Dallas and Miami opened the 2011 NBA Finals on Tuesday and after one quarter, the Mavs led 17-16. It was the lowest-scoring Game 1 first quarter of any NBA Finals in the shot clock era. It also tied as the fourth-lowest total for any Finals quarter since 1955. Dallas would lead 44-43 at the half and then score the first seven points of the second half to open a 51-43 advantage. However, the Heat would outscore the Mavs 22-10 over the remainder of the third quarter, with LBJ’s three-pointer at the buzzer giving Miami a 65-61 lead entering the final period. Miami would win the fourth quarter 27-23 and the game, 92-84. After averaging 105.2 PPG over five games while eliminating the Thunder in the Western Conference finals, the Mavs shot a postseason-low 37.3 percent. The 84 points were just two more than the team’s worst playoff effort this year, when the Mavs blew a 23-point lead in losing Game 4 of their first round series to the Blazers, 84-82.
Miami’s celebrated “Big 3” came through once again, as LBJ led with 24-9-5, Wade had 22-10-6 and Bosh chipped in 19 & 9. The team’s other two starters, Anthony and Bibby, did not score in a combined 32 minutes but reserves Chalmers (12), Haslem (7 & 6) and Miller (6 & 5) combined for 27 points, outscoring the Dallas bench by 10 points. It marks just the 8th time all season (over 98 regular and postseason games) in which Miami’s bench outscored its counterparts and the 10-point margin represents a season-high. While the Bosh, James and Wade trio again accounted for 71 percent of the Heat’s points, Miami’s team D was again a huge part of the story. Miami’s defense has been quite impressive, as only once in the last eight games have the Heat allowed an opponent to score more than 89 points without going into overtime (lone exception was Game 1 of the Chicago series).
Dirk had a ‘quiet’ 27 points, as he made a modest 7-of-18 FGs (was 12-of-12 from the FT line). Marion had 16 & 10 but the rest of the starters and particularly the team’s reserves, played way under par. The Dallas bench entered the Finals averaging 39.4 PPG (21.3 PPG more than Miami’s average of 18.1), but got outscored 27-17. Terry accounted for 12 of the 17 points but made just 3-of-10 FGs. The rest of the group added only five points and the unit which entered the game shooting 45.8 percent this postseason, combined to go 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from the floor. Don’t tell me it was just bad shooting. To add insult to injury, Dirk tore the tendon on the middle finger of his left hand and he may have to wear a splint the rest of the series.
The Dallas loss ended the team’s five-game road winning streak this postseason and dropped the Mavs to 12-4 overall and 13-3 ATS. The Miami win ups the Heat’s postseason home record this year to 9-0 and 7-2 ATS while allowing 95 or fewer points in each game. Home teams are now 52-24 (.684) this postseason, going 36-37-3 ATS. Over/Under bettors have seen 37 overs and 39 unders through 76 postseason games in 2011 while “Zig-Zaggers” are 28-30-3 ATS (minus-5.0 net games), all but ensuring a SEVENTH straight losing postseason ATS (last winning year was 2005, when it went 37-31-1 ATS). Thursday’s play would be on Dallas. Game 2 is set for 9:00 ET on ABC with the Heat favored by 4 1/2 points and a total of 186 1/2.