DALLAS -- The turnover bug continues to haunt the Dallas Mavericks three games into the Finals. And it's not so much the sheer numbers as it is the careless ball-handling that leads to easy points for the Miami Heat.
"You can't give this team so many fastbreak points and the only way they got fastbreak points is off our turnovers," Tyson Chandler said. "We're doing a good job of halfcourt defense setting up, but we're giving them running starts. We're giving them 11-point leads, 15-points leads off of turnovers."
The Mavericks coughed the ball up 14 times in Sunday night's 88-86 loss at American Airlines Center, including a critical turnover by Dirk Nowitzki with Miami leading by two with 30 seconds remaining. The Heat scored 19 points off those miscues.
"We have to take care of the ball against this team," Jason Kidd said. "Make or miss shots, you can't just give these guys easy layups on the other end. That's what they're doing to us right now."
The Mavericks have 45 turnovers in the series compared to 37 for Miami. Kidd, in particular, continues to give it up with another four turnovers in Game 3, bringing his three-game total to 12. (He averaged just 2.2 per game during the regular season.)
But Kidd isn't the only one being careless. Dirk Nowitzki had 10 turnovers through three games and Shawn Marion eight. J.J. Barea lost the ball four times in Game 3.
"They're good deflecting the ball," Barea said. "They're athletic. They're intense. They're trying to get steals. They're doing a good job of that. We just have to take care of the ball."
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have taken advantages. Both pressure the ball on the perimeter and jump passing lanes. And when either gets into the open court, it's lights out.
"They were the best in the league during the season -- No. 1 at converting steals into turnovers," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "In many ways it's turnovers and two points. Steals into points, actually. In many cases, it's just turnovers in general. So we only had six in the first half. It led to 14 points, which is an inordinate number. So it's a good example of the importance of taking care of the ball."