3 UP, 3 DOWN – How the Dallas Mavericks Can Win or Bow Out the NBA Finals

Posted: May 31, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NBA
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Today in the CHEAP SEATS, I’ll be taking a look at both halves of the NBA Finals, which tip off tonight. In this first entry the somewhat improbable run of the Dallas Mavericks will be dissected and how they can either continue their tear or see it come to an end will be broken down three ways.

There’s a lot more to it than just get the ball to Dirk and let him cook. That’s definitely part of it, but from a matchup perspective the Mavericks have to embrace their overall strengths in this series, because on a one-on-one perspective, they don’t have many advantages. This is a veteran squad that has been on a mission, having won eight of their last nine games against the League’s two-time defending champions and then against the most exciting young team in the game. There’s no style they can’t adapt to, and have an all-time great playing the most inspired ball of his career. But is that enough against the best duo the League has seen in years? Here’s how where they can win out, but also where they can also sink their own ship.

3 UP – How the Mavs can take the Ring

1. USE THEIR DEPTH: The Mavs strength is how many different looks they can throw at opponents. There are very few teams that can match them on 12-man depth, let alone the variety that they can throw at each team. Rick Carlisle’s club can put out a full court of shooters, another set of penetrators and even yet still, another combination that is physical intimidators. He has to mix and match all of these different elements together, as well as put them all together at once in order to overload the Heat defense, which doesn’t have the variety to match them all. They can score from everywhere and have a creative offense that can stand up against anybody, use it.

2. DON’T PLAY THEIR GAME: There’s no team that going to beat Miami if they try to outrun them. That’s where the Bulls failed, and it’s exactly what LeBron and Wade will want to make each game into. Where the Heat is most susceptible on both sides of the court is when they have to face a patient team that will move the ball around for the best look. That’s why Jason Kidd will be invaluable in this series; his unparalleled court vision can be a decisive advantage for Dallas being able to keep the ball moving and find their multiple dangerous open court options.

Spreading the court and letting Kidd find one of the many their many outside options presents their best approach.

3. GO AT BOSH: Chris Bosh is target on defense they have to go after. As often as possible, getting him matched up with Dirk, who will have a major advantage with him out on the floor. The more time he spends away from the rim going after Dirk, the more opportunities he has to get Bosh in foul trouble, which would eliminate a major matchup problem on the opposite end of the court for the Mavs as well.

3 DOWN – Where the Mavs Would Meet Their End

1. IF IT’S COLD OUTSIDE: Their biggest advantage is their outside bombing trio of Nowitzki, Peja Stojakovic and Jet Terry, but if they have a night where their open looks aren’t falling they get overtaken quickly. Misses from deep open up chances for Miami to rebound and run, and if they get to running too often they can get ahead on both points and momentum in a hurry. Taking their time and not forcing or over relying on the three is a must.

2. NOT PLAYING SMART MATCHUPS: Can they matchup with LeBron and Wade so that one of them isn’t consistently in a major mismatch in his favor? It’s going to be hard for this club without Caron Butler available. There is no one answer for LeBron James, but in Shawn Marion they at least have a similar athlete that can run and challenge him. The same cannot be said for Wade. There is nobody on the Mavs roster that can give him much of a challenge besides Marion, and he can’t do both jobs at once (Dirk should be kept away from LeBron as much as possible, just let him shoot this round). When they deploy their best offensive squad, Terry and Kidd in the backcourt, they’ll be giving up a lot on the other end of the court, so they’ll have to play nearly flawless offensive ball to be able to afford managing the definite mismatch they’ll have one way or another on the other end.

Dirk should be kept as far away from LeBron when the ball isn't in his hands as possible.

3. GETTING BEATEN DOWN ON THE GLASS: The Heat dominated the glass in the Eastern Conference Finals with their now full strength front court. With Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Illgauskas, Bosh and LeBron attacking the glass, they have plenty of athletic rebounders to capitalize on the many rebound chances that come from a perimeter based club like Dallas. They are no pushovers themselves, and are the best rebounding club around the rim that Miami has played yet, with Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler paired up, but if Kidd, Marion or Dirk can’t get into the mix under the rim, the Heat will overwhelm them in this department.

Stay tuned for what the Heat have to do later this afternoon, as well as who the CHEAP SEATS is taking for the ring and why.

Until then, follow me on Twitter for my NBA rants, roots and smack talk refereeing at @CheapSeatFan and @STLSport360

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