NBA Finals Game 1: Heat Win 92-84, Lead Series 1-0

Posted by By at 2 June, at 03 : 19 AM Print

NBA Finals Game 1: Heat Win 92-84, Lead Series 1-0

LeBron James and Chris Bosh are one game closer to their first championship ring and Dwyane Wade is one game closer to his second after Miami’s game 1 victory last night over Dallas. In a game where neither team shot particularly well, the Heat shot just enough better (39% to 37%) to come out on top. As if the loss didn’t hurt bad enough, the Mavericks found out after the game that Dirk Nowitzki tore a tendon in the middle finger of his left hand and may be required to wear a splint for the remainder of the series.

In his first win in five NBA Finals games, LeBron had 24 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and was 4-5 from behind the 3-point stripe. Dwyane Wade didn’t really come alive until the second half, where he scored 15 of his 22 points.  He also led the team in rebounds (10) and assists (6), and threw in 2 blocks for good measure. In a bit of a role reversal, it was Wade who put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter this time around. His rebound and look ahead pass to a wide open Chris Bosh with 1:08 left took Miami’s lead back to 10 and an his alley-oop to LeBron with 38 seconds left put the exclamation point on the victory.

Bosh went only 5-18 from the floor on the way to his 19 points, but did grab 9 rebounds. The other two members of the starting five, Mike Bibby and Joel Anthony, were both held scoreless. In a series where the Mavericks were expected to have the advantage off the bench, Miami’s reserves outplayed their counterparts. Mario Chalmers had 12 points, including three 3-pointers. Udonis Haslem scored 7 and grabbed 6 rebounds. Mike Miller scored 6 and had 5 rebounds of his own, but left the game with his arm in a sling. His availability for game 2 has not yet officially been determined, but his absence would make an already short Heat bench even shorter.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points and went 12-12 from the free-throw line, shocker, to pace Dallas. Shawn Marion called on the ghosts of Marion past to look much like the all-star version of himself he was in Phoenix. He scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and was second on the team with 4 assists. Unfortunately, he was the only real support Dirk had on the evening. Jason Terry scored 12 points, going 3-10, but most of his damage came in the first quarter.

While DeShawn Stevenson got the start, he only played 14 minutes and scored 6 points in his limited action. Tyson Chandler was far too quiet on the glass for Rick Carlisle’s liking, being out rebounded by Nowitzki, Marion, and Brendan Haywood, who grabbed 7 off the bench. Heading into the series the talk around the Heat practices was that they were going to treat J.J. Barea much like they did Derrick Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals. Barea’s night wasn’t too far off of some of the performances Rose was held to. He went 1-8 from the floor to score only 2 points. A promising start to the playoffs for Peja Stojakovic against Portland and Los Angeles started to turn south against Oklahoma City and continued last night. He was held scoreless, going 0-3 from the field.

With only a day in-between the Mavericks will have some work to do in trying to solve a Heat defense that had their offense out of sync for most of the evening. Without much of an interior presence, Dallas needs to hit their perimeter shots or nights like last night are going to happen. Kidd, Terry, Barea, and Stojakovic will need to make their open opportunities. They were given quite a few last night, but missed some very make-able shots. Haywood played solid in the paint while on the floor, but more will be expected of Chandler as he didn’t use his quickness advantage over Anthony and Haslem often enough to get to lose balls and rebounds. A veteran team, whose average age of the starting five is just a shade over 32 years old, won’t be too discouraged by an opening game loss, but will also realize the importance of not heading home down 0-2 for the middle three games of the series.

The Big Three are now three wins away from completing the mission that brought them together. The defense that carried Miami through the Chicago series was on display once again. A solid performance from a much maligned bench showed a dimension not often seen by Heat fans this season. At this point head coach Erik Spoelstra probably doesn’t need to say a whole lot in the way of motivational speeches, just the common cliche of “taking one game at a time”. Miami surely knows that Dallas will not let the injury to Dirk be an excuse and should be prepared for tough game tomorrow night. With a title now in their sights will they seize the moment and take a 2-0 lead or will they board a plane to Dallas for Sunday’s game with the series tied 1-1?

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