In: NBA Free Picks2 Jun 2011
“I think Dirk can shoot the ball with his eyes closed, with no hands, if he had to, especially in a game of this magnitude,” Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks was reported to have said regarding the injured left finger of Dirk Nowitzki.
I’m not quite sure how Nowitzki could manage to shoot the ball with no hands, but from what we saw out of Dallas in Game 1, it might take that kind of magic touch for the Mavs to head home with a 1-1 series tie.
In Game 1 there were nearly a dozen lead changes, but even with the back-and-forth action, it was obvious the Miami Heat was in control.
For only the sixth time this season, the Mavs were held to fewer than 85 points in a game. Two and a half of those sub-85-point showings were games where Nowitzi was out of the lineup, or – as is the case with that half game I mentioned- he got ejected from the game.
In other words, stopping Dallas with Dirk on the floor is no easy task, but LeBron and the Heat kept the Mavs on the ropes, and finally put their foot on their neck with about four minutes left on the clock.
Photos of LeBron’s fourth-quarter dunk-plus-the-foul, 3-point play, were splattered all over the Internet Wednesday. LeBron James’ performance in Game 1, added considerable kindling to the ever-growing debate of James vs Jordan.
There certainly wasn’t any Michael Jordan magic in the series opener, but James’ defensive effort certainly seemed to set him apart from the very adept-at-defense NBA superstar who almost single-handedly saved the NBA 20 years ago.
James was 13-21 from the field with nine rebounds and he was 2-2 from the free-throw line. His 24 points led the team on offense, and while it doesn’t show up well on the stat sheet, his defense helped seal the game.
In Game 2, the Heat are at home once again, where they will try to end the Heat’s nine-game home winning streak in the 2011 playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, the Mavs are going to have to get within four points to cover the -4.5 spread leaning in the Heat’s favor.
A good defensive team can slow down a trio like James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but over the course of four quarters, it just becomes too tiring to keep fighting. That’s what seemed like went down Tuesday night, which allowed the Heat to close the door on Game 1, long before the clock showed all zeros and the horn sounded.
With the Heat at home again, I still have to lean toward Miami being up 2-0 when we all wake up Friday morning.
Pick: Take the Miami Heat (-4.5)