A few scattered thoughts as I sat on my couch taking in what was a slow, ugly, defense-oriented Game 1 of the NBA Finals, which the Heat took 92-84:
* Has Dwyane Wade always taken over as the central focus during the Heat’s player introductions like that? I get that the homegrown star gets announced last, but it was surprising to see No. 3 take charge in the middle of the huddle as he shouted out what I assume to be words of motivational encouragement. Interesting to see LeBron James take a backseat as Wade emerges as the vocal leader.
* Joel Anthony’s in-your-face defense on Dirk Nowitzki may result in him spending much of the series on the bench in foul trouble, but it certainly seems to be working in keeping the big German out of rhythm.
* Don’t you find it ironic that in what it supposed to be the “Era of the Dynamic Point Guard”, the Finals’ two starting floor generals combined for nine points on 3-12 shooting and were, generally, non-factors? Not that either of Jason Kidd or Mike Bibby were being looked upon to produce much more scoring, but it goes to show that you still don’t need a Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook to win in the NBA.
* Miami’s 46-36 edge on the boards? Blame it on Tyson Chandler, who was on his game defensively but struggled in the low post against Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and the physical Heat, and Jason Terry, who too-frequently lost track of where Wade was once the ball was in the air.
* Speaking of physicality on the part of the Heat, it looks like James spent the past few days attending the Dwyane Wade School of Putting Your Body on the Line. The difference: James is 6’8″, 250 pounds and basically tore through much of the Mavericks’ front line, particularly late in the fourth quarter.
* One of the main tenets upon which critics of the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ rested their belief that the team would fail was a lack of depth, reasoning that pouring that kind of money into three players wouldn’t allow for Miami to establish a full-fledged squad of complementary players. Well, last night saw the Heat’s bench outscore the supposedly superior Mavs’ reserves 27-17, led by Mario Chalmers surprisingly outplaying perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate Terry. Even worse for Heat haters, their bench advantage came with Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, James Jones, Erick Dampier and Jamaal Magloire all sitting out.
* Sure, the torn tendon on the middle finger of Nowitzki’s left hand may be an inconvenience for both he and the team moving forward, but it’s no bigger an obstacle than the complete lack of offensive support by his Mavs’ teammates. In order to keep Miami’s ‘D’ honest, Dallas will have to do better than the 4-21 shooting it got from Terry, JJ Barea and Peja Stojakovic. Shawn Marion’s 16 points helped, but it’s an issue when three of the game’s top four scorers are wearing Heat jerseys.
* Attention: Miami fans, “Fanning Up” does not mean throwing items onto the court during the late stages of a win!