10. June 2011 01:09
That's the score of the 24-minute composite representing the last six minutes...of the last four games in the NBA Finals. The equivalent of "one half" of a basketball game, but spread out over THE MOST IMPORTANT MINUTES of four different encounters.
LAST SIX MINUTES
Game Two: Dallas 20, Miami 5
Game Three: Dallas 12, Miami 7
Game Four: Dallas 11, Miami 5
Game Five: Dallas 17, Miami 9
Total: Dallas 60, Miami 26
If one of these teams had won an actual half by a score like that, the world would stand in awe. The leader would be celebrated for its dominance. The loser, humiliated (at least temporarily).
Have we ever even seen anything like that in the NBA playoffs in just a normal half? There have surely been blowouts. We've even seen trailing teams take the night off to save themselves for the next game. A 60-26 half? Sixty against what's considered by most accounts to be a great defense? Twenty-six, from what's supposed to be one of the most talented threesomes of scorers every assembled?
But, this isn't just a half. This is a composite of the most important minutes. From four games played in a row. Involving the same teams. The same sets of stars and role players. The same coaches.
It boggles the mind!
Miami did win the last six minutes of the series opener 17-15 in their 92-84 victory. So, it hasn't been a sweep of the clutch minutes for Dallas. But, Miami's win was only by two points. Dallas had wins of 15, 5, 6, and 8. The 30-minute composite score for the full series is Dallas 75, Miami 43. Still mind boggling.
Here are the full-game numbers for tonight...
DALLAS 112, MIAMI 103
2-point pct: Miami 58%, Dallas 52%
Three-pointers: Miami 8/20, Dallas 13/19
Free Throws: Miami 21/26, Dallas 21/27
Rebounds: Miami 36, Dallas 26
Turnovers: Miami 16, Dallas 11
1's and 2's: Miami 79, Dallas 73
Both teams shot extremely well. We've seen each do that earlier in the playoffs. It hadn't happened yet in this series though. Even when Miami and Dallas combined for a stellar 20 of 46 on three-pointers in the series opener, we still only had 176 total points in the game because both struggled inside they arc. Tonight they were 21 of 39 on treys, and very successful on dueces too. This is the first time vs. Miami that Dallas has been able to win treys by a meaningful margin...which led to it being their first win by more than 2-3 points.
We're pretty deep in the series now. It's easy to forget how many times Miami was moments away from virtually wrapping it up.
*They were on the verge of a series rout with a huge fourth quarter lead in Game Two...
*They were on the verge of a 3-1 series lead in the fourth quarter this past Tuesday. And, if they're up 3-1 the series is over because Miami still had two home games up their sleeve if needed.
*They were on the verge of a 3-2 series lead tonight...which also would have been a near clincher with Dallas having to sweep on the road.
And, yet...ANOTHER fourth quarter debacle has them returning to South Beach in unfamiliar terrority. For the first time this year, the Miami Heat will be playing with THEIR backs to the wall!
Worse, they'll be in that position knowing they still haven't solved the riddle of Dirk Nowitzki yet. Though Dirk wasn't a dominant go-to force in the final minutes tonight the way he had been in prior games, he still had a strong plus/minus of +14 on the evening. Let's update that stat we've been monitoring for awhile now.
Plus/Minuses from the Dallas perspective:
Game One: -2 with Dirk, -6 without
Game Two: +13 with Dirk, -11 without
Game Three: +12 with Dirk, -14 without
Game Four: +7 with Dirk, -4 without
Game Five: +14 with Dirk, -5 without
Total: +44 with Dirk, -40 without
Game Four certainly might have had a bigger plus if the big German wasn't battling a sinus infection and a fever of 102. Can Miami shut down, or at least contain a healthy Nowitzki TWICE in the next two games?
It's a late night. Planning to pop back late Friday evening with additional notes...hopefully supplementing the next-day coverage you'll be reading at your favorite sports news sites Friday morning and afternoon. Will talk more about LeBron James at that time. He managed to both be more aggressive tonight (triple double and 21 shot attempts) while also disappearing again in the fourth quarter! Will take extra time to get closer to solving that riddle. As commenter huevonkiller noted Thursday afternoon, and Magic Johnson said tonight in the postgame show, fatigue looks to be a significant factor.
See you again by midnight Friday. The next game day report will be late Sunday after Game Six is played in Miami. Thanks to all of you who have been visiting regularly throughout the playoffs for your continued interested and support.