As we go to press, The Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks are in a neck-n-neck series, tied 2-2 in the Finals. LeBron James and Chris Bosh are seeking their first ring, and are only 2 games away from completing their goal they’ve set out to accomplish when the trio joined forces last July.
The Miami Heat have displayed not only their talent, but that they can are also capable of getting it done on the defensive end. The Heat have held the Mavericks under 90 points in each game this series. As we all know, Dallas has been one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league this year. As much as LeBron James has been significant with “video game” like dunks and timely three pointers with the exception of Game 4, it has been the closing ability of Dwyane Wade and the clutch shooting of Chris Bosh that has given Miami a distinct advantage in this series.
Wade put on a clinic dropping 36 points, despite a Game 2 loss. Wade encored his performance in Game 3 scoring 29, basically having his way with Jason Kidd, Deshawn Stevenson, and Jason Terry, players who have been matched up against him. The role players have stepped up as well getting timely buckets from Mario Chalmers, and Mike Miller. Having a bad headache is one thing, but the Mavericks appeared to be seeing double with the play of Wade and Bosh.
The play of Jason Terry, in Tuesday’s game may have awakened the Mavericks bench. There is no doubt that the best player in this postseason has been Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki has carried his team in Game 2 as the Mavs completed a fourth-quarter comeback against the Heat in which Nowitzki scored the game-winning basket on his left hand while nursing a torn tendon on his left middle finger and battling a 102-degree fever in Game 4.
However, even Dirk will admit that he needs some of the load taken off his back as role players have struggled through Miami’s tenacious defense. One player who is considered to be an “X factor” is Jason Terry. Terry has been smothered by the defense of LeBron and has struggled from the field in Games 1 and 3 but bounced back in Game 4 with two clutch free throws towards the end of the game. J.J. Barea, who had a sensational Western Conference Finals series against the Thunder, is struggling to find a rhythm from the field so far in this series against the Heat defense.
To add more concern for the Mavs, there are still question marks whether Brendan Haywood is healthy enough to defend Chris Bosh as he recovers from a hip pointer injury suffered in Game 2. Haywood’s size has been missed with the Mavericks lacking size, and with Nowitzki being the only 7-footer, It may be too early to judge the outcome of the series. You wonder if this series would’ve played out differently if Nowitzki had his second scorer in Caron Butler. Butler is out for the season with a torn acl.
The Mavericks boosted up their defense a bit going to a zone defense in Game 4. If they hope to snatch a Game 5,which will be their last home game of the series, Dirk and company must knock down shots that they were unable to hit in Game 4. Jason Terry must continue to contribute as well as players such as J.J. Barea and Tyson Chandler who has been in foul trouble throughout this series. Veteran Peja Stojakovic is shooting well under 40% from the field.
For the Heat it is simple, LeBron seems to be Ok playing a Scottie Pippen role, and if Wade continues to be the “Mariano Rivera” for the Heat closing in the fourth quarter, the Heat will be celebrating a championship on the Mavericks home floor like they did in 2006. James must step up as he knows he is just a few games away from his first of 8 championships, referring to what he said in a pre-season pep rally when he joined the Heat. Dirk must be Dirk with some assistance as he looks to avenge some bad déjà vu he witnessed in 2006. The Mavs need a MVP like game from Dirk in Game 5 as he hopes to have his fever under control by game time. The Mavs must put a stop to the “underrated” Bosh and the heroics of Wade.
Sports Notes : (Basketball) Brooklynite, St. John’s alum, and former Knick Mark Jackson has been hired by the Golden State Warriors as their new head coach. This marks Jackson’s first head coaching job. * Game 5 Heat @ Mavericks tonight, (series tied 2-20).
(Baseball) The Mets begin a 10-game road trip with no days off in between against the Milwaukee Brewers. Chasing 3000 : The Yankees begin a 10-game home stand against the rival Boston Red Sox. Derek Jeter is now 12 hits shy of 3000 hits at 2,988.
( Football) Approaching Day 88 of the NFL lockout, there has not been any progress in a new CBA deal.Former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress was released from prison in upstate New York on Monday after being sentenced on September 22, 2009 on gun charges. “If and when ever the lockout ends, I’ll be ready.” Words said by Burress.