Fisher’s Game Notes: NBA Finals – Game 3

* Go figure: a one-eyed Chris Bosh nails a clutch, 15-foot game-winner after being ice cold throughout the first three games of the series, while Dirk Nowitzki can’t put home the type of off-balanced jumper from the free-throw line that he’s made his bones off of all Finals long. As they say, that’s why you play the games.

* Bosh coming through in the clutch in his hometown makes for a nice, little narrative angle on Game 3, but let’s not over-state his impact. He remains, after all, just 16-52 (30.7%) shooting for the Finals and was switched off of Nowitzki coming into the game after getting blown by on a lay-up in the dying seconds of Game 2.

* Have to wonder how LeBron James is going to feel when Dwyane Wade is named Finals MVP. James has hardly played poorly and remains an emotional and defensive leader on the team, but Wade has simply done it all, as evidenced by his 29-11 effort on Sunday night.

* Give credit to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra for singling out Udonis Haslem for what would otherwise be a largely thankless effort. Haslem’s primary Game 3 role was to guard Nowitzki, who just happened to put up a game-high 34 points. Hardly an impressive defensive effort, right? Well, the stat line doesn’t show how many of those shots were contested and off-balance (much like the missed buzzer-beater attempt), nor does it show how many times Nowitzki was forced to pass the ball off to decidedly less clutch teammates.

* Nine years to the day of becoming the 13th player in NBA history to record a triple-double in the NBA Finals, Jason Kidd came awfully close to doing it again. The Mavs’ point guard finished with nine points, 10 assists and six rebounds while still defending at a surprisingly high level at 38 years of age. More remarkable, still, is that with one more point and four more rebounds, he would have been the first player since himself to record one in the Finals.

* How about the unlikely contributions of Miami’s Mario Chalmers, who has made the most of some wide open looks and is averaging 11.0 points through three Finals games. He already has more points in this series than in either of the Conference Finals against Chicago or Conference Semis vs. Boston.

* How improbable is it that two consecutive Finals games have now come down to two point differentials? The last time any Finals game was decided by two or fewer points was back in 2007, when San Antonio completed their sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers (and James, of course) with an 83-82 win. For back-to-back such games, you have to go back to the 1998 Finals, when Utah stayed alive with an 83-81 Game 5 win, only to be bested 87-86 in Game 6 on Michael Jordan’s famous push-off jumper on Bryon Russell.

About the Author

Ben Fisher Ben Fisher has covered the NBA for HOOPSADDICT.com and contributed to the Toronto Raptors' Gameday souvenir program. He has also written on the NHL, MLB, Olympic Winter Games and the ATP and WTA tennis tours.

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