A few scattered thoughts as I sat on my couch taking in what was an epic Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which the Mavs stole 95-93:
* Not sure if it’s Rick Carlisle’s inspiration or Dirk Nowitzki and/or Jason Kidd’s leadership, but holy crap do these Mavs have heart!
* Shawn Marion was Dallas’ second-leading scorer once again, with 20 points in the game, but Jason Terry filled a desperately needed role by coming to life in the game’s late stages. Having gone just 2-8 for eight points over the first 41+ minutes of Game 2, Terry reeled off six consecutive points in under a minute and hit on all three of his shots in crunch time to help spark the Mavs’ comeback.
* It hasn’t been a great postseason thus far for Miami critics who have argued that an NBA team can’t succeed with two alpha dogs who both demand the ball, but Game 2 certainly provided a nice piece of evidence to support their case. A three-pointer with 7:14 remaining in the fourth gave Wade 36 points on the night, but instead of taking over the game, the home grown star still spent most plays deferring to LeBron James and took just three shots the rest of the way (all misses). It’s no coincidence, then, that Miami held a 15-point lead at the time of the trey, only to Dallas go on a 22-5 run the rest of the way.
* Chris Bosh, who had really been coming through for the Heat since his 34-point explosion during Game 3 of the Bulls’ series, was back to being a liability on Thursday night. He was held to just 12 points on 4-16 shooting and was caught flat-footed on Nowitzki’s game-winning lay-up. Yes, you have to step out on the Mavs’ star and challenge his shot, but you also shouldn’t be getting beat off the dribble by a guy five years your senior who can hardly be described as fleet of foot.
* After being so critical to Miami’s Game 1 win, Udonis Haslem and Joel Anthony provided precious little on Thursday. While their combined two points was hardly surprising, they were non-factors on the boards (four rebounds between the two of them) and directly contributed to the Mavs’ 41-30 rebounding edge. Both men were solid defensively, but it’s hard to justify such one-dimensional contributions coming out of players that are each on court for nearly 30 minutes.
* Mike Miller’s continual defense of his health despite all appearances to the contrary is starting to bring to mind the “Dead Parrot” sketch from Monty Python (which can be found here for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about). Mike, either your arm – which you’ve been spotted wearing in a sling – is damaged, or we might as well just believe that your zero-point, 0-3 stat line is all we can expect from you.
* Carlisle may want to consider employing more of a ‘hands off’ approach as the series shifts to Dallas, particularly in regards to his team’s offensive attack. It was only when the Mavs stopped running set plays down the stretch in the fourth that they played a relax, free-flowing game and got open looks for Nowitzki, Terry and Marion.