You’d think that I would’ve learned this lesson already after seeing it over and over again.
When the Jets were down 30-7 on Monday Night Football I turned the game off and went to sleep, the Jets won in overtime. When the Giants led the Eagles 31-10 last year I focused on trying to woo my then girlfriend for the rest of the day, I don’t want to talk about the result of that game. Heck, two weeks ago I tuned out when the Dallas Mavericks were down by 15 to the Oklahoma City Thunder and look what happened.
So shame on me for once again thinking that a team had no chance to win a game, when clearly they had more than enough time for to comeback and win. Also, double shame on me for doubting the Mavericks again.
Once again the Mavericks after looking like the lesser team for an extended stretch in the second half of a major playoff game came roaring back to win that same game. This time the Miami Heat were the victims of a 15-point collapse that lead to a 95-93 defeat.
Unlike the OKC meltdown this is really a head scratcher.
First off OKC was a young and inexperienced squad that needed to lose a big game before they could win one. Dwyane Wade has a ring; LeBron James has been to the Finals, Erik Spoelstra one a ring as an assistant. In other words they had the experience advantage to prevent a collapse like this from occurring.
(And oh by the way they just came off of a 92-84 game 1 victory where they completely steamrolled the Mavs in the final 2 quarters and didn’t let up.)
To suddenly forget that killer instinct one game later is absolutely beyond me. How do you go from lockdown defense and stellar late game execution in one game to looking like BYU in the next game? Better question; how do you run up and down the floor and completely demolish a team with your athleticism for two and a half quarters then look like Jimmer Fredette in the last 6 minutes (not a complement)? There were so man off balanced three’s taken by Miami that it stopped being funny. It was as if the Heat just wanted the Mavs to climb back into the game after being taken to the brink.
Which brings us to the Mavs and more importantly Dirk Nowitzki. As the Heat turned game 2 into their own highlight reel I was wondering where is the fight in this team? There was D-Wade and LeBron putting on a clinic and all the Mavs were doing was hanging their heads. It looked like a replay of the 2006 Mavs that cowered when facing a challenge. Once Wade knocked down that three in the corner and just stood there taunting the Mavs with that extended wrist you knew it was over. Then all of a sudden their they were clawing and scratching their way back finally knowing that they had everything to lose.
The key was that Jason Terry finally hit some shots. Through the first 90 minutes of these NBA Finals Terry was abysmal and without him knocking down shots it doesn’t matter what Dirk or anyone does The Mavs wont win. When he started knocking down shots and getting to the line is when the Mavs started roaring back.
Jason Kidd knocked down a three; Shawn Marion chipped in with a layup and turned up the defense on LeBron and forcing him into bad shots. The rebounds came both offensive and defensive as they turned the tide in that battle… then it was Dirk time.
It was clear that the torn ligament in his off hand was affecting him all night as he couldn’t get into a rhythm hitting only 6 of his first 18 shots. However, in the last 3 minutes of regulation Dirk missed nothing. An 18 foot jumper on the wing to close the lead to 2, a layup with that injured off hand to tie the game, a wide open three to give them their first lead since a 51-42 advantage in the first half, and finally after Mario Chalmers hit a corner three to tie the game Dirk took Chris Bosh off of the dribble and into the lane for another layup with his off hand to clinch the game.
As quickly as American Airlines Arena was rocking 6 minutes prior, it was deathly silent save for the Mavericks celebration taking place on the floor.
Imagine how the Heat feel.
To be 6 minutes away from a 2-0 lead and instead you head to one of the loudest arena’s in the league coming off of an historic choke job and momentum clearly against you.
Not to mention now everyone thinks that its back to being the crying Heat, the Heat that couldn’t close earlier in the season, if you’re LeBron James now there’s questions about your late game abilities after this pathetic showing, can Chris Bosh rise to the occasion (4-16 and getting owned by Dirk late), etc, etc.
It’s the worst situation to be in for them and the best to be in if you’re Dallas. Now the series in your favor with 3 straight in your house and a reeling Heat team coming in. Terry has his rhythm, Marion has discovered the fountain of youth and Dirk is… well, Dirk. The ball is literally in their court and the odds are in their favor.
Will the Heat learn from their mistake and brush this failure off of their shoulders? Will the Mavs put take advantage of the Heat’s shortcomings and ride it to victory in Dallas? These questions were made possible thanks to another Mavs comeback, and Heat meltdown.
The most important game besides the clincher comes on Sunday in game 3 when we find out just what each team is made of. If the Mavs take control early and Heat come out cold and shoot a ton of jumpers then the series will belong to Dallas. If Miami shows that this was an aberration and gets back to business in Dallas then the series is theirs.
Just do yourself a favor; whatever happens don’t assume that any game is over. Keep watching.