Dallas 112, Miami 103. Mavericks are now one game from the Championship. Series heads back to Miami for Game 6 on Sunday night.
Dallas’ play was no one note song last evening. Dirk Nowitzki got help from his back-up singers. Big-time help.
Jason Kidd, JJ Barea and Jason “Jet” Terry wound up being the first set of teammates to each have at least 10 points, 3 assists and 3, 3-point field goals in an NBA Finals Game.
Kidd, who really should file a request to legally change his name to “38 Year Old Point Guard Jason Kidd,” played more minutes than his age and used all his experience and savvy to full advantage. 13 points.
Barea, of whom I had mentioned earlier in a series game had turned in nineteen minutes of some of the worse guard play you’ll ever see at this level…last night turned in twenty-six minutes of some of the better guard play you’ll ever see at this level. When Rick Carlisle inserted him into the starting lineup after playing poorly earlier in the series, many of us were scratching our heads. We knew Dallas wanted to play at a higher pitch, but was JJ the right instrument to hit the right notes?
Yes. JJ conducted the Dallas “3-party movement” perfectly while keeping his team’s tempo just where the Mavericks wanted it…in transition…speed up-and-down. 17 points.
Terry, who may want to change his legal name to “Jet” since he enjoys his trademark airplane celebration so, was 8 of 12 from the floor. 21 points…and stepping up in this series now as a serious second option needing as much defensive attention as Nowitzki.
And Dirk was…just…Dirk…29 points…50% from the floor…100% from the foul line.
The Mavericks shot almost 57% for the game. They were 13 of 19 from 3-land. Miami played well enough to win…even with 16 turnovers. They shot over 50% from the floor, outrebounded Dallas by 10…and even led 99-95 with 4 1/2 minutes left…all this with a hobbled Dwyane Wade playing through a banged-up hip suffered early on. He led the Heat in scoring with 23 points.
But…Terry hit one of his 3-pointers with just under 3 1/2 minutes left…a Miami miss…Nowitzki slammed in a baseline dunk…a Miami offensive foul and a couple of empty trips…Kidd nailed one of his 3-pointers…105-100 Dallas…and on their way to completing their masterpiece.
I saved LeBron James for the end because this is Dallas’ night to take a bow for. His record at night’s end was 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Those results were compiled after saying this would be his most important game ever. There will be plenty other people writing about that today, especially in regard to how much of the triple double was accumulated in the fourth quarter. I keep going back to his free throws. James had two for the entire night. He is playing like a point guard. He needs to play like a superstar.
He may only have one more chance this season…because Dirk apparently isn’t the only note Dallas can play.