Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Heat bench provide Game 1 boost
By ESPN Stats & Info
Another home game, another strong defensive effort as the Miami Heat held the Dallas Mavericks to their worst shooting performance this postseason in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Heat are now 9-0 at home this postseason and have held their opponents under 95 points in each contest, just the fourth team to open a postseason with such a streak in NBA history.
After Dallas opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take their largest lead of the game, it was all Heat from there as they outscored the Mavericks 49-to-33 the rest of the way.
While Miami's stars came to play -- LeBron James (24 points, 9 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (22, 10) and Chris Bosh (19 and 9) -- it truly was a team effort that gave it a 1-0 series lead.
The Heat bench came up huge as they outscored a Mavericks bench, which came in heavily favored in the series, by 10 points, including a 14-3 advantage in the second half.
The Mavericks bench entered Tuesday averaging more than 39 points per game this postseason while shooting an efficient 45.8 percent from the field.
They managed just 17 points in Game 1, shooting a combined 4-for-22 from the field, including just one made basket from inside the 3-point line.
In addition to bench play, Miami also won the offensive rebound battle 16-6 over the Mavericks. The 16 offensive rebounds were the second most the Heat have gotten in any game this postseason and fourth time they have gotten 15 or more offensive rebounds. Not surprisingly they are 4-0 in those contests.
This was also the second most offensive rebounds allowed by the Mavericks in any game this postseason. While it didn't necessarily lead to an advantage in second chance points -- Mavericks actually outscored Heat 16-15 in that department -- it did lead to the Heat taking 13 more shots. In a game in which both teams shot under 40 percent, the extra field goal attempts were huge.
Expect this trend to continue as this is the 11th time in 16 games that the Mavericks have lost the battle on the offensive boards. Surprisingly though, in the previous 10 such games they won.
One of the other takeaways from Game 1 for the Mavericks will be how to get Dirk Nowitzki in the best position to score. While Nowitzki finished with 27 points, he struggled when the Heat sent double-teams.
The Heat doubled Dirk on over one-third of his touches (13 of 35). He was 6-for-12 from the field in Game 1 when single-covered, but just 1-for-6 when Miami provided help.