May 31, 2011, 12:53 PM EDT
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.
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