While it was a close game throughout one gets the disquieting feeling that the Miami Heat were merely playing with their food. If the Dallas Mavericks managed to hit a few baskets in a row while getting a few stops, the Heat would reel them back within minutes.
And while the Mavericks shot more free throws than the Heat, it seems that Dirk Nowitzki can be bludgeoned with blunt instruments before a foul is called while Dwayne Wade gets to the line after a dirty look.
But for all the perceptions, the fact is that the Mavericks were close when it counted. To beat the Heat they’ll need 10 more points from Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic and another 10 rebounds from Tyson Chandler. The Dallas bench cannot continue in their scoring slump and expect to play more than four games against the Heat. Likewise, they cannot allow 16 offensive boards. Yes, it may be obvious, but bench scoring and rebounding will make all the difference.
Game two is Thursday @ 8 pm CDT.