The Heat jumped out to a 14-point lead on the Mavs in the second quarter of Game 3 but the Mavs did close the margin to five points (47-42) at the half. The second half was close most of the way but the Heat did take an 81-74 lead with about 6 1/2 minutes left in the game. However, Dirk would score all of the Mavs’ next 12 points, tying the game at 86-all with 1:40 to go. The game could have gone either way down the stretch, as the Mavs missed a great opportunity to take the lead after LBJ’s 24-second violation but Terry missed the potential go-ahead shot. Bosh made a 16-footer with 39.6 seconds to go, which turned out to be the game-winner.
It had to be a huge confidence boost for Bosh, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting, as he had gone an awful 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) in the first two games of the series. Wade had 29-11-3 to lead the way for Miami (29.0 PPG in the Finals) while LBJ had a ‘quiet’ 17-3-9 (“just” 20.3 PPG in the series). The Heat count on their “Big 3 to get most of their points but all season long, the team’s overall defense (three guys can’t guard five, so everyone’s been involved) has been outstanding. The Mavs entered the Finals averaging 99.7 PPG this postseason but the Heat have held them to 88.3 PPG in the first three games. The Dallas bench entered averaging a postseason-high 39.4 PPG while shooting 45.8 percent but the reserves have been held to just 21.7 PPG on a dreadful 28.8 percent shooting. Terry’s accounted for the bulk of the scoring (14.3 PPG) with Barea being the biggest flop. He’s scored a total of just 11 points in the three games on 5-of-23 shooting (21.7 percent), after averaging 11.4 PPG vs the Lakers and Thunder.
Dallas had expected to be able to count on more than just Dirk but that hasn’t been the case. Dirk scored 15 of the team’s 22 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday, as his teammates combined for just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting (Marion and Terry were scoreless). The Mavs are already ‘dead’ if one looks at the history of the 2-3-2 format, as the Game 3 winner in a tied finals has won the championship all 11 previous times. That being said, the series has not been cancelled. No one should have expected the Mavs to win all three home games (which would have have amounted to a four-game sweep, considering Dallas had won Game 2 in Miami) but clearly the Mavs have to win the next two games. Winning either Game 6 or Game 7 in Miami would be a tough enough task but winning BOTH seems highly improbable.
The Miami win in Dallas on Sunday night drops home teams to 52-26 (.667) this postseason, going 36-39-3 ATS. The Game 3 total stayed under leaving the over/under record at 37 overs and 40 unders and one ‘push’ through 78 postseason games. “Zig-Zaggers” are now 2-0 in the NBA Finals, climbing back to 30-30-3 ATS for the postseason but still minus-3.0 net games, overall. The play tonight would be on Dallas, in a game scheduled for 9:00 ET on ABC with the Mavs favored by three points with a total of 186 1/2.