Dirk Gave It All He Could But Wade And The Heat Pull Out NBA Finals Game 3 Win 88-86

Wade’s 29 points and 11 rebounds sparked the Heat…

Miami holds on and defeats Dallas in Game 3 88-86.  The winner of Game 3 when Finals is tied 1-1 in 2-3-2 format is 11-0. Game 4 Tuesday at 9 on ABC.

Wade in Game 3 during his playoff career is 6-0. James is 5-1 when his team is tied 1-1.

A champion is made by doing whatever it takes to secure the win and judging by Dwyane Wade’s performance in Game 3 another ring is just over the horizon for the Miami Heat. One of the many criticisms of the South Beach contingent was James and Wade played the same position and would be out of synch as they learned how to play together this season.

This is a misnomer. LeBron James is a point guard in a power forward’s body. His ability must be respected and his very refined attributes allow Wade…the off guard..to roam as free as possible and turn on the scoring when Miami needs it.

Bosh is a jumper shooter at the 4 so there really isn’t any congestion amongst the three stars at any time during the game.

With Boston and Los Angeles both faltering for whatever reason, Miami became the most talented playoff team remaining and now sit two wins away from winning the NBA title the same year as the much criticized ESPN Decision.

LeBron James knew teaming up with Wade and Chris Bosh would give him the best chance to win a championship. No one can do it alone and as we are witnessing with Dirk Nowitzki, that fact has never been more evident. Miami has choices late and Wade seems to be the 4th quarter force in these Finals. When it’s money time Miami simply has more talented players than Dallas.

Miami never had a true stranglehold during Game 3 given the Mavs scoring ability but what separates these teams in particular is how they play defense. Wade, Anthony, Haslem and James are fighting, scratching and clawing defensively when it matters most. Haslem is so big a player for this Heat squad and as many have said on this site and elsewhere, the playoff addition of Miller and Haslem might be as big a reason as any other why the Heat might win it all.

Chalmers scored 12 points because he’s left open when Dallas goes to a zone. He doesn’t have to run the show. He simply has to get to his spot and hit shots. His half court heave to beat the 1st quarter buzzer could be seen as the game winner.

The game was looking like a blowout in the 2nd quarter after a Heat 12-0 run pushed the lead to 34-22. Wade was having none of it and at times during the game made blocks, steals, went down low to get rebounds…again…to do whatever it took to spark his team.

Miami is putting the pressure on Dallas to fight from behind every game and it remains to be seen if Dallas can shoot the lights out late after the Heat suffer necessary offensive breakdowns to win a championship.

LeBron was cool with running the team and hitting the open man. I thought he would put up a monster triple double but his 17 points and 9 assists despite being unspectacular were enough in support of Wade to get the victory. James is averaging three points during the 4th quarter in the Finals but still, the Heat are up 2-1.

Don’t get it messed up and erroneously state LeBron is not a closer. His focus is running the team and playing defense.

How unselfish is that?

I also incorrectly thought the Heat would win 111-100 because I thought the hometown Mavs would get out on the break…being they are home…and bench players (in any sport) play better after sleeping in their own beds. The crowd seemed nervous and weren’t as loud as they have been in the past big affairs.

Dirk, who had 34, 11 rips and 3 blocks, scored 15 of the Mavs last 22 and was unstoppable. Everyone knew where the ball was going with the game on the line and Udonis Haslem bodied up to make sure Nowitzki’s last shot attempt was contested. Just as any superstar in the league Nowitzki scores at will and when he misses it’s almost a shock. He did also have a huge turnover late (Miami sent three players his way) and messed up on a pick and roll that allowed Chris Bosh to hit the game winner (18 points in his hometown).

Dallas had a rebounding edge 42-36 and outscored Miami’s bench 25-22 but were pummeled down low 40-22 on the scoreboard.

It appears Miami is still settling for jump shots which allow Dallas to get back in the game because Dallas is the better shooting team. They were down 14 in the first half but went on a 11-2 run the rest of the 2nd quarter to cut the deficit to 5 at the break.

This is Miami’s series to lose if they stick to the script and attack the basket.

The difference in this series is LeBron has Wade and Dirk does not. Simple as that. Dirk has to score 30 and LeBron does not. If Dallas does not get out to an early Game 4 lead which would allow their crowd to become a factor this series is over in 5.

Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
L. James F 45:15 6-14 4-4 1-4 +1 0 3 9 0 2 4 3 17
C. Bosh F 37:29 7-18 4-5 0-0 -10 1 3 1 0 0 2 4 18
J. Anthony C 23:05 1-4 0-0 0-0 +3 4 6 1 2 1 0 2 2
D. Wade G 38:38 12-21 3-4 2-4 -1 3 11 3 1 1 0 3 29
M. Bibby G 19:07 1-5 0-0 1-4 -4 0 2 1 1 1 1 4 3
M. Chalmers 28:50 4-8 0-0 4-6 +6 0 4 2 0 0 1 3 12
U. Haslem 29:01 3-7 0-0 0-0 +5 1 4 1 1 1 1 4 6
M. Miller 12:10 0-1 0-0 0-1 +4 0 2 1 0 2 1 3 0
J. Howard 6:25 0-0 1-2 0-0 +6 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
Z. Ilgauskas DNP — INACTIVE
J. Magloire DNP — INACTIVE
Totals 240 34-78
9 36 20 5 8 10 27 88
Player Pos Min FGM-FGA FTM-FTA 3PM-3PA +/- OR Reb A Blk Stl TO PF Pts
S. Marion F 43:08 4-12 2-2 0-1 -1 2 4 3 1 0 2 2 10
D. Nowitzki F 41:58 11-21 9-9 3-5 +12 1 11 1 3 1 3 1 34
T. Chandler C 40:00 1-4 3-4 0-0 +4 7 11 0 3 1 0 2 5
J. Kidd G 35:27 3-8 1-2 2-5 +5 1 6 10 1 0 4 2 9
D. Stevenson G 14:12 1-1 0-0 1-1 -7 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 3
J. Terry 32:03 5-13 4-6 1-3 -6 0 3 2 0 1 0 0 15
J. Barea 19:02 2-8 1-2 1-5 +3 0 2 1 0 0 4 1 6
I. Mahinmi 8:00 0-1 2-2 0-0 -6 1 1 0 0 0 0 5 2
P. Stojakovic 6:04 1-2 0-0 0-1 -11 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 2
B. Cardinal 0:07 0-0 0-0 0-0 -3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 240 28-70
12 42 18 8 3 14 14 86


Officials: Dan Crawford, Scott Foster, Derrick Stafford
Attendance: 20,340
Time of Game: 2:40

12 Responses to “Dirk Gave It All He Could But Wade And The Heat Pull Out NBA Finals Game 3 Win 88-86”

  1. GrandNubian says:

    I said after game 2 that Miami seems to play better when the game is close, instead of having a big lead. D-Wade wanted it more than Dallas and his teammates followed his lead. I thought Chalmers was huge from the bench last night and Haslem did what he had to do on Dirk on that final possession. Miami would probably want Haslem to guard Dirk more as opposed to Bosh, who leaves too much space for Dirk to get off a shot.

    Maybe it’s just me, but Dallas definitely had the refs in their “pockets” with a lot of those calls last night (especially in the 2nd half). Miami was actually playing against Dallas AND the refs. But they kept their composure, weathered the storm and came away with the win.

    And wouldn’t you know….Sportstalk radio has now reverted back to saying that Lebron is not a closer (and perhaps not a “Superstar”), due to his recent struggles in the Finals during the 4th QTR. While they have a legitimate argument on his struggles, let’s not get insane into thinking he’s not a “Superstar”. I guess they have to keep up the “Heat” hating, especially since they won last night.

  2. Mizzo says:

    Oh it was obvious about the refs and I’m shocked…stunned a foul wasn’t called on the last possession or the previous when Dirk threw the ball out of bounds. I included the part about player responsibilities just so people know this ain’t no one man Miami show.

    That is patently obvious and if folks ever transform their disdain to something more apathetic they’ll be able to see what the truth is…a truth they obviously can’t handle.

  3. GrandNubian says:

    Yep, I definitely agree. Well said….

  4. Mizzo says:

    According to Detroit News and former TSF writer Vinnie Goodwill Zeke could be in line for Pistons job.

  5. Temple3 says:

    Third in line…is that a subterfuge or what? I like Zeke, but that ain’t a good look for the Peace-tones.

  6. Temple3 says:

    I would actually say the difference in the series is that Wade has LeBron and Dirk does not. Wade and Dirk are essentially taking on the role of dominant scorer. Dirk outscored Wade in Game 3 (+5), but lost. Wade outscored Dirk in Game 2 (+12), but lost.

    The difference is the overall quality of play in the facilitators. LeBron can simply do more than Kidd and the complement of players behind him. And, frankly, it was LeBron’s poor late game facilitation that cost Miami that win — and a 3-0 series lead.

    I had the thought that the Heat wind up “settling for jumpers” during periods of the game for a couple of reasons: Dallas actually has a good defensive team and it’s simply not possible to drive to the hoop (as the final shot) on every possession. There might be 2 or 3 forays to the hoop that result in great kick-outs and ball reversals, but some will say that the Heat are “settling for jump shots.” That’s simply not always accurate.

    Then there are those times when cats are simply resting and taking a possession off. It happens in every game and to most teams that do not have a PG who demands that plays be run a certain way. The Heat do not feature a post-player through whom they can initiate their offense (even though LeBron could be that guy). The Heat do not feature a PURE point guard with Rondo-like control of the offense (though Chalmers could be that guy in time).

    They have rhythm players who are subject to the ebb and flow of games…and their stars exert a tremendous amount of energy on defense. On Dirk’s late T.O., Wade raced from the corner in a milllisecond to force an errant pass. They are like a swarm of bees and that means you’re not always going to the hoop as the clock winds down. I don’t think it can be done.

    Folks with short memories may invoke Michael Jordan and others, but I have vivid recollections (and the box scores to match) which show that MJ and Kobe and so many others had “high volume” games against quality opponents — and they often took lots of jumpers. MJ was never a huge fan of the 3 (save for that Portland game), but when the middle was closed for business against Detroit or Indiana — and he still had to play D, he did what these guys are doing — he picked his spots.

    And, he trusted his teammates (eventually). Mario Chalmers is Steve Kerr with a floor game, hops and wheels — this week. He’s the new Paxson, the Baby Fish ——- if they win here and again and again and again…

  7. eric daniels says:

    Everyone is correct Dallas’s bench did not come through and Lebron and Bosh played robin to Wade’s Batman. If Dirk doesn’t get more help this might be a short series

  8. Origin says:

    @ GN – I wouldn’t expect less from the fools in talk radio this is just an example of moving the goal posts further back when it comes to Lebron. That’s insane when you think about it they called him out for not giving the ball to Wade more in game 2, now in game 3 he facilitates and gets Wade the ball and the media dog him out.

    The refs were trying their best to give this game to Dallas. Yet the bandwagon Mavs fans here in Dallas are still complaining about the refs today. Dirk and the Mavs were given every chance to win that game but still came up short. This is the thing that the Mavs didn’t understand in 2006. The NBA is known to give the weaker team in the finals help when it comes to calls. Its up to the better team to some times over come the calls and handle adversity. This is something that the Heat did last night and the Mavs could not do in 2006.

  9. Origin says:

    Just a few key things in this series.

    1. The Heat’s 2 best players can dominate the game on both ends of the court. The Mav’s 2 best players cannot. The Heat’s 2 best players can guard multiple positions on the floor and Mav’s 2 best players cannot.

    2. The Heat are playing Dirk just like the Bulls played Ewing. Using their wing players quickness and defensive awareness to double team Dirk when he puts the ball on the floor and goes into his offensive move (Whether that is his initial move or counter move). Often the double comes from the blind side and at times creates a turnover.

    3. This is the best defense that the Mavs have faced. No team doubles or rotates as quickly as the Heat and they rarely give up open shots. The Dallas offense is predicated on creating miss matches then exploiting them as the defense scrambles to recover and contest open shooters. Wade and Lebron seem to be at their best on the defensive end when they are rotating and scrambling while shooting into passing lanes and creating havoc. Add to this the fact that Mavs have had to abandon their favorite play………..the pick and roll with Terry and Dirk. Wade and Lebron have all but eliminated the pick and roll from the Mav’s offense when guarding Terry.

    4. Dirk is shooting 39% when Haslem is guarding him and shooting 50% when anyone else is guarding him.

    5. Haywood’s injury leaving him out of game 3. He and Chandler are the reason that Wade and Lebron haven’t been able to get to the rim as often in the series. Chandler, Haywood and Marion are the reason that this team is in the finals. They erase all the defensive mistakes and blown assignments that Dirk, Peja, Terry and the rest of the Mavs make. They cover so much ground and guard multiple positions. In this series Chandler is double teaming Lebron once he gets into the paint while also protecting the rim and taking on 2 to 3 Heat players for defensive and offensive rebounds…….oh and lets not forget guarding Bosh out on the perimeter.

    6. The Heat’s bench players are versatile and have the ability to play both ends of the court. Miller, Haslem and Chalmers all can give you something offensively and on the defensive end. Where as if Terry, Peja, Barea aren’t hitting their shots they really can’t do anything else.

    7. In the previous rounds one of the reasons Barea was able to get into the paint was because of the court being spread out with Peja, Terry and Dirk on the floor. With Peja being designated as useless (with no PT) because of his inability to guard anyone, the court has now shrunk and Barea’s effectiveness has now been neutralized. Add to the fact that Chalmers is constantly attacking him and the refs aren’t giving Barea his normal flop calls on the defensive end. Just like his bench buddy Peja……….Barea has now been rendered useless.

    8. The Mavs fans and Heat Haters celebrated the game 2 victory, but ignored the 2 most glaring concerns that should have come out of that game. Dirk and the Mavs still couldn’t figure out how to handle the Heat’s double teams and eliminating turnovers which were creating a 1991-93 Chicago Bulls highlight reel with Wade/Lebron in the open court. Wade had finally snapped out of his offensive funk……..he struggled against the Bulls because he always struggles against the Bulls. But playing the Heat is something different and brings out the best in Wade.

    9. The Heat seem similar to the old Pistons teams. They ride the hot hand and whichever player has the better match up. In the 2nd round Wade and Lebron had the better matchup against Pierce and Allen. In the ECFs Wade was being contained by Brewer and Keith Bogans. But Lebron and Bosh had the better match up against Deng and Boozer. For the Finals Wade has the better match up vs. Terry and Stevenson.

    10. Wade and Lebron are able to rest on the defensive end because only Terry is making them work on the offensive end.
    In saying all of this the series is still far from over. I believe that the Mavs will win game 4……….now whether they get similar home cooking as they did last night is another thing. But I still see them winning game 4 and the Heat winning games 5 and 6.

  10. Origin says:

    @ Temple – Great comments………..especially on MJ. Jordan mentioned that the reason he went into the lab and worked on his post moves (with Scott Williams) in the 92 & 93 seasons was because he needed to conserve his energy during the season and the playoffs. In the series vs. the Knicks in ’92 & 93 he and Pippen would shoot more jumpers not only to conserve energy but also because the Knicks were physically beating on them and preventing them from getting to the paint. Add to the fact that they weren’t getting calls they normally would get (IMO this is another reason that Wade and Lebron are shooting jumpers this series). When Jordan came back after his first retirement he played even in the post then previous years and took even more jump shots because of the loss of explosiveness and the need to conserve energy to close games late in the 4th quarter.
    I still remember that last game MJ played in 1998 where Zeke (who was an analyst then) kept saying in the second half can MJ conserve his energy for a late push in the 4th quarter to close out game 6 in Utah. Since Pippen’s back went out and he was barely moving on the court.

  11. Temple3 says:


    Great stuff. Thanks for recapping so much of the old Bulls stuff. Great context.

  12. Origin says:

    Thanks brotha Temple. Growing up as a kid during the Bulls run I collected and saved every news paper article and magazine about the Bulls. I remember during the 3 peat season (1993) Mariotti wrote an article in the Sun Times (I think it even had a poll) stating that the Bulls needed to trade Jordan for Mourning and kendell Gill because MJ was 30 years old.

    I tell you what I am so thankful to have grown up watching the NBA in the 80s and 90s….before all this gossip nonsense with Twitter, MSM and Sports talk radio. Lord they would have sworn those Bulls teams were the worst team ever since they only won one Finals series in less than 6 games.

    Could you have imagined how much the media would have dogged that 72 win Bulls team during the Finals when which it took them 6 games to beat the Super Sonics.