Just when it looked like the Miami Heat were going to steam-roll the Dallas Mavericks in game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, that’s when Dirk Nowitzki and the veteran players of the Mavs made a statement by completing one of the greatest fourth quarter comebacks in NBA Finals history.
Leading by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, Wade, James and the Heat looked unbeatable. Dallas was being overwhelmed by both the offense onslaught and the defensive pressure the Heat were applying. The Mavs couldn’t stop turning the ball over and the game was turning into a highlight show for James and Wade.
Suddenly, with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, something clicked in the Mavs. The Heat began taking bad shots and the Mavs started playing serious defense. Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion started absolutely balling and in less than three minutes the Mavs had tied the game.
Nowitzki carried the Mavs down the stretch scoring nine straight points, he would finish the night with just 24 points on 10-22 shooting, but he scored when the Mavs needed him the most. Nowitzki capped the comeback with a left handed lay-up on an isolation to put Dallas on top 95-93 with just seconds to play.
Wade’s attempt at game winning three went long and all of a sudden, we have ourselves a series.
Despite being dominated for much of the two games in Miami, the Mavs will head home having accomplished their mission of getting a split in Miami.
Moving forward the Mavs will hope to get more production from their bench and their role players. But the way Miami s defending the Mavs, it looks like they are going to force Nowitzki to beat them. Terry has been blanketed by James and Wade has shut Kidd down. Marion remains the only consistent scoring option for the Mavs and their bench has been non-existent.
As for the Heat, they simply gave game 2 away. Credit the Mavs for another superb comeback, but the Heat turned the ball over carelessly, stopped playing defense and gave up open shots, and took terrible shots on offense to allow the Mavericks back into the game. Wade and James had spectacular games but failed to get everyone else involved.
NBA fans are getting what they wanted, a competitive NBA Finals with explosive teams. The Mavs now have a golden opportunity to take a strangle hold on this series with three games in Dallas.
Game 3 will be played on Sunday 5 June 2011.