on the court. Here's where the home-court advantage comes into play. Barea has shot 43% from the field at home and only 35% from the field on the road. Stojakovic? An even more dramatic split. He's shot 52% from three at home and only 23% on the road. A good sign for the Mavericks as they have the next three games at home.

What kind of impact will Brendan Haywood's injury have?

As of right now, Haywood is being listed as a game-time decision but even if he is able to play, he will be limited. In that case, Ian Mahinmi will be forced into his first extended action in the playoffs. Mahinmi has shown the ability to play and not be overmatched by his opposition even though he's a tad undersized for a center at 6'11. He will have to keep from getting too amped up as he has a tendency to pick up quick fouls. Which puts a ton of pressure on Chandler to stay out of foul trouble. If Chandler is not able to stay out of foul trouble, the Mavericks will have to go small and that has proved to be disastrous against the Heat through two games.

Will Chris Bosh make an appearance in this series?

After shooting 60% from the field in the Eastern Conference finals, Bosh has shot a putrid 26% from the field in the Finals. He has missed some open looks but Chandler's length has played a larger part in bothering his shot than expected. Bosh went to Lincoln high school in Dallas and therefore was rumored to become a Maverick for the longest time because of his Dallas ties. Being a home town guy can be stressful with family and friends asking for tickets among other stuff each time you come home. Bosh has said as much in recent interviews and it shows. He has never won a game in Dallas in his career. 0-8 lifetime. Yikes.

Game three should be fascinating to watch. The Mavericks will have all the momentum after stunning the Heat and stealing game two. But the Heat will come out focused and attacking and it would not surprise me if they take an early lead in this game. The Mavericks have not played there best basketball and yet were able to manage a split. There is not much separating these two teams and game three will likely come down to execution down the stretch. The Heat were able to close out game one, the Mavericks were able to close out game two. Who will close better in game three?

We'll find out tonight.


NBA Finals: Brendan Haywood Listed As Game-Time Decision For Game 3

After the Mavericks’ shootaround Sunday both Brendan Haywood and Rick Carlisle called Haywood a game-time decision for Sunday night’s Game 3 in Dallas. Haywood had to leave Game 2 late because of a hip flexor.

While Haywood hasn’t played heavy minutes or posted big numbers – he’s averaged just 11 minutes, 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds – during the finals, his presence offers insurance against starting center Tyson Chandler finding himself in foul trouble and allows Dallas to maintain a basket defender on the court at all times. Without him they could turn to Ian Mahinmi, though Mahinmi has played a total of six minutes in these playoffs.

They could also use smaller lineups, though the last stretch during which Dallas went without a center was the early part of the fourth quarter in Game two. They found the lead stretched from four to 15 points during those five minutes. They went back to Chandler and immediately began their comeback.


NBA Finals 2011: Danny Crawford Will Officiate Game 3

Mavericks fans received the news they feared over the weekend, as the NBA announced that Danny Crawford will be the lead referee in Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals Sunday night. Crawford will be joined by Scott Foster, Derrick Stafford and alternate Jason Phillips.

The Mavericks’ history with Crawford is well chronicled, as Dallas had been 2-16 in playoff games officiated by him entering this postseason. Using the same proof of results, Crawford could actually be considered a good luck charm this postseason, as he called pivotal games in the Mavs’ first round series with the Blazers and the conference finals with the Thunder.

Dallas won Game 2 of the Portland series 101-89 and won the fourth quarter of that game 28-17. They won Game 4 of the OKC series in comeback fashion and won 112-105 in OT. Those results would seem to ease concerns of suspicious Mavericks fans who still remember Games 3 & 6 of the 2006 Finals when Dwyane Wade shot 39 free throws in the two contests, almost as many as the entire Mavericks team.


NBA Finals, Mavericks Vs. Heat: Game 3

Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals is set for Sunday night as the Dallas Mavericks play host to the Miami Heat. The series, of course, is tied at a game a piece after Dallas' roaring comeback in Game 2, leaving many Heat fans and various NBA analysts stunned. 

On Sunday night, the Mavericks will look to take control of the NBA Finals and take a 2-1 series lead in Dallas. In order to do just that, Dallas will have to continue to hold LeBron James in check, as LeBron only scored 20 points in Game 2, on a paltry 8-15 shooting, including 2-7 from behind the arc. 

Dallas, as they vowed to do, also cleaned up on the boards in Game 2. In Miami's win in Game 1, the Heat outrebounded the Mavericks 46-36. In Dallas' Game 2 win, Dallas won the rebound battle 41-30, with superstar Dirk Nowitzki leading the Mavs with 11 boards.

As previously noted here on SB Nation Dallas, Game 3, historically, is pivotal. Since the NBA Finals switched to a 2-3-2 format, when the series is tied at a game a piece, the winner of Game 3 has won the NBA Finals 100% of the time. This has occurred on 11 occasions, most recently last year when the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in seven games.

Luckily for the Mavericks and their fans, Dallas will be hosting Game 3 - where they're 7-1 in the playoffs thus far. The Heat, meanwhile, are only 4-3 on the road in the playoffs thus far, so the Mavericks have a great opportunity to hold home court and seize series control. 

Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. CDT. Televised coverage can be found on ABC.

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