SPORTS / DEPORTES: MAVS vs. HEAT in Game 1 of the NBA Finals
May 31, 2011 Leave a comment
MATCHUPS: MAVS favored over HEAT at more positions
A position-by-position look at the matchups in the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks:
CENTER: Joel Anthony vs. Tyson Chandler. Chandler receives plenty of credit for giving the Mavericks an interior defensive presence they long lacked, and he can score some, too: He had 14 points and 17 rebounds in a Nov. 27 victory over Miami. Anthony can give the Heat a boost with a timely offensive rebound or blocked shot, but he provides next to nothing offensively. Miami’s best lineup probably has Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem playing together up front. Edge: Mavericks.
POWER FORWARD: Chris Bosh vs. Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki is having as good a postseason as anyone, scoring 28.4 points per game and shooting nearly 52 percent from the field. He had two 40-point games in the Western Conference finals and now has the chance to make amends for a low point in his career, when he shot only 39 percent in the Mavs’ six-game loss to Miami in 2006. Bosh occasionally found it tough understanding his role as the No. 3 behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade but has it figured out now. He’s coming off an excellent East finals, averaging 23.2 points to earn a shot against his hometown team. Edge: Mavericks.
SMALL FORWARD: LeBron James vs. Shawn Marion. Quickly swept aside in his lone finals appearance, James has done everything it takes to give himself another shot, from clutch 3-pointers to timely defensive stops against the opponents’ top offensive player. The Heat know that if they keep it close, James can win it for him. The versatile Marion’s insertion into the starting lineup allowed the Mavericks to overcome the season-ending loss of Caron Butler in January, and he even delivered 26 points in the series-clinching victory over Oklahoma City in the last round. Edge: Heat.
SHOOTING GUARD: Dwyane Wade vs. DeShawn Stevenson. Wade wrecked Dallas’ first finals appearance, averaging 34.7 points and winning MVP honors as the Heat rallied from 2-0 down to win the series. He scored 42, 36, 43 and 36 points in the final four games. As unpopular as “The Decision” might have made James, Wade could hear the loudest boos when the series shifts to Texas. Stevenson is a good defender and will hit an occasional 3-pointer, but the Mavericks will have one of their reserves in here when they need to get anything done offensively. Edge: Heat.
POINT GUARD: Mike Bibby vs. Jason Kidd. Nearly was the point guard matchup in the 2002 finals, but Bibby’s Sacramento Kings lost Game 7 of the West finals to a Lakers team that went on to sweep Kidd’s New Jersey Nets. Bibby rarely has been a factor since joining the Heat during the season and lacks the speed to take advantage of the 38-year-old Kidd, who has perhaps lost a step on offense but has played terrific defense to give himself a third attempt at a ring. He has guarded Kobe Bryant and the much-taller Kevin Durant at times, and might get a crack at Wade in big spots in this series. Edge: Mavericks.
RESERVES: Mario Chalmers , Mike Miller , Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwan Howard vs. Jason Terry , J.J. Barea, Peja Stojakovic and Brendan Haywood. With Miller and Haslem healthy after battling injuries most of the season, the Heat can put their best possible lineup on the floor at the most important time. Haslem defended Nowitzki well in 2006 and will get opportunities again. But the Mavericks can surround their All-Star with plenty of perimeter shooting off their bench by going to Terry or Stojakovic, and Barea’s penetration is a good change of pace from Kidd. Haywood provides a solid backup in the middle to Chandler. Edge: Mavericks.
COACHES: Erik Spoelstra vs. Rick Carlisle. Few coaches had tougher jobs than Spoelstra, who many thought wouldn’t be around at the finish even if the Heat were. But team president Pat Riley believes in him and so do the Heat’s superstars, whom Spoelstra built into one of the league’s best defensive squads. Carlisle brought a similar defensive-minded approach to a team that was previously offense first, and his calm demeanor here will be an upgrade over Avery Johnson, who lost his cool while the Mavs were losing control of the series five years ago. Edge: Even.
(By BRIAN MAHONEY,AP Basketball Writer)
If you’re a basketball fan, I hope you enjoy watching the NBA Finals! 🙂