Today's write up will be more of a grab bag of thoughts. Organization is for the healthy minded, of which I am not, after feeling the effects of last night's close loss all the way up to the local saloon. A different sort of effect than the morning jubilation felt after celebrating the Mavs comeback in Game 2. Ah, the ups and downs of the NBA Finals. I'll try and bring it from the beginning instead of waiting until I get down 15 points to write like I mean it. (Note: If you need organization, read Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, he good.)
What the Mavs must do - Win the next 2 games. It's that simple. Well, simple for me to say, not for them to accomplish. But this series isn't over. Yet. Lose 1 of the next 2 and it is. But winning two in a row at home isn't that too much to ask. And if the Mavs are able to win the next 2 games, I would favor them taking 1 of 2 in Miami and taking the series. The blueprint is there. They just gotta go out and take it.
Sense of Urgency - The Mavs have dominated this series once they're behind 15 points. They play with a certain desperation and sense of urgency that has proved effective against the lockdown Heat defense. They look to get out in transition more (how they came back in the 3rd quarter) and Dirk looks to be more aggressive (how they came back in the 4th quarter). They have to find a way to play like this to start the game. They have played the entirety of this series from behind it seems (exception - 1st half of Game 2), and this is a team that when they do get a lead, they can extend it to 20 at the drop of a courtside drink. I worry that they're mentally exhausted after battling from behind so often in the first 3 games. I don't think they have another 15 point comeback in them, so they must come out firing in Game 4.
Why the Mavs lost Game 3 - The possession that nobody talks about. Dirk was not only heating up, he was on fire. He had scored the last 12 points for the Dallas Mavericks, and the Heat had no answer for him. The game was tied and the Mavs had the ball with a chance to take the lead with just under a minute to go. Terry CANNOT take that shot. If your name ain't Dirk, you cannot take that shot. I screamed "Noooooo" before he even shot it. Of course, the very next possession Bosh hit what eventually came to be the game winner. The next possession, the Mavs were too preoccupied on getting a 2-for-1, leading to a Dirk turnover after Wade made a great defensive play. On Dirk's last shot, he got exactly the look he wanted, just didn't knock it down.
Jeff Van Gundy's rant - I was very excited to hear a voice of the NBA discuss the problem that is flopping. Van Gundy supports fining players for flopping, (or as he says, "ruining them financially") which makes the already-difficult-enough job of a referee infinitely tougher. It was great to hear somebody speak up about the problem at a time when so many people could hear it. The weird part is that nobody else ever brings it up. Hopefully, Van Gundy's voice reaches enough people that we do, in fact, see a change in the future.
Mario Chalmers - This guy. My goodness. He's been something of a difference maker in this series. He's hitting enough 3's that helping off of him isn't really an option for the Mavs, which in turn is allowing all of those easy layups. Game 1 he hit three 3's. Game 2 he hit the biggest shot of the game for the Heat. Game 3 he went 4-6 from downtown (which really should be re-nicknamed "the suburbs" if you think about it). I have a very appropriate comparison for Lil' 'Rio - Robert Horry.
I was wrong - I'm ready to admit that it is, in fact, the Miami Heat defense causing all the problems for the Dallas Mavericks. I truly believe the length of the Heat defenders are disrupting the flow of the Mavs' offense, and is especially bothersome for the Mavs' shorter guards - Jason Terry and JJ Barea, both of whom are severely struggling. In fact, I believe the onus of the Mavs' struggles falls on Barea. If he isn't better in the next few games, they will not win. During the Thunder series, Barea had spurts where he was more dominant than Lebron James, with his ability to penetrate and finish or find an open shooter. He has given them almost nothing in these Finals so far, which cannot happen for the Mavs to win.
As for Tuesday night's Game 4, I am taking the Dallas Mavericks. I got nothing to lose and have no problem going down with the ship. The question I have for my audience is - If the Mavs win the next 2 games and head back to Miami for Games 6 & 7 with a 3-2 lead, who you taking to win the series?
Let me know in the comments. Best comment gets a name drop in my next write up.