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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. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.