NBA: Mavericks in Must-Win Territory Against Heat

Al Dannity | Tue. Jun 07 2011, 12:06 pm

A loss in Game 3 means the Mavericks are in desperation mode tonight against Miami. Al Dannity says defeat tonight would spell certain doom for Dallas in the NBA Finals.

Not a good place It may be stating the obvious but blowing their first game at home was not what the Mavericks needed. Defeat to the Heat on Sunday night didn’t kill their chances of taking the series but it puts significant pressure on Dallas to deliver in Game 4 and Game 5. Anything short of a 3-2 lead coming out of this home-stand will put the Mavericks in a deep hole.

That’s why victory tonight is so crucial. A 3-1 hole is unappealing at the best of times but giving one up when your opponent still has two potential home games is even worse. Defense should not be an issue, as a repeat of keeping Miami to the level they played at on Sunday should suffice. Instead they need to get more from the offense. Jason Terry and J.J. Barea were notable disappointments while Shawn Marion tried to do too much.

No shrinkage problems LeBron James put Gregg Doyel in his place when the CBS reporter asked about LBJ shrinking in the fourth quarter. Rather than getting riled up he coldly dismissed Doyel, pointing to his superior defensive display and asking the reporter to watch the game again. It was cool, it was calm, but it was clear. That’s just the way King James has been throughout the playoffs. He has shown some of his flashiness at times but it’s never consumed the two-time MVP. LeBron has remained focussed on the key goal, getting the ring he craves. It won’t come easy but concentrating on his game, on every aspect of it, is what is needed from him to deliver in this series.

The verdict A grand total of 8 points separate these sides over the course of three games so don’t expect this game to be a blowout. NBA betting fans know the shooting performance of the Mavs on Sunday was an aberration. The Heat have performed better shutting down Dallas than any other team in the playoffs but maintaining that level is a challenge. I like the Mavericks to raise their game on offense, with the pressure being taken off Marion. Jason Kidd will need to step up in order to compensate but I like the veteran to deliver. It will be close but I like the Mavericks to tie things up at 2-2.