Ladies and Gentlemen… We have ourselves a series.
Last night the Mavericks did the unthinkable and in the process restored faith to the entire NBA nation outside of Miami. It was a great win coming back from 15 down in the fourth quarter, thanks to a 22-5 run, despite the fact that for the greater majority of the 4th quarter the Mavericks played like crap. Then again a lot of the credit probably has to go to Dwyane Wade and Lebron James. Their little mini celebration of their assumed awesomeness in front of the Mavericks bench appeared to be the catalyst for the comeback. Good job!… idiots.
For those of you that have no clue what I’m talking about, Dwyane Wade hit a three from the corner in front of the Mavericks bench. That wasn’t the issue. As the ball went through the net, Wade stored there for an extended period of time with his shooting arm raised before making his way toward the Heat bench for a timeout. It didn’t end there. Quite the contrary actually. Lebron came running over to hump Wade’s leg and jabber jaw a bit in a blatant display of upstaging. To make matters worse he then proceeded to throw a few playful body shots to Wade’s body and then the two pranced off to the bench.
At this point, everyone assumed the game was over. Twitter lit up with messages like “dagger,” “ballgame,” and “well, this is over.” I felt the same way. I tweeted out that the only thing left for the Mavericks to do was send random bench player X into the game to deliver a hard foul on either James or Wade. They were being punked and looked like someone had just kicked their puppy in the face. I thought about turning the game off, but there was nothing else on. Instead I kept it on but walked over to the kitchen to start doing the dishes.
I am so glad I didn’t turn the game off. It’s almost like the basketball gods were telling me, “You might not want to change the channel right now.”
The Mavericks were down 15. Then they were down 11. Next thing I knew they were down 7. I started to pay a little more attention. The lead was cut to 5. All of the sudden it was tied and my jaw was on the floor. I was still skeptical of what the outcome would be though. The Heat have had a crazy knack for pulling out close games in playoffs so I thought for sure it would be more of the same. Then Dirk hit a three… are you kidding me?
I was sucked in. With Dallas up three I thought for sure they had the game. Of course, Lebron found Mario Chalmers in the corner for a wide open, after practice, shoot around style three pointer to tie the game. Crap. Just like I said, they had sucked me in just so either Lebron or Wade could kick me in the cojones yet again. Sure, there was time left on the clock, but this had the makings of the Heat ramping up the defense, forcing a turnover and winning the game.
But then something crazy happened. Dirk went all Dirk on the Heat. Left handed lay up with 3 seconds left… ball game. Of course Wade would throw up a desperation half court heave, but it didn’t matter. Dirk scored the final 9 points for the Mavericks and led them to quite possibly one of the most unlikely come from behind wins in finals history. Don’t believe me? A team hasn’t come back from at least 15 points down since Jordan’s Bulls during the 1992 Finals.
Dirk finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds. In the process he swung the momentum of this series and completely put it on his head. The Mavs had lost five straight finals games to the Heat and were mere minutes from making it six. In a way it almost feels like the Mavs exorcised some demons in the process and you could see it on the faces of both Dirk and Jason Terry. They know they can beat this team now. The Heat bleed… they can be killed.
Now the series shifts to Dallas for the next three games and the Heat should be worried. Dallas has been in both games late despite the relatively poor play of pretty much everyone on their team, especially the bench. Role players typically play better at home than on the road. How are the Heat going to respond when shots by Peja, Barrea, and Terry all start falling. What are they going to do when the Dallas crowd energizes Dirk and he pours in close to 50 points? They had never lost a playoff game in which Wade scored 35+ points. How will they respond knowing that they wasted Wade’s statement game? All are valid questions.
The Mavericks stole game 2 last night and because of it, we have a series on our hands. Thanks to the efforts of the Mavericks there is hope throughout different NBA circles, but truth is they need to be better and so does Dirk. He needs to be putting up close to 40 a game, not mid 20’s. But like I said, playing in front of the home crowd should help remedy that.
For now though, everyone is basking in the joy that is the first Heat failure of these playoffs. You can feel the excitement that has been built up for the Mavs out of what appeared to be a sense of defeat. Everyone is rejuvenated. I’m excited for game three. I’m pretty sure all of Cleveland is excited for game three. Hell, Dirk is three wins away from getting a statue in down town Cleveland. They’re probably getting ready to put him on the billboard across from The Q.
Me personally, I’m learning how to speak German and singing the German national anthem every morning when I wake up. Go Mavs.