The pressure was on the Heat. They blew a fifteen point lead in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and some thought that signaled the Miami Heat of November were about to make an appearance in the playoffs. Well, it looks like the Miami Heat learned from their mistakes of last game with an 88-86 win over the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas. A few things stood out to be the difference in Miami finishing this game.
The Miami Heat haven't had the best bench production this season. Well, this game, backup PG Mario Chalmers decided he was going to show up for Game 3. He hit four huge three-pointers to offset the production of Mavericks' supersub Jason Terry. Chalmers has outplayed Mike Bibby this series and has given the Heat what they needed: outside shooting.
Who can remember the barrage of three's the Heat shot last game? I can. They attempted 30 three-pointers last game. Well, this game, they attempted only 19 three's, which is more within what they do. Whenever the Heat shoot a ton of three's, the percentages of them winning aren't very good. The Heat are a slashing team and they just need a dash of three-point shooting, not a hearty helping of it.
Game 2 ended on a Dirk Nowitzki drive to the basket around Heat PF Chris Bosh. I, like a lot of sports fans, was wondering why Heat PF Udonis Haslem was not guarding him. Well, this game, the Heat didn't make the same mistake. Haslem played Dirk tough and forced Dirk into tough shots and a turnover down the stretch. Haslem is the Heat's best one-on-one post defender and he should be the one guarding Dirk down the stretch. In no way should Bosh ever guard Dirk because he can't guard him. He's not physical enough to bother Dirk and apparently he's not quick enough either as evidenced by Dirk going around him so easily in Game 2.
The game was tight going into the fourth quarter. Dwyane Wade was sizzling. Last game, the Heat chose to go to LeBron to close it out even with Wade in the zone, but this game they rode the hot hand of Heat G Dwyane Wade and it paid dividends. Wade played inspired basketball. He was attacking the rim, blocking shots and rebounding the ball inside amongst the big guys. He hit clutch jumper after clutch jumper on his way to seven fourth quarter points and 29 points for the game.
The Heat have continued to prove time and time again that they are a mentally tough squad and this game was no different. The crowd was hostile. The Mavs were playing them very physical. But instead of the Heat backing down, they stepped up and answered the bell.