Every body was counting the Dallas Mavericks out of the series with the way the Heat had been dominating their opponents during the playoffs and especially with the defense the Heat have been showing during the fourth quarter. Judging from game 1 of the Finals, it seemed that Dallas would be victims of the Heat fourth quarter choke hold. Despite a gritty effort by Dallas, what everyone was expecting happened in that first game, Dallas folded against the defensive juggernaut that were the Miami Heat. Lo and behold, the basketball world was anointing the Heat as champions, despite the fact that this was just the first game of a seven game series. Nobody was giving Dallas any hope of beating the Heat in game 2 as the odds were stacked against Dallas with the phenomenal play of LeBron and Wade, the Heat’s 9-0 home record and of course the vaunted Heat fourth quarter defense. The home crowd was smelling blood. There were even calls for a sweep.
Then came game 2 of the finals. The first three quarters were nip and tuck with each team fighting for every possession and every basket, so much so that by half time, the game was tied. The third quarter was more of the same. In the fourth, the Heat was able to seemingly break away. The whole arena was wild and it would seem that the Mavericks were headed for doom. Up 15 with 7 minutes left in the ball game after Wade made a spectacular three, one would think that it was all over but the shouting. Somebody should have told that to the Dallas Mavericks as they simply refused to loose. When the ball game finally ended and the buzzer sounded, it was Dallas that had its arms raised in victory.
The unthinkable finally happened. The sweep was no more. The home court advantage lost. The air of invincibility surrounding the Heat was shattered. In that fateful seven minutes, Dallas showed the whole world that they were for real and that they weren’t just the “other” team in the finals. Dallas just did not give up down the stretch.
Time for the Heat to wake. Forget all the press, the praises and the accolades. The heat must realize that they are up against a very determined Dallas team. Watching the game, the Heat after going up 15 just celebrated too early. The Heat began believing the hype and paid dearly for it. Miami was ready to party, but Dallas just wasn’t willing to dance. Miami had the chance to go up 2-0 in the series and let it slip away.
Time for the Heat to wake up. Dallas isn’t just going to roll over and die. The Heat have to realize that Dallas is as hungry for vindication as the Heat are for validation. Against such a team, the Heat cannot just relax and think that their defense is a switch that they can turn on and off during the fourth quarter. The Heat have to play consistent defense for the whole 48 minutes and not wait for the fourth quarter to shut down their opponent. Watching the game, the Heat played great defense for the first five minutes of the last quarter and then suddenly started pumping fists and forgot that there were still seven minutes of basketball to play.
Offensively the Heat played “hero basket ball” with Wade and LBJ taking turns trying to make the big shot. Sadly, the Heat forgot what got them the lead, that was ball movement, taking quality shots and playing team defense. Instead what the Heat played was tentative basketball, they lost all aggression and ball movement and just probably hoped that the clock would wind down and that the Mavericks would just give up. Fall away three’s just won’t do. The Heat never attacked the lane or executed properly in the end.
Time for the Heat to wake up. The Heat cannot just let up. Dallas isn’t like the Bulls that relies only one scorer and one play maker. Dallas has enough offensive options to challenge the Heat for 48 minutes and the Heat cannot let up.They have to play offense and defense for 48 minutes.
Time for the Heat to wake up. They may have lost and let one slip away but its time for them to show their character and heart. The Heat have to rise up to the challenge. Deal with the disappointment of the loss and bounce back. The Heat have been terrific in the clutch if not automatic and they have to show that consistency in the next three games if they hope to win the championship. The offense will always be there as long as there is ball movement and patience in execution. Playing under the glare and the scrutiny all through out the season, much will be made of this loss, and its time for the Heat to display the resiliency they have shown all year long. The Heat must respond in the next game without question.
Time for the Heat to wake up. This is now a series.