The momentum for Dallas was building heading into Game Three. They had just completed an improbable comeback in Game Two and got themselves back into the series. Then, the Mavericks came out and laid an egg. Most fans were sure that was the turning point in this series and that the Heat would take control. Well, the Mavericks decided that they weren't going out like that. The Mavericks became the first team this post-season to beat the Miami Heat in back-to-back games after their wins in Game Four and Game Five.
The Heat are now backed into a corner. They've been outplayed in the last two games by a gritty Dallas team that has clearly executed better. For the Heat, the only solace they can take from Dallas is that they don't have to go back there. One of the perks of being the top seed involved in the Finals is home-court advantage. Maybe the Heat crowd will be intense because they realize the moment and the position their team is in. We'll see. The Heat have to find a way to get LeBron James going in the fourth quarter. The Incredible Shrinking man has scored a total of two points in the last two fourth quarters. For the Heat to have a chance, he must become the closer he was against Boston and Chicago. If he doesn't wake up, the Heat will undoubtedly lose this series.
Tyson Chandler has been the most important player for the Mavs. He doesn't score a lot, even though he did reach double-figures in Game 5, but he does bring toughness to this team. Before Chandler got to Dallas, Dallas was known as a soft team. Well, insert Chandler and you have a team that rebounds better and blocks more shots. He, not Dirk Nowitzki, is the MVP of the Mavs team. Even though PG Jason Terry brings much-needed scoring, Chandler limits the Heat's possessions with his boardwork and makes their shots harder with his presence in the back of the Dallas defense. If he brings the type of energy he brought in Games Four and Five, the Mavs will win the series.
These two players will be the players to watch. It should be amazing to see what LeBron does. Does he break out of his funk or does he continue to fizzle out? Only time will tell. Does Chandler continue to wreak havoc on the boards and on defense, or does he disappear in Miami? Should be fun to watch what happens.