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10:45 PM ET, 6/8/06
Thoughts from Game 1's first half
Posted by Kelly Dwyer
Thoughts from a promising first half to Game 1 of the Finals ...
-- Miami can score. They're not your typical, slog-it-out, Eastern Conference champ. Dallas understood this heading into Game 1, but you got the feeling they still underestimated Miami's offensive potency as the Heat scored 34 in the first 13 minutes of action. Dallas, featuring a series of zone sets and better defensive footwork, held the Heat to 10 points in the final 11 minutes of the first half.
-- Not that they need the pub, but The Who were prominently featured by the Mavericks early in ABC's telecast, as Won't Get Fooled Again and Eminence Front were blasted while the Mavs were introduced. A recent video of The Who's tour rehearsal can be found here.
-- Avery Johnson's placement of Adrian Griffin on Dwyane Wade in the early stages of the first quarter reminded of George Karl's insistence that Detlef Schrempf try to check Michael Jordan during the 1996 Finals. Don't look for the Lil' General to stick with this pairing as long as his Seattle counterpart from 10 years ago; Karl waited until Game 3 (and a Ron Harper injury, which forced the Bulls to go bigger) to switch Gary Payton onto MJ.
-- Jason Terry (20 points in the first half, 9 of 11 shooting, no turnovers in 18 minutes) is capable of doing this every night. Just so you know.
-- Not a fan of the bumpers that ABC features coming out of a commercial, showcasing players on both cradling the Lawrence O'Brien trophy. Just a little unseemly to me -- I never liked seeing the Wizard behind the curtain, y'know?
-- Dirk Nowitzki missed six of his first seven shots, with the only make coming on an offensive rebound tip-in. He's going to have to stop floating in the second half, get to the high post, and use up the bulk of a possession instead of firing quick shots. Dirk did lord over the boards in the first half, pulling in six boards.
-- After Devin Harris took a charge on Jason Williams in the first quarter, ABC's Mike Breen was quick to note Harris' ability to pick up offensive fouls. It was a good call, Harris took 21 charges on the season, but his backup Darrell Armstrong is far and away the Maverick leader. He took 25 charges on the season, even though he played less than half the minutes (623 to 1272) Harris did. DA was second in the league at charges drawn per-minute.
-- Reason No. 5,682 why both of these squads are championship-caliber teams:
The first plays of the game run through both squad's superstars (Dirk Nowitzki and Shaquille O'Neal), the double-team help comes, the superstars pass out, and two players who will sometimes go 20 minutes of game-time without shooting nail the first shots of the game without hesitation. The fact that Adrian Griffin and Udonis Haslem were able to contribute confidently from the outset speaks to the strong coaching of Avery Johnson and Pat Riley, who had their teams ready to roll even after four (Dallas) and five (Miami) days off.
Well, it wasn't pretty, but the Mavs pulled it out. If your the Heat, you gotta be thinking the worst. I mean if JHo and Dirk were that bad, and you still lost by 10, not a good sign. Should still be a real good series though. Even as a Die-Hard Mavs fan, I would be surprised if this series goes less than 6 games. I give Miami lots of credit for their D on Dirk. Haslem and Posey really shut him down, stuff you won't see in the box score. And despite what people may think, Terry can do that every night. When he is on, he is on. A side note. Watching Wade last night I keep thinking what a great player and person to have in the NBA. He plays hard, works hard and is humble. He and LeBron are gonna really bring the NBA back to stature. More of these guys less Kobe's and Carmelo's. And what about Dirk? Honestly, I bet he cares more about winning titles than be a megastar. He is very humble and a real team player. When he scores 50, it's not because he's showing off, but because the Mavs need him. We in Dallas love or Dirk just the way he is. And while others may be elevating him to elite status (and deservidely so) he much rather have a game like last night and win, than go for 35-40 and lose. Oh, and did I mention Ginobli is the WORLD'S BIGGEST FLOPPER!!!