The Dallas Mavericks are out to avenge their 2006 loss to the Miami Heat, unfortunately they started on the wrong foot. Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 points but that was not enough for the Mavericks as the Eastern Conference Champions put a clamp on the rest of the Mavericks to escape an easy 92 -84 win at the America Airlines Arena. Lebron James led the Heat with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, one steal and only one turnover while Dwayne Wade who was the MVP of the 2006 NBA Finals was somewhat content on his supporting role but eventually reminded Nowitzki and Jason Terry what he can do by scoring 7 fourth quarter points. The Mavericks never recovered.
Prior to the game streaks were on hand and both teams were looking at what streak will end. Dallas has never lost a regular season game to the Heat since the 2006 finals. The Mavericks are on a 5 – 0 road streak while the Heat are the only team still unbeaten at home. As they say the importance of game one lies on the balance since 73% of teams that won the first game go on to win the title. At the same time 77% of teams with homecourt advantage in the finals eventually comes out as champions. The Heat have shown that they can win even wihtout that advantage since they bested the best team in the regular season in the Bulls. This is the first time in the playoffs that the Mavericks doesn’t enjoy the homecourt edge.
The Mavericks and Heat battled toe to toe in the first half and when the Mavericks seized the opportunity to break the game open the Miami Big three would put the game beyond recall. Lebron James capped his remarkable four of five three point shooting with a buzzer beater that put the Heat up for good 65 -61 and used taht cushion to get the win. The Heat defense was so good that they limited the playoffs topscorer to just 39 % shooting. At the same time the Heat defense spelled the difference considering that the mavericks averaged close to a hundred a game but the Heat limited them to just 84 points.
The Mavericks reserves will star in the next magic show in Miami since most of their reserves made a disappearing act in game 1. Jason Terry scored 12 points but was 3 for 10 and his points barely mattered, Peja Stojakovic, Jose Barea and Brendan Haywood comb ined for five points. Nowitzki was adequate while Tyson Chandler had more fouls than rebounds. Miami actually shot poorly but found a way to win through their defense. The big three accounted for 70% of the Heat offense with key reserves Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller combining for 25 points. The Heat outrebounded the Mavs 46 – 35 and as Heat President Pat Riley said then, “No Rebounds, No Rings!” On to game 2.