This was eerily similar to Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat played it close or were down most of the game, then turned it on and smashed their opponent into the ground late. And just like Chicago, Miami shot poorly, but their own defense kept them in the game to allow them a shot at closing it out strong.
Despite my belief that Dirk is unstoppable, he is apparently pretty stoppable. Sure, he scored 27, but he was only 7-18 (38%) from the field. He hit all 12 of his free throws, which was nice, but he couldn't match LeBron and Wade's flurry late.
Shawn Marion had a great overall game, but disappeared in the fourth. When Marion in probably your best player, you're not going to win.
And really, who else did anything for Dallas? Barea was 1-8. Jason Terry scored 12 points in the first half, but ended with those same 12 points on 3-10 shooting. Peja was 0-3.
Meanwhile, LeBron was consistently good, ending with 24/9/5 on 56% shooting. His thunderous dunk in the fourth quarter was just part of a bunch of back-breaking plays, but boy was it impressive.
Wade struggled at times, but finished with 22/10/6 on 47% shooting, really a testament to how well he played when they needed him to show up.
You'll notice those two combined for 18 rebounds. When your perimeter players are corralling boards like that, you're in a good spot. Bosh added nine, and Haslem and Miller combined for 11, helping Miami get a 46-36 edge in that category for the night. They also grabbed 16 rebounds to Dallas' 6, a major factor in any win, but especially in the Finals.
In all, I don't see what Dallas can do. Kidd played Wade fairly well defensively, but in the fourth, Dwyane showed he can rise up and shoot over him any time he wants. LeBron scored from everywhere, and Bosh owned the first half.
If the Heat can continue to force Dirk into quick shots and make him extremely uncomfortable, look for this to be a short series, as no one else will get it done for the Mavs.
It's amazing the turnaround the Heat have made in close games. During the regular season they dropped close contest after close contest, and were labeled as a team of chokers by many.
Now? When it counts? Wade and LeBron turn on the afterburners and bury people. Remember when I said in the playoffs it often comes down to who can score on this one possession? These two have somehow managed to figure out whose turn it is to rip the heart out of the other team, and there's no bickering about who gets the alpha male status. It's kind of amazing. For all intents and purposes, LeWade killed Dallas last night, not the two separate players.
Hubie Brown was on Mike and Mike this morning talking about how impressive the Heat's defense has been lately. Since getting blown out in Game 1 of the Chicago series, they've given up 75, 85, 93, 80 and 84 points. In today's NBA that's ridiculous. Dallas averaged almost 104 points per game against a good defensive squad in Oklahoma City, but the Heat just throttled them.
We're probably seeing the start of a Miami dynasty here, and while I'll probably be sick of these guys in two or three years, right now I'm a fan.