3 Major Chess Moves Mavs Bringing To Game 6

Did Carlisle pack for a lengthy Miami trip, or a quick one-game visit? 'I don't believe at this point I'm ready to share (with the media) the number of pairs of underwear I packed,' he says. Ah, but we can explain Three Major Chess Moves we know Rick's carrying into tonight's potentially decisive Game 6 as his Mavs hope to check-mate the Heat ... Premium Mavs Fans, enjoy!



CHESS MOVE 1: JJB as a match-up dictator

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The move Carlisle made with Barea-to-starter has really opened things up for the Dallas Mavericks' offensive attack from the opening jump.

The subtle brilliance here -- considered wrongly by some a "panic'' move by Rick, a man not prone to such things -- is two-fold.

Moving Barea into the starting lineup a)matches him against Bibby and b) reduces the amount of time the Mavericks spend without two of Kidd, Stevenson, and Marion on the floor at the same time.

With DeShawn starting, Carlisle had his three best perimeter defenders on the floor at the same time and was forced to play his two worst together for long stretches. (This is why it was funny to see reporters run to D-Steve to ask him about his "demotion.'' Stevenson knew that in reality, it wasn't a demotion at all, and in fact he played 26 minutes off the bench in the first game, Game 3, of the change.)

The subtle alteration -- subtle to the layman for "How can JJB make a difference?'' -- has allowed the Mavs to play strength-against-strength for the majority of the games and forced Miami to defend strong offensive players with weak defenders to start games.

We still think Coach Spoelstra should consider moving Chalmers into the starting slot to counter what Barea is giving them, but that is a bit of a catch-22 for the Heat. Start Chalmers and Carlisle, with the upper hand in the trickle-down effect, would be more apt to find ways to take advantage of an off-the-bench Bibby with the far more dynamic Jason Terry opposite him.

CHESS MOVE 2: No more Jet/Dirk two-man game.

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Our feeling is that you may have noticed it without acknowledging what it all means.

This adjustment happened in Game 2, but its relevance has increased significantly over the last few games. Miami's defense is predicated on trapping ball screens and using superior athleticism to rotate back to the open man. Wade and LeBron as athletic defensive wings? Doesn't get much better than that.

But by adjusting their bread-and-butter playcall, Dirk and Terry (and Carlisle) have found a way to negate the impact of this kind of defense.

Instead of the traditional set-up where Terry catches the ball and then Dirk comes for the screen ... the Mavs have tended to run Jet off of more curl and pin-down type action.

This both mitigates Miami's advantage in the trap and uses their great speed against them. By using Terry in a style befitting Ray Allen or Rip Hamilton, Dallas forces the Miami defenders to chase him through screens and then close out on his jumper. When they are able to close out he has been ready to blow by to the rim or his trademarked pull-up jumper.

Miami might consider switching in order to counter this action, but that could lead to more mismatches for Dirk -- again, an upper hand for Rick and staff.

CHESS MOVE 3: Carlisle has done a brilliant job of moving Dirk around the floor in this series.

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It is, perhaps, negatively affecting his shooting percentage. But it is certainly causing chaos and confusion within Miami's defensive scheme.

By keeping the Heat defenders guessing at which spots Dirk is going to set up in, it does not allow them to have a defined plan for double-teaming. If they knew he would be at his customary mid-post on the right side every play Miami would easily devise a plan of attack and execute it the same way each time. By moving Dirk to the other side of the court, the top of the circle, and either elbow the Heat are forced to guess at who should trap when and where the rotations need to come from.

Dirk's moves to the basket are even coming from different-than-usual angles, all of it very much by design, all of it a credit to the work of Carlisle, Stotts, Casey and staff. ... who so far have packed the right amount of underwear and the right amount of chess moves, too.


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