Miami 88-86, now up 2 games to 1 over Dallas in the NBA Finals.
While I openly wondered earlier in these Playoffs if Dwyane Wade was 100% physically, I no longer will concern myself trying to guess the percentage.
Wade was absolutely magnificent last night, taking Game 3 by the throat. 29 points, 11 rebounds…and no turnovers. I mention no turnovers because every time he had the ball he seemed to know where he was going, what he was going to do…and would not be denied. Dwyane clearly wanted to take home advantage back at the very first opportunity after he and his Heat teammates let their guard down and allowed the Mavericks to make off from Miami with Game 2.
A very good example of Wade’s dominance came very late…the Heat had a shaky half-court possession going with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining and were only up 3. It was a key moment with the shot clock winding down. Wade took the ball during the chaotic set…settled the action down into his thoughtful dribble…and then played his hand by nailing a three-pointer from above the key to give Miami an 84-78 advantage.
It was symbolic of Wade’s whole evening how he put the game on his shoulders when needed and LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the other Heat players recognized Dwyane’s Game 2 offensive outburst would be repeated if they let him deal with Dallas as he wished. Bosh hit another clutch late-game jumper – this time with forty seconds remaining – and kudos to him for playing with essentially one eye the entire night after suffering an injury early on…18 points, 7 in the final quarter for the Dallas native. James had 17 points and 9 assists.
While the Heat still don’t seem receptive to carrying a big lead for whatever reason, they have most assuredly established themselves as the superior team defensively…while simultaneously turning on a massive neon light over Dirk Nowitzki, displaying Dallas as a one-man team now…similar to Miami’s exposure of Chicago and Derrick Rose.
The Heat’s defense is truly suffocating and the Mavericks only have one body breathing. J.J. Berea turned in nineteen minutes of some of the worst guard play you’ll ever see. Jason Terry and Shawn Marion both failed to register a single point in the fourth quarter. Much like with Chicago’s Rose, we now can come to appreciate the true greatness of Dallas’ Nowitzki he got his team this far this season.
Miami has a knack of isolating the opponent into very few options. Talk about percentages…the Heat’s defense remains underrated and uncharted when it comes to how much it factors into their success. And on that side of the ball, James and Udonis Haslem continue to excel. Haslem’s return has made the Heat that much more difficult to play against. Nowitzki is the only ace in Dallas’ deck…and Haslem contested him nicely on Dirk’s final, fade-away miss.
And just wait until the Heat have this year behind them…and learn how to be comfortable with those big leads they run out to and put teams away…wait until they know which cards to play when. They’re only going to get better. Scary.
Magic Johnson said in post-game comments on ABC he felt last night Dallas played as well as they can. If that’s true, Miami will cash out their winnings shortly.
The Game 3 winner in a tied Finals has won the title all eleven times since the 2-3-2 format began back in 1985. Many including myself are not fans of this format.
But life is not fair. You play the cards you are dealt.
As with all prior series the Heat have played in these Playoffs, Miami has more cards to play.