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Finals pressure. It affects everyone.


Halftime of Game 5. Dallas 60, Miami 57.

No, that’s not through three quarters.

What’s happening here is somewhat surprising. These finals have been all about defense. Not tonight, they haven’t. A game in June has January defensive intensity, for the most part.

So we’re on pace for a 120-114 game.

I say we don’t get anywhere near that. (Disclaimer: I’m always wrong.) These defenses are too good. And these numbers are coming without Dirk Nowitzki going off, with Dwyane Wade having a bruised left hip, with LeBron James still in single-digits.

How did we get here?

Dallas hadn’t had one 30-point quarter in these finals. The Mavs have had two tonight.

Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers have 13 for Miami, while Wade has 11. For Dallas, Nowitzki has 16 _ and the Mavs are shooting 66 percent, compared with 51 for Miami.

“The Heat have no chance guarding Dirk right now,” Suns guard Steve Nash, Nowitzki’s best friend, just tweeted. “I’d mix it up some and put Lebron on him. Might not matter he’s that good.”

That sound you may hear is Erik Spoelstra losing his mind in the Heat locker room. A 66 percent half in field-goal defense is about as unacceptable as forgetting your uniform on a road trip.

Also, we just had our first “Beat the Heat” chants of this series. It’s not the first in Dallas during the playoffs, however. The Mavs fans were yelling it _ and drowned out Rick Carlisle’s speech _ during the celebration of the Western Conference title.

See you in the third.


Story Continues →