MIAMI -- This series is going to be tough on J.J. Barea. He's going up against taller defenders, but that's nothing new for the Mavericks' second-leading scoring option off the bench.
Barea has carved out a niche in this league maneuvering his way into the lane to score with a variety of flips and scoops that leave big men frustrated. (Lakers center Andrew Bynum nearly broke Barea in half in the finale of the Lakers sweep.) He also has proven effective beyond the arc working off pick-and-rolls, usually with Dirk Nowitzki or just spotting up.
Barea didn't get any 3-pointers up in Game 1 and took just eight shots in 18 minutes. He only made one, missing several drives with what appeared to be hurried attempts. It's almost as if he was hearing footsteps on those forays into the lane, and with LeBron James out there, that's understandable.
Barea's two-point effort against Miami was his lowest of these playoffs. He came into the Finals averaging 8.9 points in the playoffs, with two games of at least 20. Barea was even more effective in the previous two rounds, averaging 11.5 points against the Lakers and Thunder.
He wasn't the only one struggling off the Mavs bench. The second team accounted for only 17 points and shot a combined 4 for 22. Jason Terry didn't score in the second half. Peja Stojakovic didn't score at all.
"We struggled off the bench [Tuesday night], but we had our looks," Barea said. "We had our looks and we didn't knock them down. Thursday I think that's going to change."
Barea praised the Heat defense, adding that the Mavs need to do a better job taking care of the ball and being more precise offensively because Miami is so big and athletic.
"We have all day [today] to figure this out," Barea said, "and come out better on Thursday."