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When Dallas got hot, Heat made host of bad decisions

Jun 3, 2011, 11:24 AM EDT

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two Getty Images

Give Dallas credit — this is not their first massive comeback these playoffs. They are in the finals because they executed better at the end of games better than any team in the West. This is a veteran team that does not easily fluster and they started running a fantastic staggered screen for Jason Terry that the Heat could not stop. Dallas has shooters. Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas earned this 95-93 Game 2 win with their 22-5 run to close the contest out.

But you don’t have a comeback like this without some help.

Miami helped choke this away down the stretch. As our own John Krolik noted, the Heat had spent a season trying to shake a perception of arrogance, of a team celebrating before they won anything. Then, fair or not, they got it back in six minutes.

What did the Heat do wrong down the stretch? A few things.

• Horrible shot selection. With their 15 point lead, Miami went into the NBA equivalent of the prevent defense — they started trying to milk the clock, so they started their offensive sets late in the shot clock. Well, “sets” is a bad description of it. It was more like run out some clock then let LeBron James or Dwyane Wade make a play in isolation. Chris Bosh took some long jumpers late.

Remember the 55-second, three-chance possession the Heat had starting with 1:37 left in the game? Miami was up two and if that becomes four they regain some control. But what happened? A LeBron contested three from the top of the key, a Heat offensive rebound followed by running the clock down and LeBron taking another contested three, followed by another offensive rebound, but eventually Udonis Haslem gets stripped. That typified what the Heat ran late.

We should note, to be fair, the Heat took a lot of bad shots in the first half and at the end of Game 1 — this is a team that when pressured falls back to isolation “hero-ball.” They just have guys who can get away with it more than they should, but it will kill them in this series if they keep it up.

• Bosh on Nowitzki for the final play. Even Heat coach Erik Spoelstra had some regrets about not going with Udonis Haslem after the game, as reported by the Palm Beach Post.

“Yeah, that’s a tough one,” Spoelstra said. “I know UD probably is really wishing he had that opportunity to defend him. He had gotten a couple over the top, and the end of the game running it all the way down to the clock, could have gone with either guy. Both guys are good defenders.”

• Not fouling/double teaming Dirk Nowitzki on the final play. Miami had a foul to give (meaning they could foul Dirk before he shot and there would be no free throws, just Dallas ball out of bounds). They could have forced Dallas to run an out-of-bounds play with five or six seconds left, an easier play to defend because Dallas would have limited options in that time. But instead, Bosh did not foul, Nowitzki spun to the basket and Haslem never came over to help. Ballgame.

The other option — make someone other than Dallas’ best player beat you. Dallas had fantastic ball movement all night and had made the Heat pay for double teams with open shots. But still, you have to make someone other than one of the best scorers in the game beat you.

The Heat made mental mistake after mental mistake late. Like a team that had thought it had won and exhaled. And you can’t do that against Dallas.

  1. chargerdillon - Jun 3, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    It’ll be over in 5 count on it

  2. purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    With basketball usually being such a fast paced game, it’s hard to find announcers who can make the game boring, but ABC has found them!
    Heat Homers: Heat in four! Count on it!!


    Don’t look now Heat Honks, but your team just blew home court advantage.

    • philiplewis1 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:59 PM

      I’ve had about all of Jeff Van Gundy I can take.

      • purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 2:16 PM

        philip… look on the bright side; at least we’re not being subjected to Bill Walton and all of his war stories about his days playing with Jaamal Wilkes!

        I thought that the cable playoff crew of Reggie Miller, Steve Kerr and Marv Albert was EXCELLENT! Too bad that we’re being now subjected to such a major downgrade for the actual finals. (sigh!)

  3. delius1967 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    If you want to say that Dallas doesn’t come back without help, fine. But you also have to say that Miami doesn’t get 15 ahead without help.

    Seriously — does NOBODY BUT ME remember that this was a 2-point game with 10 minutes to go? The Heat didn’t slowly and methodically build up that 15-point lead. They went on a 13-0 tear over three minutes of the fourth quarter. Then the Mavericks matched then, and did them one better, over the next seven minutes.

    • nfl25 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:12 PM

      dude this writer loves the heat. i read the articles and know who wrote it. if the heat did what the mavs did lastnight, it would read “heat storm back, too much for dallas” but cuz the mavs came back its “the heat just got complacent and had a melt down”

  4. nfl25 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Can we please stop with the “people are hating on the heat”. The only people that hate on lebron are the Cleveland fans, and I don’t care that they do it. The bottom line is people are always going to root against a team that has a bunch of susperstars. They basically have a dream team. I have always been that way. Its just magnified cuz this is the only time since I been around that two players as good as lebron and wade on one team during their prime, then you add bosh (who doesn’t get enough credit). You cant compare to celtics or teams like that. Wade and lebron are THE best, not top 15. On most teams Bosh would be the best player on the team.

    Then you add the fact that they whine constantly, this is by far the worst part. The decision and that modeling show they did didn’t help. If they stop whining I think people might not be bothered by them so much.

  5. nfl25 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Im a sixers fan but I love this mavs team. I always been a dirk fan, but I like this whole team. But I cant watch stoyjacovich play defense, its brutal. They play team ball, team d and dirk is a stone cold killer.

  6. florida727 - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Something that has always amazed me about players in the NBA is how cerebral they try to come across in interviews, yet how stupid they play down the stretch in games. With a 15 point lead, how do you settle for contested threes and go away from what got you the 15 point lead in the first place? How do you not foul Dirk, or Jason Kidd, to shorten the amount of time Dallas has to try and make a final shot when you have a foul to give? In a game where each team is seemingly given 63 times the number of timeouts needed (especially considering “media” timeouts aren’t charged to either team), how do you not have one left for an end-of-game situation to get to inbound the ball at half court?

    Bottom line: the NBA is, and will always continue to be, nothing more than a glorified playground game.

    • purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

      florida… I’ll take your post one step further. It amazes me how inflexible some head coaches can be when it comes to making adjustments in game situations too.

      I was dumbfounded as to why Bulls coach Tibideau didn’t insert Thomas into his second rotation after Asik went down with a fractured ankle for the remainder of the season. Here you have a 19 year veteran with fresh legs who has a very good 15 foot jump shot, you’re not getting any scoring in the paint and your bigs are totally gassed from having to suck up Asik’s normal minutes, yet there sits Thomas on the bench. I just don’t get it.

      As to last nights game and the giant hair ball that Miami coughed up during the last 7 minutes of the game, I’m sure that given the low percentatge of 3 point shots that Dallas had hit in game 1 and up until 7 minutes left in game 2 that Miami figured hitting one was to be expected and hitting two or more a fluke.

      While that doesn’t excuse the Heat’s inability to react to the sudden change in the Dallas offense, it does help to explain it. The Mavs did the exact same thing you know in their prior playoff series as well when the Lakers were caught totally flat footed once the Mavs kicked it in gear and speeded up the game too.

  7. purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Just an observation here… It seemed to me like you could hear a pin drop in the Miami Arena for a large part of last nights game. Just because you give away white t-shirts to everyone coming in doesn’t constitute any kind of a home court advantage.

    I’m willing to bet that the Dallas Arena is going to be MUCH louder not only if/when the Mavs go on any kind of a run and towards the end of the game, but throughout the game as well.

    In other words, I don’t think that Heat fans acquitted themselves very well last night. During much of the game it seemed to me as if they weren’t even there.

    • edweird0 - Jun 3, 2011 at 2:01 PM

      You’ve come to annoy me greatly since I started posting on here but as sad as it is, you’re very right. IM a true fan of bb, not just the heat. Its a shame when real fans such as myself don’t have the opportunity to support their team in person but you best believe I lost my voice last night screaming at my TV. Miami has alot of shitty fans that don’t really care but that by NO MEANS negate all the true fans that watch from home.

      • purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        Edw… the objective of my posts is to stimulate conversation, not to annoy anyone other than the “Homers” and “Bandwagoners” out there (and there are A LOT of them!). It’s easy to root for a winner; real fans though stick with their teams through thick and thin.

        You make a great point about who winds up with the ducats for the biggest games, regardless of the sport. When I was a kid, I used to be able to walk up to old Comisky Park in Chicago on the day of the game and buy a reasonably priced box seat between the dugouts. Now those tickets are of course going for something like $8500 face value at Yankee Stadium even to see them play a bottom feeder/hapless team like the Orioles.

        The NBA is just as bad, in that even the nose bleed seats at the LA Staples Center for Laker games have a face value of $45 each (and forget about getting any of those for any games other than those against bottom feeders). Throw in another $20 to park (for most people anyways; us locals know where to still park and walk for free), and $9.50 for a 12 oz. draft beer and it simply prices out the real long term fans like you and me.

        Even if I had the disposable income, I’m just old school and am not going to way overpay to go to anything. Go to a regular season game in any professional sport and you have a 50/50 chance at being treated to a real stinker. Go to see a good concert and you’ll rarely be disappointed and the entertainment bang for the buck is just significantly better (at least for me!).

        I live in So. Cal and am on the Angels mailing list, and they have been bombarding me with great offers well below ticket face values, but I still won’t go because the over-priced tickets that they are trying to peddle are mostly down the right field line, where due to the sun setting during night games makes you feel like a pig on a spit and you can’t see the game (even with a hat and sunglasses), until about the 4th inning when the sun finally goes down.

        Bottom line? Pro sports has built a house of cards and the ever spiraling cost of tickets, concessions and parking has become such that the regular fan and their family have been largely priced out of being able to justify the expense.

        What comes around goes around though; just look at the thousands upon thousands of empty seats now at Wrigley Field, where non-reserved bench bleacher seats now run as much as $65/each for designated “premium games”. When I was a kid, those same tickets cost $5 for ALL games.

  8. purdueman - Jun 3, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    With respect to the mostly very quiet crowd at the Miami Arena last night, as ed… pointed out, I’m sure that a lot of those in attendance were bandwagon fans and wanna be seen/wanna brag about going yuppies.

    I share this for those of you who have never worked in the true corporate world. When I worked in Chicago and Michael Jordan was at his peak, the management of my then company frequently went to brokers and paid any price to get into Bulls playoff games. Then they simply got reimbursed by the company, claiming that the game was an “entertainment business expense” and they’d put down the name of a customer who wasn’t there that they knew would never be contacted to verify the expense.

    Unfortunately this kind of crap happens all too often, and it’s the #1 reason why the average true fan of teams can’t buy (much less afford), tickets to these games. I’d love to see Congress outlaw the ability of corporations to write these kinds of bogus expenses off on taxes!

  9. andrejohnsonforpresident - Jun 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Bad shot selection is an understatement.. The last 10 positions they had made me wanna puke. An not fouling dirk with a few seconds left.. That was a joke at the end pf the game.

    • edweird0 - Jun 3, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      Dude who you telling… 3 offensive rebounds and the only thing they managed to do was kill the time on the clock… Let alone the horrible defense they played in between all those possessions… What a dam shame.

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