Thursday, June 15, 2006
Still giving the Heat a chance
There was good news and bad news in the first NBA playoff game between the Heat and the Mavericks.
The good news was that the Heat came out to play in the first quarter. The bad news was they apparently forgot that there were three quarters left. The Heat’s premier players (Shaq and Wade), didn’t keep the pressure up to the nth degree and allowed the Mavericks to escape the first half with a two-point lead.
They followed my game plan of doubling and tripling Dirk Nowitzki, thereby keeping his scoring output well below his playoff average.
However, someone forgot to realize that Jason Terry was in this same game and ready to make a statement that he had never made before. Terry rode the oak in Atlanta for five years. Suddenly, in his first chance to show his mettle in a game for all the marbles, he didn’t let up. And to add further insult to injury (not unlike the old “Along Came Jones” western movies), Dirk showed up and hit back-to- back treys. That sealed the momentum stopper for the Heat.
Miami knew that they had a follow-up date in Dallas on Sunday and they knew that the Dallas crowd was still insatiable. The pattern was almost the same. A good first quarter and then Dallas took the top off of the volcano near the end of the second quarter. When play resumed after the break, the molten lava of points reached 32, at one juncture amounting to a 27-point lead.
One had the feeling that if all the Mavericks had been wearing blindfolds they still would have hit the basket. And the Mavericks defense was more than stifling. A mosquito flying a Bell X-15 couldn’t have gotten through.
In game one, some Dallas fan held up a sign which read, “Why would you want a Shaq when you could have a (Stack) House?” Why, indeed. Jerry Stackhouse went on a scoring tear and sank a bushel of treys.
Dwyane Wade, after shaking off a rare moment of frustration which drew the ire of officials and a tech, settled down and picked it up for the Heat. But with Shaq hitting only five points it was not nearly enough.
OK. The Mavericks have had their two games. The series now bounces to Miami. I still feel that the Heat will disregard the two- game deficit and tame the Mavericks.
Let’s just hope that that monkey which Mark Cuban spoke of didn’t catch the Heat’s plane.
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