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Miami Defeats Dallas In Game 3 Of NBA Finals

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Chris Bosh hit a go-ahead jumper with under 40 seconds left as Miami held on for an 88-86 victory over Dallas to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.

After blowing a 15-point lead in the 4th quarter of Game #2 and watching the Mavericks come back from a 14-point deficit in Game #3, the Heat didn’t blow it when it mattered most on Sunday night.

Here are some of my observations from Game 3.

Dwayne Wade had 29 points on 12 of 21 shooting and 11 rebounds. LeBron James had 17 points and 9 assists.

Rumors of the Heat’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. So much for that game #2 carry over having an effect on them.  They fought off three big Dallas comebacks on Sunday night.

Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images

These Mavs comebacks are nice but eventually they are going to come back to haunt them and they did tonight. Falling down big early on and then clawing back can be tiring.  But doing that over and over again is emotionally exhausting. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said as much in the postgame.

Dirk Nowitzki is  carrying Mavs on his back. He’s a Hall of Famer – no doubt.  He had 34 points and 11 rebounds.  But the other Dallas starters didn’t help. They scored 8 total field goals – for the entire game!  Dirk scored 34 while the rest of the starters had 27.  Nowitzki had 15 of Dallas’ 22 points in 4th quarter. He was 4 of 7 while rest of the team was 3 of 11 in the final stanza.

Give Miami credit for playing great defense.  They played Dirk tough all night long. On the last two possessions, Dirk had a turnover and a 20 foot fallaway jumper at the buzzer. Miami will take that every time. Udonis Haslem was all over him.

Miami’s defense has been solid throughout the postseason.  Dallas came into the NBA Finals averaging 99 points per game in the playoffs.  In the Finals, the Mavs have scored 86, 84 and 95 points.  When you don’t have other guys that can create on their own, that spells trouble for Dallas.

Chris Bosh scored 18 points and had some big plays including the game-winner. He hit some clutch shots.  That was a great pass by LeBron to get him the ball.  The Heat’s 3 player in the “Big Three” has been taking a beating for being soft but came up huge when it mattered.

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

Let’s be honest though – the foul disparity was laughable. The Heat were called for 27 fouls while Dallas was whistled for 14. The Mavercks were 22 of 27 at the free throw line while Miami was 12 of 15.  LeBron got killed by Shawn Marion at the end of that game and nothing was called?  Really? Please don’t moan about Miami getting breaks with refs – Dallas had more than enough calls go there way in Game #3.

In the end, the Heat are more talented than Dallas. I’m sticking with my prediction that the Heat will win this series in 5 games. They’ve just got too many weapons. If it’s a close game, Miami has 3 guys that can win it while Dallas has one.

Again, it’s all about the NBA Theory of Sinkativity: you need a Hall of Famer and 2 All-stars to win an NBA Championship and Dallas has a Hall of Famer and a bunch of role players.

Since the 2-3-2 playoff format started in 1985, the Game #3 winner has won the championship all 11 times the finals were tied.  And I don’t see that pattern changing here in 2011.

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