game 1- Miamis crowd is gonna be pumped and so are the Heat especially LeBron for his first ring. Heat take care of Mavs
game 2- Dallas a veteran good team on the road make sure they sneak a win on the road before headed to Dallas and thats what they do.
Game 3- This is were it starts to get interesting. Same as the Game 1 description but with Dallas winning.
Game 4- Heat wins a tough close game that comes down to the final seconds
Game 5- Now 2-2, Mavericks get the heat at there home.
Game 6- Heat try to avoid elimination and in this game they make sure its not over.
Game 7-in Miami Mavs lead 3-1. Dirk gets his but nobody else showed up were shut down. Heat Steam roll there way to there 2nd championship. New Champs MIAMI HEAT
I hope Dallas wins but this is what I think will happen.
It's certainly easier to imagine the Heat winning than the Mavs. They're more athletic, they've looked dominant defensively, and their stars are young.
I predicted Miami to easily take the ECF. I never really believed in the Bulls. They reminded me of Dallas a few years ago. Regular season All-Stars but not playoff-ready. Anyone who juxtaposed the level of competition and game play between the Miami-Boston series and Chicago-Atlanta series could easily see that neither Chicago nor Atlanta would be prepared to face Boston or Miami in the ECF. It was clearly evident that Boston's and Miami's play and skill was on a different level. Also, the Bulls have this tendency to play down to their level of competition. They should've been blowing offensively undisciplined teams like Atlanta and Indiana, but instead let them hang around till the end. Once they faced a team with real closers, it would be the end of them.
That said, this Dallas team has been surprising. I always knew that Dirk was an offensive powerhouse, but he's clearly more advanced now than ever. He used to get almost all of his points off faceups, but now he's comfortable at catching it with his back against the basket and taking a good shot (for him it's a good shot) from all angles and from any point within the three point line. I've never seen that before. When a guy can catch it at 30 degrees, 20 ft from the basket and fade away, all net... It's scary. Dirk catching it at 15-18 ft away from the basket is like Tim Duncan catching it 5 ft from the basket. The greatest advantage to this is that he's no longer bothered by shorter defenders. Teams used to put wing defenders on Dirk (Bruce Bowen, Stephen Jackson, T-Mac) and it'd work for stretches because they were able to keep up with his quickness and slap away at the ball. Watching him absolutely destroy Thabo (who I think is the best wing defender in the league currently) by pinning him down and shooting over him was amazing. It's why I think Miami's plan of putting LeBron on Dirk won't work. While LeBron has the strength edge, it's not going to matter if Dirk is shooting over him with range up to 18 ft.
That said, I'm not 100% sure who will win the championship.
Few things I think will be the key to the series:
-Bench play: How will Terry/Peja/Barrea/Haywood stack up against Chalmers/Miller/Jones/Haslem? I think Dallas' group is more diverse and talented, but Miller and Haslem provided the right amount of spark and fire to win games last series. Miami plays the pick and roll beautifully so I wonder if JJ will be able to get all the points that he did against the Lakers/OKC. Wade, Chalmers fight through screens or LeBron and Bosh are long and slide their feet well if they are to switch. I'm not sure if I think JJ will be able to wreak as much havoc as he did in WC playoffs. Terry will always get his though. That guy doesn't miss open shots and is great off the dribble as well as catch and shoot. I give the edge to Dallas cause they can get consistent offense, even if it's only Terry.
-Will Miami make Dirk play defense: It amazes me that only Portland so far has tried to make Dirk play defense. The Lakers never really did (but that could also be because Pau was a ***** all series), and Dirk let Collison and Serge have all the open midrange jumpers in the world. While Dirk isn't the chair he used to be, he hasn't really been made to play defense. I also wonder if he will be this next series. I'm almost certain that Tyson Chandler or Haywood is going to guard Bosh, while Dirk is left with Haslem or Joel Anthony. I think this is an advantage for Dallas because if Dirk doesn't have to play defense, he can just coast until he gets on the offensive end and do his damage.
-Does Dallas have enough defensive stoppers to slow down Wade? I think the biggest defensive key for Dallas should be Wade. If you make LeBron the only unanswerable defensive assignment, they should be able to gut out wins. Stevenson will have to be able to stay infront of Wade to at the very least hold him to 20 or so points on average shooting. I wonder if they'll go to Corey Brewer. He's quick and long and there were times where I thought he was their best defensive wing talent. Offensively, he can't really help which is why I assume he doesn't get that much playing time, but if a combination of Stevenson, Kidd (though he's too aged at this point to be guarding Wade), and Brewer can keep Wade checked for 2-3 games, it'll change the entire makeup of the series.
-Miami's ball denial - Miami's been one of the best teams at ball denial that I've ever seen. I wonder if this will bother Dirk. If they'll force him to catch it over the top (which I have yet to see a team do consistently) or apply more pressure so that he has to work on just getting the ball. Miami's rotation has been excellent, so even if LeBron or Bosh makes Dirk catch it over the top, be sure that Haslem or Joel Anthony is right there to meet Dirk at the rim, with Wade/Chalmers cheating and sliding over to possibly intercept a pass.
-Dallas needs to pound them with their height. Dallas with Dirk, Tyson, and Haywood are way taller than anyone on Miami. Force it inside for easy dunks and layups. Even if Tyson and Haywood are not consistent offensive talents, they should be int here for putbacks and offensive boards. No point in having so many 7-footers if you're not going to use them effectively. Miami hasn't seen a team this tall, athletic, and long. It's time to let them feel short.
-Reffing - I hate to admit this as a factor, but it really is. And it may be the biggest factor. Let's face it. Miami and Dallas have seen differently reffed games up to this point. Miami has faced more physical teams so they've been able to get away with reaches, swipes, and overall being more active on defense. Meanwhile, Dallas has faced more offensive teams where they've been getting benefit of calls such as touch fouls, loose ball fouls, etc. If the refs let Miami be physical, then Dallas will be disrupted entirely. However, if Dallas gets the benefit of calls (and I don't mean phantom fouls, I mean those 50/50 subjective calls), it could throw Miami's aggressive defense off--which has been their staple all playoffs.
I really don't know who I think will win the series. I want Dallas and I can logically make up reasons while they'll win. They're more of a team, they've got a better cast, and they're bigger inside.
Meanwhile, Miami is better defensively, has possibly the two best players in the series, have home court, and are more athletic.
Deep down my gut says Dallas, and I'll stick to that. Dallas in 6.
Last edited by wang4three : 05-30-2011 at 04:18 PM.
the one time i remember teams 'solving' nowitzki was in OKC-DAL game two, in which they were effectively fronting him and doing good ball-denial. some other stuff, too... IIRC it was along the lines of slapping, stealing and disrupting. something like that.
-As I suspected, Miami's quick rotating defense has effectively taken out Dirk and Barea out of their game. Dirk was met with hard doubles and Barea was unable to create anything off the pick and roll. Dirk was able to get himself to the line and he may need to do that at 15 times a game to really impact the series.
-Dallas was good at finding open spot ups earlier in the game and then started to go away from that in the 2nd half. They began to play the way the Heat wanted them to; disjointed and earning every bucket. Dallas has to remember their offense is disciplined and balanced. They cannot settle for the first shot available.
-Miami got 16 offensive rebounds tonight. 10 more than Dallas which ended up being the difference in total boards. If you let Miami have second chance points, they're going to burn you. The zone really killed their ability to rebound. At times Dirk looked like he was above rebounding and was hoping Kidd, Marion, or Tyson would get the board. If they're going to stick in that zone, they're going to have to start rebounding better or it'll be a short series.
-I feel like Wade is the engine to Miami. When he plays well, the team plays better. There's a noticeable difference when Wade is leading the team than when LeBron is. The team just clicks better when Wade is on a roll.
-Like I feared, the reffing of the game did dictate the pace. The Heat were allowed to play more physical than the Mavs are used to. And while the refs tried to even it out towards the end, the first half was a nightmare of physical defense for the Mavs.
-Dallas didn't try to pound it inside more against Miami. It was upsetting. They should've exploited the Marion mismatch or even use Kidd to post up Bibby more. All of us know Kidd is a great post player for a PG and they should've gone to that instead of strictly making him a three point shooter. Would've also like to see them work out pick and rolls with Tyson Chandler.
All in all, didn't expect Dallas to take game 1, but they've got a lot to learn. Miami's big 3 was clicking today. If they do that consistently, series is over. They have to make atleast one a non-factor to win games.
i'm wondering how much this "new nets" campaign is affecting the minds of fans. from stuff that NI has reported over the last few months, it sounds like brooklyn natives are going to become a real strong fanbase. in terms of the average sports fan, i still get the feeling that they're barely paying any attention. and that the knicks are somehow thought to be the biggest threat to the heat going forward... something which i have a very hard time seeing.
- dirk's torn finger makes me sick to my stomach. as does lebron james' knuckleheaded statement that 'it doesn't matter because the injury was to his off-hand'. but anyone who plays the game should know how much little injuries anywhere on the body can affect a person and at times even cause further injuries elsewhere from trying to compensate. i mean, i'm not saying dirk's injury is the end of the world, but even if he wasn't effective at dribbling left and shooting touch shots with his left hand (which he is and does), the off hand is still used for many things in the game IME. we've all played the game, so enough said, i think.
- kidd is a great fast-break PG, but how can the mavs possibly get more rebounds without abandoning the zone, thereby getting murdered at several individual matchups, such as nowitzki, terry, barea, peja, etc? the old kidd / nets team of 2002 still brings a smile to my face with the ability of the 1 - 4 slots to absolutely kick ass on defense, i.e. kidd - kittles - RJ - kmart. meanwhile, dallas' excellent D is more a product of intelligence, experience and careful planning... which might be reaching the absolute limit of what's capable going against the number of athletic monsters on the heat.
- "redblackattack" was saying something on the main forum last night that i thought rung pretty true: that miami's offense is still not very pretty, but the raw talent on the wings (and maybe elsewhere) is so incredible that it just doesn't matter. following that thought, even top defenses like the celtics and the bulls simply couldn't deal with it. to me, it's sort of like taking an excellently-coached, experienced and disciplined state-champion grade school team (if there is such a thing) and throwing them against a good middle school or HS team- the raw strength and speed disadvantage is so great that the 12-yr olds have to do virtually everything perfectly to win.
- watching wade and lebron even from a distance, one can tell that 'something funny is going on'. and bear with me- i mean that you see two players who seem to do everything faster and more easily than everyone else on the court. we already know this of course by their reputation, incredible athleticism, skill, and bull-like physical strength. but even if you took someone who had never watched bball before and showed them the games, i think they might be able to pick out this difference. two ants on the anthill seem to be super ants for some reason. and if that's the case, imagine what it must be like in the trenches, battling those ants face-to-face. murderous, i would think. the situation also reminds me of watching a team with allen iverson from a distance- one player seems to be wearing jet-powered rocket skates while everyone else left theirs at home.
(haha, i have no idea if that last note made the slightest bit of sense.)
- last thought: that which was feared seemed to be happening late in the game- wade & lebron are so overwhelming in their matchups, despite dallas' best designs to prevent it, that it started to make everyone else on the heat look like great players. alley-oops with bosh, easy 3pt-ers from anyone who wanted one, haslem and others producing millions of offensive boards... it was starting to look like a laughing-good party fest for the heat in the 4th quarter, and that's got to scare everyone else in the league shirtless when they think about how much better the heat can still get. i.e., get haslem healthy, get miller productive like normal, sign even an -average- NBA PG to replace the dead weight of bibby / chalmers, get more experienced and comfortable with each other. i mean, sure, anything can go wrong, just like with any team, but the upside is still frightening...
-Once again, when Wade is on the Heat are unstoppable. I like at the end of this game, the Heat went away from Wade and into LeBron who ended up playing like he was on the Cavs again. He iso'd up at the top of the key and ended up taking terrible shots. Meanwhile when they went on their run in the 3rd and beginning of the 4th quarter, Wade was attacking, he was playing defense, and the rest of the team was feeding off his leadership. LeBron doesn't have that yet. Even when he does his monsterous dunks, it doesn't have the same impact as Wade. LeBron is the best player in the NBA, but Wade is the leader of this team.
-Dirk, Dirk, Dirk, Dirk. If there's a guy who's made tougher clutch shots this year, I don't know his name. Dirk's going to need to have to have huge 4th quarters for every game this series to have a chance.
-The Matrix came back. This is the most aggressive I've seen Shawn Marion play in....a long time. Probably since I was in college and he was on PHX. I never really pictured him as a slasher as much as an active utility guy, but he was so opportunistic. In Game 1 and 2. Hopefully he keeps it up, because he presents a lot of problems for the Heat. He's often left unchecked cause Miami wants to hard double Dirk and they've been closing out to Terry. Meanwhile, Marion is allowed to get to the places he wants and take shots he's great at. It's great to see him do well.
-Battle of the boards. This time Mavs outrebounded the Heat and it came up huge. They need to keep this up.
-Turnovers. Kidd is getting killed with turnover problems. And turnovers against the Heat are basically headshots cause they will convert on any turnover. They wouldn't have to fight back if they kept their turnovers low.
-I was impressed by the game Bibby pulled out. It was like watching him back on the Kings. His jumper was wet for the most part.
-Chris Bosh has been shooting terrible these two games. 9-34 for a whopping 26%. He needs to find his offense. Tyson's length gives him problems, but when he faces up and tries to use his quickness, he seems to get the shot he wants to. I'm also surprised that Bosh can't move to open spaces well off of Wade and LeBron drives. He should be getting open shots in the elbow or baseline area. Unfortunately his off-ball play isn't there.
Now that the series turns to Dallas, I wonder how these next 3 games will play out. I'm really excited for Sunday.
Such detailed and formal responses put mine to shame...
we need to get wang a better venue for his posts / articles... it's like "kmart drives a porsche to work" was back and better than ever.
btw, your posts have been good, too. keep 'em rolling, please.
anyway, yea... i was shocked at how much lebron looked like 'cleveland lebron' late in the game. his own ego working against him and wade feeling too humble (or whatever) to get in lebron's face and fix the matter.
i still don't feel very good about the situation because this series is still a case of dallas needing to do everything right and/or miami needing to have huge breakdowns in order for the mavs to win. that is, when dallas makes a couple mistakes, the heat tend to rip off ten or 15-point runs before you've blinked a couple times. but when dallas gets a break possession, they usually need marion to have released early in order to cash in.
and if they had marion and butler in the game at the same time... *ah*
i give spoelstra a lot of credit, here- the miami defense played superbly most of the game. they were giving nowitzki just the right amount of attention, neither doubling him too early or ever letting him get too open. which enabled the heat to address the two mavs' wildcards, terry and barea, who were once again given more perimeter attention than they're used to seeing and less lanes to drive down. making both guys look useless for long stretches. anyway, for a team with lousy PG's and centers, the heat sure know how to get after it on D.
Not playoff related: But Does anyone remember people saying Deron's assist numbers will drop with the Nets? Then he averaged 12.8 assist with us. I know he had a messed up wrist, but people knew this and they still felt they would drop.