It's been a rough postseason for Bibby, who entered Game 2 shooting 25 percent from the field. But he put up numbers all around that he hadn't seen in months. His 14 points and four three-pointers were his highest totals since March 29, and his four steals were the most he's had since January.
Why was the ball not in Wade's hands in the final seven minutes? He was unguardable for most of the game, starting the night by posting up Jason Kidd for an easy layup, then sweeping past the Mavericks' guards on pick-and-rolls and isolation plays so quickly that their help defense had almost no time to respond. Wade's hot hand might have reshaped the final minutes of the game had he been in position to take more than three shots -- all three-pointers -- in the final 7:14.
Joel Anthony, C
27 min., 0 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 3 blocks
You can't get excited about a starting center who doesn't attempt a single shot in the NBA Finals, though that's Anthony's M.O. Usually, though, he makes up for it by pulling down a few rebounds and blocking shots. Not in this game. While he disrupted several shots, blocking three, he grabbed only one rebound on a night when Miami got crushed on the glass, 41-30. If you aren't taking shots and aren't rebounding, exactly what are you contributing?
James worked hard to fill up his stat line, hitting a series of remarkable shots after drawing hard contact or launching from impossible positions. He finished with another efficient night numbers-wise, but his otherwise solid game was soiled by an ineffective fourth quarter. The only points James scored with the game on the line came on a pair of free throws. He was 0-for-4 in the final period and couldn't get a shot off inside the thee-point line in the final three minutes. James, however, did set up Mario Chalmers for the game-tying three-pointer with 24.5 seconds left with an alert cross-court inbounds pass.
There were three moments when you knew Bosh was on the floor in Game 2: when he flushed Chalmers' miss in the fourth quarter; when he dribbled out of bounds to keep Dallas' rally alive; and when Dirk Nowitzki whipped past him for the winning basket. Bosh had his second straight poor shooting night in the Finals and in his best moments was nearly invisible.
Chalmers hit one of the night's biggest shots (and one of only five made by the Heat in the fourth quarter) to tie the game in the closing seconds. But in the rest of the game, Miami's bench was simply outplayed by Dallas' thin reserve unit.
Erik Spoelstra, Head Coach
Why wasn't the ball in Wade's hands at the end? Were a pair of isolation three-pointers the best shots the Heat could get LeBron? What happened to the team that relentlessly attacked the basket with isolation penetration? Spoelstra did a solid job pushing his team to lock down on the Mavericks defensively late in the second quarter. But the Heat stopped running their offense in the closing minutes and Spoelstra -- who burned his final timeout with 26.7 seconds to play -- didn't help them pull out of the downward spiral.
Kidd showed his age in many moments. He couldn't slow Wade's drives to the rim, and he had as many turnovers as assists. His eight rebounds were key to establishing Dallas' dominance on the boards, and his three-pointer with 3:54 remaining helped finish off the Mavs' rally. But this wasn't the same offensive orchestrator who has impressed so often in these playoffs.
Stevenson isn't expected to take over a game as a starter; he just needs to give solid production until the Mavs can turn it over to Jason Terry. And Stevenson did a good job of that with one of his best games in these playoffs. He tied his postseason highs for points and three-pointers made, and set his playoff high with three steals.
Chandler played a little better in every area than he did in Game 1. He established a physical presence that dramatically turned around Dallas' rebounding struggles, played aggressively around the basket and got to the free-throw line, and his physicality on defense helped keep Miami's post players from getting any consistent production. But he needs to be quicker on defensive rotations and keep Miami from treating the paint like an express lane.
Marion was a beast at every position, whether it was blowing past Bosh for a baseline layup, or facing up on the perimeter and driving. He hit big shots in the third quarter to prevent the game from getting out of hand and pulled down half of his eight rebounds in the fourth quarter. He was nearly as important to this victory as Nowitzki.
So, we can quit talking about the finger, right? Nowitzki was brilliant in the second half after struggling early. He scored Dallas' final nine points (with two left-handed buckets) to leave no question that the torn ligament in the middle finger of that hand is a non-factor. Sure, he had five turnovers, but he had a double-double (15 points and 10 rebounds) in the second half when he rediscovered his form.
Dallas may have to win this series without much help from one of its greatest assets in these playoffs. Almost all of the bench's production came from Terry, who plays the minutes of a starter. J.J. Barea brings a burst of energy off the bench, but he has struggled against Miami's size and athleticism (he was 2-of-7 on Thursday after shooting 1-of-8 in Game 1). Brendan Haywood was ineffective, and Peja Stojakovic remains scoreless in the series. This isn't a group on which the Mavs can lean heavily.
Rick Carlisle, Head Coach
Carlisle couldn't get many things to work in Game 2. The offense sputtered from the end of the second quarter through the middle of the fourth. Perimeter defenders couldn't stop Miami's dribble penetration, and there was no help defense. He tried going ultra-small late in the fourth quarter, and even tried pulling Brian Cardinal out of his bench hibernation. In the end, his switch to the Mavs' grizzled veteran lineup of Nowitzki, Chandler, Marion, Terry and Kidd -- which Carlisle stuck with for the final 7:14 -- made the difference, beating Miami's flash with cool experience.
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