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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.

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