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Hoop it up all week with SI.com's writers in the NBA Playoffs Blog, a daily journal of NBA commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
1:15 AM ET, 6/14/06

Mavs still in great shape

Posted by Ian Thomsen
MIAMI -- With 5:50 to go and the Heat trailing 89-78, this place was as quiet as Atlanta's gym in February. Dwyane Wade was carrying five personal fouls, and every time Dallas ran its halfcourt offense you looked to see who Wade was guarding and whether he was in danger of fouling out, because he was the only hope of rescuing Miami from a 3-0 deficit.

Wade looked exhausted even while he was throwing down half of his team's points as Miami outscored Dallas 30-19 over the final quarter, and 22-7 over the final 6½ minutes. Even so, no one was surprised by his outburst considering the circumstances. He's become so reliably splendid that you'd almost be disappointed if he failed to come up with 42 points on 26 shots in a game like this.

More amazing were a couple of performances at the foul line: Shaquille O'Neal sank both of his free throws cleanly with 1:48 remaining to bring Miami within 93-90. And then more shocking still was Dirk Nowitzki's free-throw miss with 3.4 seconds left that would have tied the game. The crowd couldn't believe its luck when one of the league's purest shooters failed to convert.

And yet the bottom line now is that Dallas looks stronger than ever. This was one that the Heat absolutely had to win and yet they couldn't elevate their play. Instead of building on their 10-point advantage in the second quarter, they enabled the visitors to turn the game upside-down for a nine-point Dallas advantage in the third. The Mavericks didn't play their best and yet were still in command midway through the fourth.

Dallas has proved that it can control the tempo and execute at a high level. Meanwhile, Miami has rarely looked comfortable and has yet to show that it can turn a brief run into something more meaningful. The Mavericks' speed and balance are neutralizing Shaq; it's as if Dallas is using the same formula that Chicago employed against Miami in the opening round but with far more talent. The Heat had their way against straightforward playoff opponents like the Nets and Pistons who were incapable of varying their approach. But even after this loss, Dallas still looks too versatile and confusing for the Heat to manage.

Comments:

you know what the sad thing about all of this is? Miami should be up at least 2-1 in this series.

One thing is keeping them from running away with the title: TURNOVERS

It killed them in Game 1, horribly hampered them in Game 2, and nearly killed them in Game 3.

I don't know how many times I've seen 3 second violations, travels, and errant passes that have been turned into Dallas points. When Antoine Walker drives the lane, it looks like he's driblling on the moon, everytime I'm expecting a turnover rather than an easy layup.

I guarantee, if Miami can keep their turnovers under 10 a game, they'll win this series.
Posted: 2:56 AM   by NBA Observer
Its true. Miami is a very good team and got a big win tonight but Dallas is just to deep and to fast. Miami had a great run at the end to pull this one out but they got help from the refs who didn't call what looked like a blocking foul on Wade at the 2 minute mark at midcourt. They also seemed to refuse to call a foul against Miami in the last two minutes exempting the Nowitzki foul that no one could miss. I don't think they will get these kinds of breaks again and Dallas will probably close this out in 5 to 6.
Posted: 3:08 AM   by Anonymous
perfectly put....your observations were right on....mavs are in complete control....one missed stat by everyone....a missing jerry stackhouse was 1-9 4pts and only 1 assist
Posted: 3:17 AM   by Anonymous
Someone has to say something about how Shaq got to the line to make those 2 free throws. He shoved Dampier out of the way and it was not called. During the Heats comeback run at the end it sure looked like Stern and the NBA marketing dept made sure the Heat got all the calls they needed.
Posted: 3:52 AM   by Anonymous
I agree with all your points.. However, Miami too hasn't played to it's potential this whole series including this win. If Miami can go back to the level of play they had against detroit, I wouldn't be surprised if they win the next two games. From a lighter side, who the heck would think before the game the Shaq's freethrows would help Miami win and Dirk's miss would cost the Mavs the game. Wow, great game indeed.
Posted: 4:05 AM   by Anonymous
another thing people miss about this game is that the heat were supposed to dominate this one to show their detractors that they are at par with the mavericks. the truth is they didn't and was just lucky to win this one. how lucky? c'mon shaq making two clutch free,
This is the NBA finals and I didn't think that Dallas would sweep the Heat. Wade had a terrific game! Miami has one game, but like Phonenix I think this win is going to take too much out of the tank. Wade will not have another night like this until next year. Dallas in 5.
Posted: 6:43 AM   by Anonymous
We all know how Dallas is dominating, the bench is deep, no answer for Terry........Truth be said, though it's the turnovers that are killing the Heat. Their bench is non-existent on offence/ defence. This win (though fortuitous) may just prove how fallible the Mavs are. Shaq has yet to break out, Zo to bring the energy from the bench. Haslem needs to keep the lock down on Dirk. If Wade takes some heat off Shaq, If the Heat bench wakes up, If Walker contributes on offence,If the Heat can consistently play the 4 quarters?.... They will not dominate Dallas, but can make the Finals very interesting!
Posted: 7:57 AM   by Anonymous
It's true of the fact that Dallas has been pretty much in control of this series. Can't argue against that...But what I do want to point out is the fact that Heat have actually had a chance to win all 3 of these games. Yes, even a slight chance in game 2! They'll be in position to make a run and next thing you know, here's another turnover.

But back to game 3...If Shaq could have kept up his end of the bargain throughout the entire game last night, this wouldn't have been nearly as close. He started out looking dominant early but in my opinion Dampier outplayed him the rest of the way. Miami is going ot need to more CONSISTENCY from the big fella. You can't count on Wade to do it all every night.

I am a Heat fan but I have to give Dallas their props thus far. They are outplaying the Heat at alomst every position on the floor. Terry/Harris over Williams/Payton.
Howard/Stack over Walker/Posey.
Nowitzki over Haslem.
Dampier/Diop over Shaq/Zo.
Now if the Heat can turn it around in any of these battles (especially at center) you have to say that the odds are with Miami. Until this happens, Dallas just may pull this off.
Posted: 8:02 AM   by Anonymous
Funny how you call Shaq out for pushing Damp, when a quarter earlier, Zo was pushed under the basket by Damp, leading to an open Damp and an easy dunk. If anything, this series has been refed relatively well considering the horrible calls in the playoffs from both conferences to date.
Posted: 8:08 AM   by Anonymous
Miami had to win this game, plus its in their house....that lift goes away in game 4 after Avery Johnson tongue lashes the Mavericks for coughing up a 13pt lead....Dallas in 5
Posted: 8:18 AM   by Anonymous
I think a rare coaching mistake by Avery Johnson cost the Mavs the game. With 6 minutes left, Avery Johnson opted to slow the game down and that played in the Heats favor. The problem was not that it ended up playing in the Heats favor, but that this was obviously going to play into the Heats favor. Dallas has been killing the Heat this series with their speed and fitness (largely due to having a deper team). They should have continued to play the game that gives them the biggest edge. Conservatism doesn't work in investing, it doesn't work in poker, it rarely works in sports, and it definitely didn't work for the Mavs last night.
Posted: 8:24 AM   by Anonymous
I Live in Dallas but have been pulling for Miami because of the Shaq and Kobe blowout, but I have to give it to Dallas, they are too good. I expected Miami to win game 3 and they should have, but Dallas embarrased them on their own floor. Miami should have never lost the lead. It just shows that when Dallas is ready, they will close it out. Avery will have it no other way
Posted: 8:53 AM   by Anonymous
At home. Fired up crowd. The title on the line. Lose and it is all over but the fat lady singing and the Heat could only barely pull out a 2 point win. This team is playing like they have nothing to win rather than nothing to lose.
Posted: 9:05 AM   by Anonymous
Great Article! I couldn't agree more. All the excuses that Miami didn't do this or are playing badly the bottom line is in a 7 game series the better team wins about 99 out of 100. And the simple truth is Dallas is the better and more talented team.
Posted: 9:07 AM   by Anonymous
Missed foul calls are a part of every game. The Heat have been a moderately high turnover team all year. You can't expect them to start holding on to the ball at this point in the season especially with all the defensive pressure the Mavs are exerting.

Wade had a game for the ages and the Mavericks still came "this" close to winning. A good game all around for entertaining basketball.
Posted: 9:08 AM   by Anonymous
Okay I haven't seen the entire game ( I only saw the last quarter and a half) but I have seen the first two games. I have to agree: Mavs look in control. This is a game they should have won and just didn't do it. Nowitzki of all people choked on the free-throws. But from Miami's perspective there is one shining light: The Flash - Wade.
Yes it's his show. Move over Shaq! It's now Wade. What does this mean for Miami? Well maybe Riley needs to study a la Kobe Bryant in LA or even Michael Jordan in the old Chicago days. Why not study his arch-rival Phil Jackson? Now that might be an insult but I see an offence revolving ALOT around Wade when he's on just like Jordan or Bryant. Wade will need to take at least 30 shots for the rest of the series. I see a few problems for Miami:
(1) Mavs bench outplaying Heat. Payton, except for that clutch shot, has played terribly and looks way past it.
(2) No decent third-scorer. I am still inclined to have Walker play from the bench. He just looks lost on when Wade and Shaq are on the floor. When Walker is the focus on offence he seems to play better.
(3) Lack of perimeter defence. Heat guards are struggling to contain Miami's.
(4) Ironically, it could be Shaq. He seems to clog the lane a bit and their offence seems a bit static when they pass down to him on the low post. I haven't seen a two-man sort of setup (pick-and-roll) isolation for him yet. Credit Mavs defence however.
(5) The Mavs. They have too many weapons, depth and athleticism.

If Miami loses this they will need to look at getting a third-scoring option to shoulder the load. Walker doesn't look like it with Shaq declining.
Posted: 9:12 AM   by Anonymous
True, the mavs look too cohesive and versatile. This miami win was so hard earned and wouldnt have happened had it not been for tons of luck and the mavs relaxing in the end.. still they managed to win JUST by two points. having said that, I am still a miami fan! I just want shaq to win one more, and want zo to win at least once...
Posted: 9:17 AM   by Anonymous
Riley's worst pick = walker! this guy plays so soft, looses his dribbles and you just know he wont deliver the goods when it counts most. never liked him in boston, still dont like him now.
Posted: 9:18 AM   by Anonymous
I know Dallas fans aren't talking about officiating!!! Are you kidding me!! If anything the refs were making up for not allowing the 9 pt deficit being 15 to 20 points in the second quarter.

The refs came to the Mavs rescue with horrible calls. 1) Did Shaq foul Nowitski on one of his misfires, NO, the wind did!! 2) How are you going to call Wade for hanging on the rim and then allowing Dampier to hang on longer at the other end. Multiple times I was wondering how much Cuban has paid Stu Jackson for fixing the game??

Stop whinning about officiating Dallas, play ball, you're doing a good job.
Posted: 9:24 AM   by Anonymous
Now, now there were alot of no calls and gimmes for Dallas. In my opinion the refs have been quite favorable for Dallas throughout the series, but regardless you still have to perform on the court. It was a great game, Miami had to win this one and they found a way to do it
Posted: 9:46 AM   by Anonymous
The heat win and you guys want to blame it on the refs. Realize for every call the heat got the mavs got one too, like clearly on Shaq's third foul his hand was straight up and he didnt touch nowitzki (watch the replay everyone including the announcers said it), also Dwayne Wade got called for hanging on the rim, but when Eric Dampier did it a few minutes later no call, so just realize the refs are not deciding this game the refs dont see some calls and at the end of the day it evens out for both teams. It was just a great comeback effort from Miami. To the point that Dallas is in control of this series are you kidding me Miami has played at thier tempo and thier game you take away the 25 stupid mental mistakes they make a game down to 15 like it should be and Miami is up atleast 2-1.
Posted: 9:47 AM   by funkytown
Although the Grand Horror is correct about Miami's sloppiness, remember that it has been sloppy on both sides - Dallas hasn't played perfectly either.

I think it's good that the Finals won't be a sweep. That's too anticlimactic.

The Mavericks absorbed Wade's insanity and Miami's best shot on their home court and still basically blew the game. I think the Heat have at least one more win in them but the Mavs and Avery Johnson respond best after a self-made disappointment. You will see a highly-motivated Dallas team in game 4, followed by a counterstrike from Miami in game 5 and then two chances for Dallas to close at home and send that city spilling into the streets.
Posted: 10:02 AM   by Anonymous
I am not from either Miami nor Dallas, but I think that virtually any team that can keep their turnovers to under 10 a game will probably win that game.
Miami has so many turnovers because of the defensive pressure that Dallas puts up, so there's a good reason for those turnovers.
I agree with the article.
Ignoring pointless cries about bad officiating, Miami barely pulled off the win at home on some very unchararacteristic foul shooting (as defined by the regular stats). Miami should appreciate it's luck that Dallas is not up 3-0 now.
Posted: 10:06 AM   by Anonymous
Posted: 2:06 AM by The Grand Horror (MaT)
you know what the sad thing about all of this is? Miami should be up at least 2-1 in this series.

What?? You can't be serious.
Posted: 10:11 AM   by Mr. Harp
I don't understand why so much focus is on the Heat as far as why they should be winning or why they should be up in the series. Do these people really know basketball??? Miami's entire roster is outmatched by the Mavericks. Game 3 didn't even look like a contest, and if it wasn't for a myriad of bad/no calls in the fourth quarter, it would be a 3-0 deficit.

I have been a fan of D. Wade since the Marquette days, but Shaq has turned him into a SISSY. How many shot attempts did he have that he didn't try to flop a call away?? Any shooting guard would have a 42 pointer off 18 free throw attempts. Its sad that he has let the "Big Aristotle" talk him into playing like a chump. What happened to real basketball? What happened to playing for the game, and not for the calls. Miami's only hope is to get help from the 6th man in the striped shirts. I think the anonymous bloggers at 2:56a.m. and 3:17a.m. hit the head on the nail, and I'm pretty sure Mark Cuban is racking up some juicy fines for blog comments, because the officiating was horrible.

Nevertheless, Thomsen, you've won a fan out of me because you obviously call it like you see it, unlike some of your si.com cohorts.

P.S. Is it just me or does the Miami crowd have a strikingly odd resemblance to L.A.? For that matter, I think there should be a questionnaire and basketball aptitude test for playoff tickets. I don't think most of the "floor-seaters" actually know what there are a part of. I wonder if Shaq knows that Kobe was right?? I know number 8 is watching these finals with a smirk on his face.
Posted: 10:17 AM   by Anonymous
A lot of people are saying how the Heat are killing themselves with their own mistakes, but have we forgot one important fact? Dallas is easily the more athletic, talented, and unified team. If not for Wade the Heat would not even be in the Finals let alone winning one game. The Heat is made up of a rag tag bunch of use-to-be go players. Gary Payton hasn't hit a 20 footer like that in a while and Shaq nearly doubled his total of free throws for the series at the end of game 3. This game was poor for the Mavericks considering Dirk missed more than one free throw and Jerry Stackhouse could not hit water if he was dropped in the ocean. This series will not being going back to Dallas.
Posted: 10:19 AM   by Anonymous
Say whatever you want to say all you dallas fans out there. When Miami made its run, you say the refs didn't make any calls against Miami. If you observe the game closely, when Dallas was making its run bridging the third and fourth quarter, the refs also didn't make any calls against dallas.

What's important is Miami made what it had to do, and that's defend their home floor. LET'S GO HEAT.
Posted: 10:24 AM   by Anonymous
If the Mavs had been down 9 points at halftime against Phoenix or San Antonio, I would have felt as though the game was over. But against the Heat, I never had that feeling of impending doom.

Miami doesn't seem to have the ability to really take control of the game and force their own destiny. Even their final surge seemed to be more of holding on by their fingernails.

The bad thing for Miami is that they played a near perfect game, got a lot of calls their way, and executed everything they had been saying they needed to do (with the exception of the turnovers). Shaq got the ball down low and finished. Antoine drove the ball (mostly). Wade was on fire. Free Throw shooting was much improved. Dirk was a relative non-factor and held to less than 50% from the field. Terry ended up with only 16 points and Stackhouse, the bext 6th man in the league, had only 4.

But with all that said, Miami was only able to squeak out a 2 point win.

I originally predicted Dallas in 6. I think I am now changing that to be Dallas in 5.
Posted: 10:26 AM   by Anonymous
Miami was destined to win by God. Otherwise how would you justify the following?

1. Shaq makes two successive FTs :)
2. Wade scores 15 in 4th Q
3. Payton scores in last 9+ sec
4. Not many turnovers in 4Q
5. Wonder of all, Dirk misses FT

Frankly guys, Miami does *NOT* deserve to win this finals in any combination - be it 4-3 or 4-2 or whatever. They are far inferior compared to Dallas. Look at Dallas. Any shots taken are falling in without even touching the ring. So smooth and accurate shooting.

I would say Dallas by 4-1. Miami is presenting the cup to Dallas neatly on a platter with turnovers and missed FTs.

Miami must get their lessons straight before they can win. OTOH, IMO, there is a simple logic. Those who beat the champions earlier (Dalls beat Spurs) will win this and those who beat runners up (Miami bt. Pistons) will remain runner up this year.

How much I wished that Miami did better? Nay, they really do not deserve this cup unless they improve 200%.
Posted: 10:28 AM   by Anonymous
You guys are right. It really is bothersome that the NBA is manipulating these games. I felt this especially in the Dallas - San Antonio series. The NBA wants a long series and is willing to provide "help" if necessary. Makes you wonder about the integrity of the game. The owners make more money, TV and the NBA. The fans get screwed in the end.
Posted: 10:32 AM   by Dave
Miami can't feel that great about having to steal a game in their own house. The Mavs controlled the tempo and the game through the second, third and most of the fourth, when they went into "prevent" mode, and Wade got hot (and desperate). You knew Miami would get their best shot last night, and they only won by two in the final seconds. Not the mark of a championship team.
Posted: 10:39 AM   by Anonymous
Agree with your commentary. As good a coach as he is, someone needs to point out to Avery Johnson how much better his team is when Griffin is on the floor. I cant calculate the stats in my head, but I am fairly certain that if you matched up the Maverick's runs with the times AG was on the floor, they would overlap very closely.

Obviously its not his scoring, but he defends and passes and he's pretty quick down the floor. Plus he's the only one who never gives up on a rebound of any kind.

It was painful to watch 4 Mavericks standing around the basket as Haslem, Wade, and even Walker actually went for the ball.

The no call on Shaq's push of Damp was unfortunate, but honestly, this was the best officiating I have seen throughout the playoffs.

That said, let the conspiracy theries begin: The league wants to stretch it out. Cuban wants to celebrate the title in Dallas. So regardless of how the 2 teams play, this is going back to Dallas for game 6.
Posted: 10:45 AM   by Anonymous
Apparantly the grand horror is watching a different game than I am. What fantasy world is he living in? The Mavs are way too fast and deep for Miami to keep up with. I said before the series started that the Mavs would win in 6, and I've seen nothing thus far to change my mind. I will be shocked if Dallas does not win game 4, probably by double digits. Miami is overrated and old, with the exception of Wade, and he alone can not win this series.

Jeff
Posted: 10:50 AM   by Shorty
Miami proved how tough they are, but Game 3 will motivate the Dallas Mavericks that much more. They must figure out what they did right in the first two games, and how Dwyane Wade penetrated their defense all night long. Somehow, they were able to shut him down in Games 1 and 2, but even fouls could not stop him in Miami.

In Game 3, Shaquille O'Neal showed how much he has improved, hitting clutch free throws and even stealing the basketball from Jason Terry, a premier point guard. He did not have a huge offensive second half, but he hit the shots when the counted, especially from the free throw line.

Dirk Nowitzki had what could be considered a "sub-par shooting performance". Then again, he was one of the leading scorers in the game. He has to play like he did in the first two games if Dallas wants to win. Josh Howard, on the other hand, was hitting shots from everywhere on the court. If anyone can be called a "streak shooter", it is him. Hitting three buckets from downtown in the earlier stages of the game kept the Mavericks alive.

Overall, both teams played decent games. Miami just got hot during crunch time. They must expect a much stronger attack from Dallas in Game 4. Avery Johnson has a much higher standard for intensity than what his team showed in Game 3.
Posted: 10:59 AM   by Anonymous
yes, shaq should have never gotten to the line that last time. dampier should have. but, then, dallas should not be outscored 22-7 for any 6 minute stretch ever. and dirk should not miss clutch free throws. and why didn't avery have harris or whoever wade was guarding attacking on offense?
Posted: 11:02 AM   by Anonymous
Shaq's two points after "pushing Dampier" are no different from the two points Dallas got on an offensive rebound after Damp shoved Mourning under the basket - just because it was the end of the game, it's not a conspiracy.

I have no affiliation with either team, but I'm glad to see this become a real series. After a great playoffs, anything less than a 6 or 7 game marathon would be unworthy.

Miami really does need to cut down on the stupid turnovers (Shaq's full court pass to nobody, three 3-second violations, etc.) but they have every opportunity to win this series. Besides, does anybody (other than Mavs fans) really like to see Mark Cuban get his way?
Posted: 11:06 AM   by Anonymous
What we saw out of the Heat in game 3 is quite possibly the best they have to offer. The Heat did not win game three, the Mavs let it get away.

The Mavs are deeper, quicker, better defenders, and just plain better all around. Heat fans are out of their mind if they honestly believe that Miami can actually hold its own against Dallas. Gary Payton and the rest of the Heat bench are a joke.

The true championship series was between the Spurs and the Mavs. I'll venture to say that if the Suns were to have made it to the Finals, they too would be dominating the Heat. Riley is overated, Shaq's supposed game 3 comeback stats were muted by Eric Dampier, and did anyone not expect for Wade to have at least one game like that which he had in Game 3?

Mavs in 5.
Posted: 11:06 AM   by Anonymous
I expected miami to win at least one game at home, and they did. But the mavs are still in great shape. They just collapsed, plus wade was great. Avery Johnson will not let it happen again.
Posted: 11:07 AM   by Anonymous
The Mavericks didn't play their best and yet were still in command midway through the fourth.
are you kidding they played better than Miami and also converted 16 points off heat turnovers so if Mavericks played bad the heat played terrible with a capital T. If I were the Mavericks I would be scared of how the Heat are going to play in game 4
Posted: 11:14 AM   by LJT
Dallas Mavericks have way too much skill compared to the Heat for anyone to be worried. It's cool that the Heat won at home, everyone deserves a good homegame I guess...This just means the celebration will be in Dallas--GAME 5, and it's over. Dallas is going to win it, period.
Posted: 11:18 AM   by Anonymous
game 3 was an nba money game. ever stop to think how much money abc and the nba are making on the endless tv ads we are forced to endure every time there is a break in the game.

there is no way the nba can allow any team to sweep in the finals.

the nba fix was in before game 3 ever began. the talking heads went on and on about miami's defense down the stretch. it's easy to play good defense when the stripes refuse to blow the whistle.

shaq should have never been at the line because he had plowed 2 mavs out of good rebound position to get there.

this game was a perfect example of why the nba struggles to keep fans .... the fix is in !!!!!
Posted: 11:26 AM   by Anonymous
This last couple of comments was RIGHT ON POINT. You’ve said the same thing I’ve said since the clock ran out. Dallas has this series. It was no doubt who was the better team in Dallas. And it was no doubt who was the better team in Miami…Dallas. Sure Dirk missed a tying free throw. Sure Terry through a lazy pass to Dirk that was stolen by Haslem (Though that was a foul also), but the bottom line is that these Refs, this officiating is getting worse and worse. D.Wade is already a great player, so he DOESN’T NEED assistance from the ref’s. He CAN bring them back if he wants, so there is no need for ref’s to cheat for him. He should’ve fouled out on a blocking call at mid court. Shaq should’ve been called for a push on Dampier. Haslim should’ve been called for the foul on Nowitski (the fast break play). Miami is already one of the most difficult places to get a win, there is no need for Referee leniency, ESPECIALLY if its one sided leniency. Miami honestly does not have a chance of winning this series, and it is NOT fair that these players come out every night, putting their bodies on the line, to do what every player dreams of, holding that NBA trophy in victory…and the referee’s DECIDE who gets it. It’s not fair. It has always been, “may the best team win”. But officiating has totally ignored that motto, and it’s absolutely disgusting. I’m not totally surprised, because the same thing happened to Detroit in the Finals last year. But this is getting ridicules and must be addressed.

Ren
Posted: 11:26 AM   by Anonymous
i agree. not just the Shaq shove but Haslem's steal was made by bumping Nowitzki and no foul was called, and then Terry was called for a foul when he slapped the BALL away from Haslem at the other end. all this was shown clearly on the replay.
Posted: 11:27 AM   by Anonymous
Now, you can sit here a cry about ref's all you want...fans and players are always going to blame it on one call. Basketball is a 48 minute game, there are missed lay ups, missed shots, turnovers...The point is that Miami won a game they needed to win. Granted Dallas is a stronger team, but for now, till tip off, Miami feels good about the finals, and they feel good about their game. Miami will have on good game where they will hit every shot they throw up. Is not as if they are not getting shots, they are...They are also turning the ball over, granted Dallas is forcing them nto the turnovers, but if Miami can limit the turnovers, hit their shots, and sink their free throws, Dallas and the whole world are in for a very competive and unexpected finals..
Posted: 11:28 AM   by Anonymous
I feel the Mavs had their share of calls also, i.e. techical for hanging on the rim on Wade but not on Dampier; offensive on Shaq for turning to the hoop, come on how many times can Diop and Dampier go over the back for a rebound. I think the NBA is promoting the Mavs.

I do think that Riley needs to realign the starters and bench guys. Jason Williams is one of the worse PG's I've seen. Tired of seeing a PG dribble for 10 seconds w/ no purpose and driving to the hoop and pass on an open lay-up. This guys stinks. Takes up too much of the shot clock and is too passive, he's afraid to go to the hoop. I think they need to involve Doleac to keep the guys fresh. Haslem, Morning and Shaq need breathers.
Posted: 11:32 AM   by Anonymous
Shaq might be shining Tue night, but nobody can expect he shoots free throw 100% all the time, its just not possible.
Posted: 11:32 AM   by Anonymous
While it's true that the Mavs look like the better team, this article misses the point. A collapse of this magnitude could quickly get in the Mavs' heads and turn this series around. And if Miami plays even marginally better than they have, they go back ot Dallas with a 3-2 lead.
Posted: 11:35 AM   by Anonymous
If you still think Miami is going to win you have to be an idiot. What have they shown for anybody to think they even have a chance of stretching the series to 7? The Dallas Mavericks have shown they are a MUCH better TEAM in every game. This series could've ended in a sweep if Wade didn't have such a miraculous 4th quarter. Stop being such a homer Grand Horror, and your guarantee just makes you sound like you haven't watched a game of this series. Pay attention to Game 4 and you will see the Heat don't have a chance.
Posted: 11:40 AM   by JustDirkIt
Yes, Miami got a must win in Game 3. But it's apparent to everyone watching that Dallas is in complete control of the tempo of each game. Their depth, versatility, and talent is too deep for the Heat. D-Wade is going to get his points, but their role players are inconsistent. And what the heck is Antione Walker doing? I agree with Mat, he does look "weird" when he dribbles - not a pretty sight. Whereas, the Mavericks role players - Harris, Stackhouse, Dampier - have been dispaying quickness off the dribble, stellar defensive abilities, and have been making clutch baskets when needed. Dirk Nowitzki has had a quiet Finals, and their still up 2-1 and that's scary. It's just a matter of time before this MVP candidate explodes again. I think the Miami Heat are a good team and D-Wade is a superstar in the making, but against a more dynamic and deep team in the Dallas Mavericks, I see Avery Johnson and the Mavs hoisting their long-awaited Finals Championship Trophy in 6.
Posted: 11:47 AM   by Anonymous
Come on... miami got away with some calls in their favor, but so did dallas. You missed how many times Dampier got away with pushes?

Wade's 5th foul? Shaq's turnaround foul on Dirk? Dampier's hanging on the rim. Shaq's block that was called goal tend. Sorry, but it goes both ways, that's just how it works.

Very sloppy game for Miami, it was a miracle that they came back at all, but you can't say it's only because of wrong calls. Give Wade and Shaq some credit.
Posted: 11:49 AM   by Anonymous
I guess Stern and the NBA marketing department must have had a change of heart during halftime. It looked like the Mavs had a sixth player in stripes out there in the first quarter. Remember those calls or does that conveniently happen to slip your mind?
And turnovers are the grand killer for Miami. Too many empty possessions.
Posted: 11:52 AM   by Anonymous
Someone posted in a blog about the Piston's-HEat series; "Why do you keeping talking about How the Pistons fell apart instead of wqhy the Heat are winning?" Well, this season proves the Pistons collapse-falling apart is the reason why the Heat are in the finals. They barely won last nite WITH the help of the refs.
Posted: 11:52 AM   by Anonymous
Please keep talking up the Mavs. The more you do, the better the Heat's chances. Bottom line -- Mavs had the Heat on the ropes in the series and let them off. It is 2-1 and a whole new series now. Mavs will regret not closing things out last night.
Posted: 11:55 AM   by Anonymous
Dallas is come back to win at least one of the next 2 games and then close out the series at home. Miami got lucky in game3, Dirk is going to torch the Heat on thursday.
Posted: 11:59 AM   by Anonymous
if the spurs couldn't beat these mavs on their home court, then there's no way the heat can.

go spurs go
Posted: 12:05 PM   by Anonymous
I love how there are some disillusioned Mavs fans who want to give the refs credit for this Miami victory. It is hard to believe that Stern and the "NBA marketing department" could plan out a 13 point comeback that includes not only an amazing performance by Wade, but two cleanly made Shaq free-throws, two free throws made by Haslem (who was 0-4 before that point), Payton's sole field goal of the game AND a Dirk missed free-throw. A lot of planning must have gone into this one, huh?
Posted: 12:06 PM   by Anonymous
I agree 100% that Dallas is still in control. Miami played possibly their best game. Dallas only played 1 good quarter and still only lost by 2.
Posted: 12:09 PM   by Anonymous
While I'm a huge Mavs fan I have to admit. I think we just got out played in that final 6 minutes or so. We let em come back in and I can believe how many times we just let Wade shoot. The defense looked passive and offensively we looked like we were bored. This isn't the first time we've blown those fourth quarter leads. I think Avery will handle it though. A good "come to Jesus" meeting with this loss hanging over them should fix it for the Mavs. Game 4 prediction: Mavs by 20.

Mavs in 5
Posted: 12:14 PM   by Anonymous
Last night's game just proved that the series is going no longer than 6 games with Dallas winning. Even with an emotional lift from their crowd, Wade's performance, Shaq making his free throws and Dirk missing a free throw, Miami won by a grand total of 2. Don't get too excited Miami fans. If Shaq actually hits his average at the free throw line, Dallas wins. Those of you thinking that he will hit them the next game...VALLA CON DIOS (Go with GOD in spanish).
Posted: 12:16 PM   by Anonymous
Why is it that someone always has to comment that Stern and the NBA are blowing the whisle. The refs (and it was a good crew last night) don't have agendas. They do the best that they can which is pretty good most nights.
Posted: 12:17 PM   by Anonymous
i don't think Shaq deserved more calls. actually there were so many body contact once he got the ball and were frequently called against his oppoenents in the past but never right now. or Dallas big guys could have only played 5 minutes and Heat could have easily won the series. it seems the league wants to satisfy Cuban this year with a championship, a financial balance, for so many fines he has received in the past.
Posted: 12:20 PM   by Anonymous
The refs gave this game to the Heat. If called correctly, Wade would have fouled out and Shaq would not have gone to the line to make 2 free throws. The refs must have felt sorry for the Heat or someone paid them off.
Posted: 12:22 PM   by Anonymous
The Mavs will finish up quickly. They had this one in the bag and a series of unfortunate events took it away from them. Don't expect that to happen 3 more times in a row guys. Dirk's not gonna let this happen again...
Posted: 12:29 PM   by Anonymous
The bench did it tonight for Miami. Posey made a key three pointer when they are behind. And payton made a key basket during crunch time. If Miami's bench scores more at next games, the series would be more exciting.
Posted: 1:07 PM   by #1Nowitzness
Strange how everyone said that Marc Cuban's influence on the league and especially the referees is the only thing that allowed Dallas to make it past San Antonio. Well, where's that big influence now? Shaq's cheep push in the back on Dampier (the "WNBA superstar" who is killing Shaq down low) late in the 4th quarter was the reason the Heat came out victorious. Take away those two rare free throw makes by "Shaquilla" and add two to the Mavericks on the other end of the floor (maybe just one since it's Damp shooting the free throws) and we've got a different ball game. But I can sympathize with the refs. This has been a disgustingly one-sided domination by the Mavericks so the refs atleast have to help increase TV ratings by making it closer. Besides, no one in Miami wants to see Cuban getting the trophy in his speedo, which I personally think will be a beautiful sight!!! Go Mavs!!!
Posted: 1:17 PM   by shawnrai89
Mavs in Trouble. Miami is now going to get this in five or six. Miami can't play mush worse than they did, and they still won. They had 20 turnovers and they still won. I think Miami is now going to win in seven or even six games. Miami has momentum and Dwayne Wade is finally playing good. The rest of the Heat players can only go up, so Dallas Fans must be concerned.
Posted: 1:17 PM   by Anonymous
If any team can keep their turnovers to less than 10 a game they will win the series. Turnovers are usually what kills teams in big games assuming they make a decent % of their shots.
Miami really has no chance with Dallas, Dallas will win in 5 or 6 games, they will prob win game # 5 after Miami wins the next one. They wrap up in Dallas for game 6.
I had Miami vs Dallas in the finals since Amare went down for phoenix early in the year and had Dallas winning. I can't believe very few people saw this coming considering how Dallas played last year and considering they have Dirk. He is the only pure unstopable guy in the NBA because he can shoot over anyone, and drive around any big man. He is night mare to cover. Dallas is deeper, faster, younger and careless and just relaxed. Miami is old, slower, less productive bench and oh yeah, they dont have home court. Their best player is past his prime and they are a 2 man show. Dallas is a more athletic team with a great young coach who connects very well with his players. Riley is great also, but he is old school and there are communication gaps because of the generation he came from.
Dallas over Miami in 6....

GIPSMAC
Posted: 1:18 PM   by Anonymous
I think the mav's should not have tried to slow the game down the last 6 minutes. They should have played the way they did the last quarter an a half. This gave the heat the chance to turn the game around.
Posted: 1:20 PM   by K Wakeland
No one expected the Heat to go down in this without a fight. With Shaq more confident with his free throw shooting and Wade atacking the basket more aggressively the Heat is in good position to turn this series around IF the Mavs don't play like they can. The Mavs have the ability, just as the Heat do,however the Mavs have more. The Maverics have a deeper bench with more ability to perform as Avery Johnson has pieced together in making his team. Altogether this series is turnig around, its up to the Mavs to turn it back around in game 4.
Posted: 1:21 PM   by Anonymous
I agree that Shaq got to the line by shoving Dampier. But what about that foul on Dirk or should I say the lack of foul that he got. Shaq didn't even touch him and he is called for a foul. Shaq catches the ball, turns around and hit Dirk in the face and it is a charge? Whatever happened to "space to catch the ball and come down with it?" And D-Wadw gets a technical for hanging on the rim? Hanging on the rim in the NBA? That is like calling a palming call on a crossover dribble. Just never seems to be called. And there have been no technicals called on the MAVS this whole series. Does Cuban have the refs in his pocket? If the HEAT win the game on Thursday we will hear his mouth again. I agree with TGH. If the HEAT can keep their turnovers down they can win this thing.
Posted: 1:23 PM   by Anonymous
Dallas got all the calls??? You weren't watching the same game I was. How about all the 3 sec violations on Shaq? How about 5 fouls on Wade with 11 mins left in the 4th? How about Wade got hacked everytime he went to the rim on makes and misses? He went to the line 18 times but should have been there 30. How about late in the 4th a total hack on Wade by Dirk but no call? Then at the other end Dirk gets a touch foul??

Dallas got their share of calls and more than they should have on the road in Miami.
Posted: 1:25 PM   by Anonymous
it's not like the refs are wearing earpieces with "Stern and the NBA marketing dept" whispering in their ears. i'm tired of people saying that NBA games are rigged by stern and the marketing dept. - in case you didnt notice dwayne wade came within inches of fouling out and had to play extra cautious for almost the whole 4th quarter.

referees are only human, the NBA playoffs are not rigged for the Heat to win, and the Super Bowl was not rigged for the Steelers to win. I'm not a fan of either of those teams but am sick of people's excuses saying that games are rigged. if 90% free throw shooter Dirk hits both his throws it's a different ballgame. But yes, refs are going to call less fouls in the closing seconds of a game b/c they DONT want to be the ones deciding the outcome.

Maybe game 3 had a little something to do with the play of Dwayne Wade...
Posted: 1:25 PM   by Anonymous
well I have been saying for years that Shaq commits an offensive foul on at least 40% of his shots. He will drive his body through his defender and never gets called. However, let Wade throw him an alley opp and see what happens if a defender even looks in his direction. whistle every time.
Posted: 1:28 PM   by Anonymous
Anonymous said...
Someone has to say something about how Shaq got to the line to make those 2 free throws. He shoved Dampier out of the way and it was not called. During the Heats comeback run at the end it sure looked like Stern and the NBA marketing dept made sure the Heat got all the calls they needed.

Not to mention Payton takes a bunny hop and 2 steps before he shoots and Shaq is inside the no charge zone on the charge call on Howard. MBA marketing at it's best
Posted: 3:33 PM   by Chris
Let's see if I've got the situation right.

The Heat needed 40 plus points from D-Wade, clutch game saving free throws FROM SHAQ, a few questionable calls in the 4th qtr, AND Dirk Nowitzki to miss a clutch free throw just so they could WIN BY TWO POINTS.

An they're going to have to duplicate that three out of the next four games? I like Dallas's odds. Dallas in six.
Posted: 4:08 PM   by Big D
Grand Horror, you're obviously a Heat fan (and myself obviously a Mavs fan). Open your eyes, my friend. The Heat are an excellent team, but they can't match up with the Mavs' versatility and depth. The Heat didn't win that game last night-- the Mavs lost it.

Re: the latter post, good call on Shaq shoving Damp. I don't think that that's what people had in mind when they said that Shaq needs to be more aggressive for the Heat to win.
Posted: 5:01 PM   by Happyman
Everyone who knows the NBA knows it is no secret. All home teams get free calls and the refs look the other way in order to at least "make a series" out of this.

All one has to do is look back over the last decade and catch any division finals or the Finals themselves and look for the teams that were about to get blown out. Stern addressed that a while back. You RARELY see a team get swept these days. Not that it doesn't happen, but there are some teams that you just cannot hide breakdowns and blowouts from the crowd, ABC or TIVO.

Do you know how much revenue the league loses when the series does not go 6 or 7 games? Boat-loads. A grip. Gi-normous amounts, etc. You get the idea. Kinda funny how, when a team is aboout to have their behinds handed to them for the 3rd straight time, all of a sudden, they can do no wrong on their homefloor. This is a reality I have come to acknowledge in the NBA. I do not condone it, and it can tend to make one rather jaded (i.e.: my mini-rant here) but it's incentive for teams to get home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

I'm not saying Nowiztki made his free throws or that Wade is a bad player. Neither is true. However, all one has to do is hit rewind and pause, and you can see the NBA's marketing strategy to collect hundreds of millions in ad revenue in slow-motion. :-)
Posted: 5:05 PM   by david greenshield
Miami was very lucky to win game three and I still believe Dallas will win this series, however I do think Miami can force a game seven and may even possibly win this series. I know many people may think that is out of the question,I just believe Shaq has at least one if not two great games left in him in this series. Miami also will get more than five points out of thier bench players in games four and five and I also believe that the tempo in this series still favors the Heat.
Posted: 9:44 PM   by MARTiN
Kudos to the Heat. They played like a team in true desperation and it payed off. I am a BIG Mavs fan, but I really don't feel that bad after the game 3 loss. Sure we're not up 3-0, but there are a plethora of silver linings to this cloud.
First of all, I know that whatever happens in South Beach, the series will shift back to Dallas. Miami has shown in this playoffs that they are not the same team on the road (in a bad way).
Second, the Mavs needed this loss. What I mean is that they need to feel a sense of vulnerability to truly play their best. I love Dallas' confidence, but I do not want them to be too complacent to the point that they underestimate the Heat. As that Aerosmith song goes: "You got lose to know how to win."
Thirdly, the Mavs were in control late in the fourth, after being down most of the game in enemy territory. That shows that they can get it done on the road. And with their newly found revelation as to what Miami can do down the stretch, they will now protect such leads with more gusto.
And lastly, the Mavs did not play their best and still nearly won. The Heat played as well as they could have and barely secured the victory.
It's sad to see how much Shaq's game declined. I really pity him. I want Miami to win just for the sake of their veterans who are searching for a trophy, specifically Zo.

I don't want Dallas to win because it would be too disappointing for Finley -- like rubbing salt to injury.

And oh, I'm an LBJ fan, so it's a bit sad to see Wade become the first from their batch to win a championship and a final's mvp. But if he does, well, he deserves it!

But in reality, watching the game last night, looks like Dallas is too much for Miami. I actually fell asleep early in the fourth quarter. My bad.
Posted: 12:40 AM   by afroviking
Afroviking

For all the mavs lovers (specialy IAN THOMSEN)
It's funny that none of you mentioned that the heat are playing horrible basketball with all the turnovers and no supporting cast for dwade & shak.And the weakest link & turnovers prone (Antoine Walker) is killing the heat.Did anyone realize that antoine was on the bench while the heat made their comeback.Riley should realy bring antoine from the bench and let POSEY defend because the mavs are passing right by walker.THE MAVS ARE BENEFITING FROM THE HEAT HORRIBLE B-BALL so with coupple adjustments(bench walker period)the heat are back in the series and the pressure is on the MAVS.
Posted: 2:17 AM   by GhosTownGuru
I didn't hear Mav fans whining when the refs put got them past the Spurs. It's just so comical to hear all the whining about the refs. Can Dallas win a game without the refs or Cuban getting involved. Personally I am tired of seeing this WNBA team called the MAVS, they have the weakest game I have ever seen. Dirk is what 7'1", and anytime he comes in contact with another object, he trips all over the court. Now that is weak. The only male player they have is J. Howard. The rest play like girls, and the refs treat them like the females they are. Someone needs to put the spotlight on Deidra Nowitski so he can finish his acting job, then maybe we can get back to playing basketball MAN style.
Posted: 2:49 AM   by GhosTownGuru
If the Mavs lose Thursday Night they are in trouble. The longer this series goes the more likely it will become a half court fest which favors Shaq and Zo. At some point Pat Riley better defer to DWade as the first option and let Shaq clean the glass. As long as the Heat scores on offense or offensive rebound the Mavs can't fast break. Besides Shaq is not going to change ends anyway so he is best served crashing the boards. The Mavs must run to win and you stop running teams by scoring and rebounding. Also J. Williams needs to get his head out of his rear and shoot the ball when he is open on the kick from Shaq. No one wants to see him miss another layup. Shoot and let the Heat crash the boards, that is better than him missing a layup which turns into a Mav fastbreak. Also I must say this. Anytime Dirk gets the ball the Heat must remember to crowd him, make em drive, he is not a finisher, so either be ready to take a charge or foul really hard, the no layup or dunk rule is in effect this is the finals. Besides if they breathe on him he is going to get the call anyway so make the foul count, make him bleed and land on his back, especially if Zo is in the game. He needs to make sure the lane is off limits and that goes for Harris and Terry too.
Posted: 3:26 AM   by Robert S. Paguia
I totally agree with your observation. The fact remains that Dallas could have won Game 3 and should have been up 3-0. It's also a fact that Miami barely won Game 3 and I would like to imply that Miami did not actually win Game 3 rather Dallas lost it. However, I do believe that the Mavericks would come out smoking after this debacle. Remember how they came up with a strong and winning effort at San Antonio in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinal series after blowing a 3-1 lead. Dallas also came up big in Game 6 against Phoenix in their WC final series. The Mavericks would still win all the marbles if not in 5 games, then in 6.
Posted: 4:09 AM   by Anonymous
I doubt Cuban would mind a loss or two at all. It would be his wet dream for Stern to give him the trophy in Dallas.
Posted: 4:53 AM   by Anonymous
yup, business you know, so that finals could be extended up Game 5 or 6, hahaha, GO MAVS
Posted: 7:56 AM   by Anonymous
Mavs are still in control. It just happended that they had one of those bad games, bad endings rather. Of course, the other team got rolling, especially when their best player bagged a whopping 40 something.Be realistic, we don't really expect Dallas to sweep Miami, right? I mean this is a series, The Finals to be more exact.A 4-0 slate wouldn't live up to define this season's Grand Stage. Nonetheless, I wouldnt expect a team to win a series relying solely on an individual's monster performance. It dwindles down to team effort. Yes, Miami has two of the best ballers on earth on its team, but Dallas definitely has the better 12-man roster.2 against 10, 11 or 12? No contest.
Posted: 10:37 AM   by Jessie - NBA faithful
Miami was given a break on Tuesday. They were totally outplayed and have been outplayed this entire series. This Miami team is exhausted and although I would love to see D-Wade give them a chance to tie this series up...it's not gonna happen. He's hurt and no one else on that team can carry it. Remember last year against Detroit when he injured his ribs...deja vu all over again.

Game 3 was the only game Miami will take this series. They barely won as it is. Just a very lucky 4th quarter.

As much as it would be great to see Dalls win it on their home floor, they will close out on Sunday in Miami.

This was probably the last opportunity for the Heat to take a title.

Go Mavs!!!!
Posted: 1:52 PM   by Anonymous
I am not going to lie, I am a Mavericks fan. But seriously, unless you a a die-hard heat zombie, the mavericks look to be in complete control and thats what bothers me. They seem to win when they are the underdog and blow it when they are the favorites.
Posted: 1:58 PM   by Anonymous
Regarding turnovers, I must say that that stat itself is always an insufficient explanation. For the entire series, Dallas is -1 in the turnover department. In the game two blowout by Dallas, Miami was -5 in turnovers! So, how could turnovers be the key? No, instead it must be what the other team does with turnovers they get that is the key. If Miami ever capitalizes on turnovers much the way Dallas does, the series could in fact be closer.
Posted: 2:21 PM   by Anonymous
No doubt the calls went Miami's way. The refs need to quit going one way down the stretch. Push in the back, the missed goal tending, even Wade fouled for his sixth and it was not called. Then you got the NBA appologizing for the clock mgmt. Give me a break.
Sorry "the grand horror" there's no way to come up with Miami 2-1 lead or better. Miami's thanking the basketball Gods for throwing them a bone in game three. They haven't done anything in this series out side of the 1st quarter to win a game, excepting only a nice yet questionable run at the end of game three, other than that, Dallas has completely had their way with them. Look for Dallas in games 4 and 5. Go Mavs.
Posted: 5:39 PM   by Anonymous
Why does Wade have to fall down after every shot? Everybody says he's so tough. I use to like to watch him play. Now he's a showboat. I'm so hurt, I'll have to do a 360 and slam dunk it. Give me a break. Just drawing attention to himself. Stand up boy and quit acting like a punk!!!
Posted: 5:43 PM   by Anonymous
Why did the Mavs quit feeding Howard in the 4th quarter. He was scorching hot. Why do you bring in Stackhouse in the last 6 minutes when he was brick'in everything. He made ONE basket the whole game. Plus the Mavs needed a couple stops and he doesn't play defense. Dallas, keep playing offense the whole game, forget the shot clock. You by far have the better shoting team. Refs, quit buying into Wades flopping, please!
Posted: 7:33 PM   by Anonymous
first of all, for all you idiots out there, dont you dare complain about the refs. the tech called on wade in the 1st for hanging on the rim has to be the worst call this entire playoffs. the foul called on walker on stackhouses three was ridiculous. and two other fouls called on wade would have never been called on dirk. and lets not mention the amount of calls that wade doesnt get everytime he goes to the basket and winds up on the floor. if miami would even hit half the free throws they missed and avoid unforced turnovers evryone would be talking about how the heat has a great chance to close this thing out at home.
Posted: 9:56 PM   by jadavco
After all of the worshipful comments by Sir Charles and the abc - si- espn crew about how incredibly faulous the great Miami Heat Are...all Wade has to do is touch the ball and the refs call a foul on Dallas. How much percentage does ABC own in the Miami Heat...obviously enough to make the Dallas Haters happy enough...what a miracle...Miami loses first two and closes out series four straight...thank you refs...thank you abc!!!
Posted: 1:18 AM   by Anonymous
I am officially done with NBA basketball. Wade had an OK fourth quarter, he definitely hit some clutch shots, but this game was all about the referees keeping Miami close and calling phantom fouls to get Wade all those points in the first place. He shot under 40% and everybody wants to call him a "legend" already...give me a break. How can a referee make that call at the end of the game when he wasn't even so much as touched by any defender around him? The NBA has become as authentic as the WWE.
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