Michael Wilbon, Magic Johnson and Jon Berry represented three different schools of thought following the Dallas Mavericks incredible come from behind victory in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Thursday night.
While Wilbon and Johnson’s views on how the Heat’s collapse/Mavericks’ explosion will affect the rest of the series, Berry was much more blunt. By my interpretation, Berry thinks the series is now over. He could not stop repeating himself, saying the loss for the Heat would “seriously” affect them going forward. He said the last-seven-minutes Heat reminded him of the November-December Heat – a team that couldn’t finish games.
Before I get to Wilbon and Johnson’s more conservative, believable views, I have to dissect Berry’s opinion. 1) I think it’s funny how the ESPN analysts’ opinions of the series changes every day. Berry is not basically saying the Heat will choke the rest of the way because of this game, and the Mavs will win the series, when tomorrow (if they played tomorrow), and the Heat won on the road, Berry would say the Heat have control of this series. (Who wants to take my bet that he would say that?) 2) I think it’s funny Berry thinks the series is over. I know one person, besides me, who would disagree – Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
“It’s a long series,” Spoelstra said during the postgame press conference.
We’ve been through two games now. The series is 1-1, mine as well be 0-0 still. Yet, Berry seems to think the series is over. I suppose if you believe in what Berry says, then you think the Heat aren’t mature or experienced enough to regroup.
But did the Mavs win this game or the Heat lose it?
It’s a little bit of both.
The Mavs won in that Dirk took over, Jason Terry stepped up and Shawn Marion kept doing what he’d been doing all game. Also, the Mavs’ defense didn’t give much to the Heat (actually they gave nothing) in the last seven minutes.
The Heat lost the game in that they couldn’t make a single shot. LeBron James put it nicely after the game saying if the team would’ve made one or two more baskets, they would’ve won the game. Fact. Both the Heat’s poor shooting, and lack of penetration into the paint, and the Mavs great offense contributed to how this game turned out.
You can’t just say the Heat lost the game – choked. You can’t just say the Mavs won.
So is the series over, Jon? He says yes, but that’s just my interpretation of his words. I say absolutely not.
One thing that is glaring now is that the Mavs can actually win this series now at home. The series is now turned into a home court advantage for Dallas for the time being. If the Heat take one of the next three games in Dallas, it’s still a series. They could go back to Miami down 3-2, with a lot of weight on their shoulders, but they’d have home court back. And they feed off their home court, like any good team.
Wilbon and Johnson agree that the Heat certainly aren’t out of it. However, they question the toll it will take on the team. Wilbon thinks the Heat will get over it quickly. Johnson thinks it might have an affect for Game 3, but after that not so much.
The bottom line is the Heat are going to have to finish games once again (and it’s funny I’m saying that, when finishing is all they’ve been doing in the playoffs thus far). They certainly can do it. The Heat need to be focused on a couple things from here on out. Taking Game 3 would be a huge step for the Heat. Or even taking two of three of Dallas would be a big step.
I don’t know whether they will bounce back; although I believe they can. I don’t know if they’ll win Game 3.
I do know that this Heat team will be focused on taking away the Mavs home court advantage. They’ll want to take 2-of-3, and of course they have to at least get or this series is over. If I had to predict the future, I’d stick by what I said in our Finals Roundtable – Heat in 6.