If we were grading by halves, Wade would get a "D" for the first half (seven points on 3-of-10 shooting) and an "A" for the second. Wade scored 15 points in the final 24 minutes, and he came up with two key blocks in the fourth quarter. He led Miami in rebounds and assists.
Joel Anthony, C
18 min., 0 points (0-1 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 block
This is one game he'd probably prefer to forget: Anthony went scoreless and was posterized by Tyson Chandler.
Offensively, James was good. Defensively, he was better. After spending the conference finals chasing Derrick Rose around, James got to guard Jason Terry, who struggled with his shot all night. James is a brilliant two-way player, which he showcased again on Tuesday night.
The final line -- particularly the 5-of-18 shooting -- isn't staggering. But Bosh came up with key buckets in the first half (13 points) to keep the Mavericks from pulling away. His shot went south on him in the second half, but Bosh was part of the collective effort that kept Dirk Nowitzki working in the post all night.
Chalmers was brilliant in the first half, particularly the second quarter, when he scored 10 of his 12 points. He didn't shoot particularly well in the second half, but his presence on the floor got Dallas' attention. Udonis Haslem didn't start, but he was Miami's de facto center for most of the game, picking up a couple of important buckets in the fourth and forcing Nowitzki to make catches well off his usual spots. Juwan Howard was solid in spot duty, pulling down a few boards and sinking a couple of free throws in limited action, and Mike Miller was a factor with two three-pointers and five rebounds.
Erik Spoelstra, Head Coach
Spoelstra did what Oklahoma City was afraid to do: double-team Dirk Nowitzki. The strategy worked, as the aggressive Miami defense was able to recover quickly enough to make things difficult on Dallas' shooters. Spoelstra didn't waste time with the struggling Anthony and Bibby, going right to Haslem and Chalmers at the first sign of trouble.
Looks like Miami is going to leave Kidd open a lot this series. Kidd looked poised to make the Heat pay for that strategy early, knocking down a couple of three-pointers. But he vanished in the second half and was late to close out on a Wade fourth quarter three-pointer.
Stevenson didn't get a lot of time, but he made the most of what he got. He canned two threes and played his usual physical brand of defense. Coach Rick Carlisle stuck with the struggling Jason Terry at the two-guard spot most of the game, limiting Stevenson's chances.
Four rebounds? Dallas needs more than that from Chandler, who has been the team's defensive anchor this season. He did a solid job pestering Bosh (28 percent from the floor) most of the night, but early foul trouble kept Chandler in and out of the lineup. He bears some responsibility for Miami's 16 offensive rebounds.
Marion quietly produced a pretty good game. He battled through a tough first quarter (zero points, 0-for-2 shooting) and caught a nice rhythm in the second half. He rebounded well and was physical with Wade and James when he needed to be.
Nowitzki also survived a tough first quarter (four points, 1-of-3 shooting) to put together a solid game. Miami's swarming defense often forced Nowitzki off his spots, but he was aggressive taking the ball to the hole, getting to the free throw line and coming up with key baskets in the fourth quarter (10 points). How a torn tendon in his left middle finger affects him the rest of the series remains to be seen.
Super sixth man Terry was blanked in the second half and finished with 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Peja Stojakovic missed all three of his three-point attempts -- two of which were wide open. And J.J. Barea (1-of-8 from the field) looked gun-shy going into the paint, often contorting his body in awkward angles before shooting. The best of the bench was Brendan Haywood. He was a presence in the middle (three blocks), made himself a target in the paint and got to the free-throw line.
Rick Carlisle, Head Coach
It's not necessarily Carlisle's fault that Barea and Terry were off. But Carlisle has to be prepared for Miami to use James as a defensive missile and find ways to get Terry more than three shots in the second half. Carlisle probably should have gone back to Kidd a little earlier in the fourth, especially with Barea shooting Dallas out of the game. He may have stuck a little too long with the zone, which contributed to Miami's racking up those 16 offensive boards.
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