Sunday, June 5, 2011

NBA Finals - Game 3 is THE Game

The Dallas Mavericks are the better team. Despite the arrogance seeping from the majority of the media believing the Heat can lollygag their way to this NBA Championship, and that their Game 2 meltdown was nothing but a blip on the radar, I have yet to waver from my belief. I might be the only one out there, but I'm sticking to it.

However, Game 3 is big enough that it could change my mind.

The Mavs have played so frustratingly bad in these NBA Finals that my usual routine of superficially berating my friends and hitting my dog hasn't even gotten the job done (Milhaus 3000 has a German alter-ego that I turn against when Dirk plays bad). Through 7 1/2 quarters of basketball they had yet to calm down and truly play their brand of Mavsketball. If the epicness of Thursday night's comeback/collapse combined with the return home isn't enough to settle their nerves, then I will concede the fact that it actually is the Heat's defense forcing the Mavs into careless turnovers, brick nasties, and whatever it is that Peja Stojakovic is out there doing on the court. Until then, I will continue to believe it's a bigger case of the Mavs playing timid.

Meanwhile, the Heat are pissed off right now (the Heat is pissed off? The Heats be pissed off?). Every man in that locker room (sorry Bosh) is telling one another just how big a fluke the Mavs comeback was. I don't care what they're telling the media, they know they let off the gas on Thursday night. And they aim to prove that fact in Game 3. In other words...

The Heat are gonna bring it on Sunday night.

Which makes Game 3 an absolute monstrosity of a game. If the Mavs win, the first seed of doubt, since the Playoffs started, begins to creep into the minds of the Miami Heat. They might begin to question each other. They might begin to question themselves. Judging by their season's ups and downs, and because of their style they play, I don't think any team in the NBA is more affected by self-confidence than Mami's Heat. Once stories began, earlier this season, about how they couldn't close out games, they bought into it, and it manifested itself throughout the season. Now in the Playoffs, stories have spread about how they own the 4th quarter, and voila, they've bought into that as well. This is a vulnerable team. They buy into their own hype. The truth is, we have yet to see a team challenge them in the Playoffs. I believe the Heat are frontrunners and that if the momentum of this series does officially swing, they won't be able to recapture it. They are not as mentally tough as the Dallas Mavericks. Not even close. I'm not sure they have it in them to battle their way through a long series. However, if they are able to pull out Game 3, this whole paragraph is a moot point. So again, I state....

Game 3 is huge.

So huge, in fact, that my prediction for this series rests on it. While everybody from Delonte West to Lebron's momma picked the Heat to win, I originally predicted the Mavs to win in 5. If pressed, I'd probably come down off that prediction, but I don't think it's as laughable as you, the reader, do right now. Contrary to what the media says, I believe the Heat are exactly the type of team that could lose 4 straight games.

Believe it or not, this entire write up was conceptualized before ever hearing this stat...

Since the NBA Finals have gone to the 2-3-2 format (1985), the series has stood pat at 1-1 11 times before. The team that has won Game 3 has gone on to win the series. Every. Single. Time. Do I love that stat? Not necessarily. The better team is going to win a majority of the games, as well as the series. However, the fact that there are no exceptions intrigues me. But nothing about that statistic tells me that it's impossible for the Game 3 loser to come back and win the series, almost seeming more like a coincidence. This might actually be a more telling statistic though...

Of the 11 series tied 1-1, the team with home court advantage has come back to win Game 3 on the road 8 of the 11 times. That's the Miami Heat.

However, I believe the Mavs will win Game 3, and I wouldn't be surprised if they did so decisively. I think the seeds of doubt will be planted in the minds of all 8 of the Miami Heat's faithful (Dan LeBatard included). I think the Mavs are riding too high right now, and will come out shooting lights out. I think Dirk plays his best when he is comfortable, which he finally is after 7 1/2 intimidated quarters of basketball. I think this is the Mavs' series. {Warning: This paragraph has been brought to you by an extremely biased Mavericks fan}

Mostly, I just really hope that it's the Heat's arrogance that costs them these NBA Finals.

Something about this series all seems too familiar though. Dominant team through 2 games of the series. Series swinging 4th quarter comeback. Vulnerable team. Shattered confidence. Questioned legacy. All that's missing is the winning team's star going to the free throw line 85 times per game over the next few. Which might happen. I feel like there's a word to describe this. Ah, yes!

Poetic justice.

His dirkness


Max said...

I heard the Mavs are taking alchemically charged waters. Is this how they beat Miami on their home court? Is this a legal substance? Here is a webpage describing what they might be using. Shawn Marion and Mark Cuban are mentioned towards the bottom of this web page.

Ida333 said...

I think you may be right. I looked at the site. I saw something about it somewhere else but I have no idea if it is legal. Well I hope it works for the Mavericks!

Anonymous said...

Nice article. I think game 3 is pivotal and if the Mavs win then I think the Heat might overheat themselves and blow a hollywood gasket. If the Heat win though I still think the Mavs could get it done simply, because of the mental toughness and veteran leadership. In my experience coaching the older teams are generally better at making adjustments and understanding what their role is so chalk this one up to out thinking your more athletically superior opponents.

Dr. Zaveous