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NBA finals Game 1 preview: It’s more than LeBron and Dirk

May 31, 2011, 12:53 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls - Game Five Getty Images

It’s one thing to watch the tape and read the report.

Dallas knows it has to turn Dwyane Wade and LeBron James into contested jump shooters, not let them drive or get going in transition. Miami knows it needs to front Dirk Nowitzki, force him to put the ball on the floor going right and bring the quick double once the ball is on the floor.

It’s another thing entirely to execute it.

These two teams reached the finals because they have executed better than anyone else in their conference. Both have played amazing in the fourth quarter. Now comes Game 1 of the NBA finals and while both sides know what to do, pulling it off will be the key.

We’ve given you a lot of previews and things to think about, but to me here are the real keys. The ones besides Dirk and LeBron

Chris Bosh will be big for the Heat if he gets going. Dallas has struggled with stretch fours or any big who can step out and knock down a jumper, the most recent being LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland. Miami is going to use Bosh to pull Tyson Chandler away from the rim and if that works it opens up driving lanes for Wade and LeBron. If Chandler sags off Bosh, the Heat have to make him pay for that.

On the other side, how will Dallas’ shooters spread the floor on the Heat. Miami was able to slow Derrick Rose way down by putting up a wall of defenders in front of him, packing the paint. Chicago could not make the Heat pay for that by knocking down threes, the Mavericks must. How well those shots are contested and how many fall will be key.

How well does the Dallas zone work? Miami’s going to see it, if they dice it up they won’t see it for long but if they struggle they will see a lot of it.

Dallas is going to really test the Heat’s pick-and-roll defense. Dallas has also not faced a team that uses guys this athletic to defend the pick-and-roll. That is going to be an interesting battle.

Can Dallas’ bench have a big impact, or does the fact they will always see at least one and usually two of Miami’s “big three” change that equation.

When it is tight late, which team is going to make the most plays. Both have been fantastic these playoffs in the fourth quarter, but something has to give starting Tuesday night.

We’re not going to get all the answers tonight, but we’ll get some. We’ll start to get an idea. Come on by the PBT live blog starting at 9 pm Eastern and we’ll have some fun.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - May 31, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    If LeBron doesn’t win the championship this year, then there won’t be any excuses, right? He has his great player, Wade, and he has his big man, Bosh. He has everything that Jordan had and then some. Plus, the Mavericks really aren’t any better than the teams Jordan beat..Jazz, Sonics, Lakers, Suns, and Blazers. Those teams were stacked with hall of famers like Stockton, Malone, Kemp, Payton, Barkley, Drexler, Worthy, and Magic. The Mavericks have Dirk. If they beat the Heat in this series, it has to be a huge hit on LeBron’s legacy, right?

    • hnirobert3 - May 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM

      Aren’t most experts taking the Mavs?

    • southbeachtalent - May 31, 2011 at 2:33 PM

      Actually this will be the worst team the Heat will have. That being said, its championship or bust for the Heat, they know that. Eastern Conf champs while impressive unfortunately is not good enough. This will be a hard fought series.. I think the Heat are unstoppable. Heat in 6.

  2. jeffnmac - May 31, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    if james does not win it this year there is always the next year. yes he has all the right peices to put the mavericks in check but dirk is just as much as impact as lebron ob his team. if either one can get hot and stay hot tjis series that will be the deciding factor. also forget dwayne wade has been in this situation before and i am sure is going to step up big this series since he really has had a stand out game since the jeat played the celtics. either way this is going to be a great series to watch in 2011 i just hope the heat can execute their objectives and end the season with a championship trophy.

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