The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 86, Miami Heat 83

Posted by Rob Mahoney on June 8, 2011 under Recaps | 10 Comments to Read

Screen shot 2011-06-08 at 11.20.15 AM

Box Score — Play-by-Play — Shot Chart — GameFlow

TeamPaceOff. Eff.eFG%FT/FGORB%TOR
Dallas82.0104.942.532.929.313.4
Miami101.244.022.734.115.9

You know the drill. The Difference is a reflection on the game that was, with one bullet for every point in the final margin.

  • Rick Carlisle tweaked his rotation, and the three Mavs involved — J.J. Barea (eight points, 3-9 FG, four assists), DeShawn Stevenson (11 points, 3-7 3FG), and Shawn Marion (16 points, 7-12 FG, four rebounds) — each had their best games of the series as a result. Not only has Carlisle done a great job of balancing a micro-managing style with the release of control (when he lets the Mavs “just play basketball,” or execute their “flow game,”), but he’s pressed the right buttons in every damn series thus far. Starting Barea as a means to eliminate Peja Stojakovic from the rotation while still keeping Brian Cardinal’s minutes down was actually rather inspired, and though Barea hadn’t really played well in the first three games of the Finals, he was able to accomplish some good things in Game 4 — even as he shot just 3-of-9 from the field. If Carlisle was given the option for Barea to get the same looks and same penetration again in Game 5, I think he’d take it in a heartbeat; Barea worked to create quality shots, but makes just weren’t in the cards this time. Stevenson played an effective game, too, so long as we forget about his horrible, bone-headed foul on Chris Bosh. His 11 points and ability to space the floor were invaluable considering Dirk Nowitzki’s limitations, and Stevenson was an active participant in the zone defense that shut Miami down in the fourth quarter. And then we come to Marion, who had his third game in the series with 16 or more points, and accomplished that much in just 26 minutes — by far his lowest minute total for the Finals. Dallas had leaned too heavily on Marion in the first three games of the series, and while 26 minutes will hardly be the norm from here on out, we should expect more reasonable levels of playing time than the 41+ minutes Marion played in Games 2 and 3.
  • Dallas continued in their remarkable defense against LeBron James (eight points, 3-11 FG, nine rebounds, seven assists, four turnovers), but what of Dwyane Wade ()? There’s only so much one can do to curtail scorers in isolation, especially those with the handle, speed, and vision that Wade almost unfairly possesses. He can get himself out of trouble so quickly that overt doubling presents serious problems, and yet the Mavs’ man defense can only do so much to contain him. I don’t feel like Marion, Stevenson, and Kidd did a poor job against Wade in Game 4; in many cases they played him well, and Tyson Chandler was there with the help. Wade is just too damn good at what he does, and he torched the Mavs to the tune of 32 points on 20 shots. Wade very nearly deflected some of the ill will aimed at LeBron for his horribly underwhelming performance, but a loss is a loss, and when the Heat are downed it’s often James that’s left to answer for it. I’d be very interested to see how the shift in the narrative had Wade made a single free throw or made a few more buckets, but Dallas winning with clutch execution while Wade shorts a freebie comes with its own narrative power.
  • Tyson Chandler (13 points, 16 rebounds, nine offensive boards) was a monster, and while plenty will praise him for his relentlessness, I’ve come to praise him for his restraint. Dallas has only remained competitive in this series because of Chandler, and more specifically, because Chandler has avoided foul trouble. The offensive rebounds and put-backs are fantastic, but they’re products of Chandler being on the floor in the first place, something which should in no way be assumed. Carlisle will play Chandler if he can, but foul trouble placed an artificial limit on Chandler’s minutes all season long, and was expected to play a role in one playoff series or another. It hasn’t. Whether defending LaMarcus Aldridge, Andrew Bynum, or Pau Gasol — or somehow protecting the rim from the likes of Wade and James while guarding Bosh — Chandler has kept his fouls down and stayed in the game. Chandler played 43 minutes of fully charged basketball on Tuesday night, and though his motor deserves unending praise, I’m more impressed than ever with Chandler’s ability to cut down on those tempting cheap fouls that got him in trouble so often.
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ISAD7RPXLNHRMB2A2TTNISGIKQ Brad

    I can usually get your photos but this one has me completely befuddled.

    • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

      Going to guess – same product, different result this time? Minor tweaks in packaging ending up with desired results?

    • Aleks

      It's a caricature of the big three (Wade, Lebron, Bosh), with Mike Bibby at the side. It is clear that Bosh is almost half empty while Wade and Lebron have still a lot in the tank. Mike Bibby is intransparent and can only be probed by cracking his skull.

  • http://twitter.com/KirkSeriousFace Kirk Henderson

    More good looks didn't fall again.  Barea does not have the touch right now, but maybe it'll come.  These games are giving me heart attacks.

  • Dr. Clarkus

    great write up

  • Danny

    Through 4 games LeBron's +/- is -1.  Dirk's is +30.

  • Guest

    I think in your second bullet point, you forgot to fill in that Dwyane Wade had twenty-six points, 13-20 FG, two assists, and two turnovers for last night's game in the parentheses. And yes, Chandler's presence was key; he's a good, physical player who's got the timing to get and make rebounds/2nd chances happen. I can't believe he was on the floor almost the entire game.

  • jdfoster12

    im pissed the heat lost, but tonight is gonna be different, miami is taking over. People hate lebron, its a  carreer choice get over it guys….I heard that there are still a few tickets available for the NBA finals, i got a couple already with a good discount. http://goo.gl/DLWwm

  • Binmai

    hmm… the whole write up mention dirk only once in “dirk's limitation”, and the tags include brian cardinal, peja stojakovic, but no dirk.

    elephant in the room?

  • Jim W.

    I'm surprised so little has been written or discussed about Maimi's struggles in the halfcourt offense. I know a couple of people have discussed this but it isn't being talked about very much.  When your two best players are most effective with the ball in their hands, one of the two is going to be underutilized in the halfcourt set. Maimi has been having this problem in the halfcourt all season long. Their great defense (and offensive rebounding) has covered this weakness because it creates so many open court/broken play looks for them that Wade and Lebron can score effectively. One or both of them is going to have to adjust their games going forward if they expect to dominate the league and become consistent champions.