Shaq said it best: “I think this is our first almost-good game.” My sentiments exactly.

After a good 1st quarter in Game 1, the Heat played ten horrible quarters in a row, but beginning with a strong 4th quarter in Game 3, they are now on a five-quarter winning streak. But even though Dallas has outplayed Miami 10 to 6 in terms of quarters, the bottom line is that the series is tied at two games apiece with a best of three remaining for the NBA championship. We’re starting over now.

As much as I’d like to promote basketball strategy as rocket science, it just isn’t that hard. It is probably more complex than some people expect it to be, but in the end it comes down to a few simple things: (a) there are two sides of the court, offense and defense, and (b) there are three important areas on each of those ends: match-ups, intensity, and execution.

When two teams play for the NBA championship, intensity on both ends of the floor should be a wash, although for most of this series, Dallas has wanted to win more than Miami. That seemed to change somewhat last night.

When it comes to match-ups, Miami has what should be a big advantage. With a huge presence in the post, a Jordan-esque guard, and spot-up shooters on the offensive end, the undersized Mavericks shouldn’t have an answer. And although Nowitski is a wonderful freak of nature on the other end of the court… (a) Dallas has no inside game, (b) penetrating to the basket has the unfortunate mountain of Shaq to deal with, so (c) their only strength is on the perimeter. (I learned my senior year in high school, if that’s all you got, you aren’t going to win very much.)

So it should come down to execution. If Miami executes (and plays like they care), they should win.

Last night’s Game 4 pretty much showed this. Miami still allowed Dallas too many open 3-point shots (twenty-two!). Miami still had far too many careless turnovers (eighteen!). Their intensity and execution still wasn’t what it ought to be to win a championship.

But, as Shaq said, it was their first “almost-good” game.

If they can get their act together, the series is now theirs for the taking.


2 Responses to “FINAL(S) ANALYSIS (or, FINAL-ly)”

  1. Al Sturgeon Says:

    What a game last night!!!

    I’m still sticking with my analysis, though Miami is still trying their best to lose. With that many missed free throws and turnovers, it is amazing they are up 3-2. We’ll see what happens in Texas.

  2. juvenal_urbino Says:

    I’m chuckling at the analysts. For the first two games, they were tripping over each to get the chance to say how brilliant it was of Dallas to double-team Shaq with 2 big men. The last 3 games, they’re apoplectic over the fact that Dallas hasn’t been doubling Dwayne Wade.

    Clearly, Dallas’s real problem is their unaccountable reluctance to go to the triangle-and-four defense, known to Bill Walton as the “octagon” defense. (He was at a Dead concert the day they taught odd numbers at UCLA.)

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