By John Schmeelk
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A few thoughts heading into Game 2 tonight:
- The fact that the Heat are undefeated at home in the playoffs is unbelievable. Miami fans are some of the least intense in the league. They come late, leave early and create an atmosphere that pales in comparison to some of the better venues around.
Despite Miami’s playoff record at home, Dallas doesn’t face an impossible task. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James get far more calls on their home court, but that was not the case in Game 1. You can also ignore the fact that Dallas has lost five straight games in the finals, all to the Heat. It’s a stat that means next to nothing.
- Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd did a nice job of turning back the clock in Game 1. Both did a good job guarding James and Wade when they were called to the task. If they continue to keep both stars out of the paint, Dallas will have a great chance at victory.
- The Mavericks’ bench can’t be outperformed byMiami’s if they want to win a game in this series. JJ Barea has to rekindle his success from earlier in the playoffs, Peja Stojakovic must make open shots, and Jason Terry has to be a consistent threat from the perimeter. The Mavericks need their scoring if they want to win.
At the very least, they can’t be outplayed by the likes of Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, and Mario Chalmers.
- Similarly, Dallas has to win the battle of the boards. Tyson Chandler needs to control the paint defensively and on the glass. He played soft in Game 1. He should be dominating.
- I wouldn’t worry much about Dirk Nowitzki’s bad finger on his left hand. It shouldn’t affect his shooting much — but if it does the series is as good as over. It’s a simple reality, so no reason to fret about it. More so than anything else, Dirk needs to carry the load for Dallas to win, especially on the road.
- I wouldn’t consider this game a must-win for Dallas. They still have a great chance to win the series even if they go back home down two games to none.
- A quick NBA Draft nugget and the Knicks: New York needs to pick the best player available at either the guard or center position. With Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire at forward, whoever the Knicks take at that position would have a minimal impact. The Knicks need to pick an impact player either to help them this year or be a valuable piece of a future trade.
- Finally, we get to see two great teams in the finals, but we are missing out on the best pre and post game show around with TNT not being a part of the coverage. Suffering through Stuart Scott, Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon borders on cruel and unusual punishment.
Can Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson please hijack the show? Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy do a great job calling the games, but Mark Jackson is barely tolerable. I hope he gets a coaching job (even if he doesn’t deserve one) just so I don’t have listen to him anymore.
You can follow me on twitter during the NBA Finals: http://twitter.com/#!/Schmeelk
What’s your prediction for Game 2? Let Schmeelk know in the comments below…