DONUT 1: Even with a ring, MavVirus lingers ...
I find it strange that the Dallas Mavericks have had terrific success against the Heat, topped by the first title in franchise history achieved against a Miami team less than a year ago, the title grabbed on June 12 in South Florida ...
And upon the team's return to the scene of the greatest accomplishment possible, some of us want to talk about the failure of 2006. (Others among us want to know who "The Big Show'' is and why he is dead-lifting Dirk, but that's a Donut for another day.)
That's fine with The UberMan, though; he says that NBA Finals loss helped form him, and helped make him the player able to win the Finals MVP a few years later.
"'06 is part of who I am, it's part of who we are as a franchise," Nowitzki says. "I think it made me a better player, so you can't totally forget about your past.
"The first-round exit against Golden State (in 2007) is part of it. I think all of it made me stronger and made me a better closer down the stretch and really helped me last year in the playoff run, and obviously for us to become a champion."
What's the saying? "That which does not kill you makes you stronger.''
"We'd love to have won it in '06, but I don't know if that would have helped us win it in '11,'' Dirk says. "Sometimes you have to go through bad stretches and disappointments to come out on top."
DONUT 2: How's LeBron? ...
Well, he's playing despite having dislocated the ring finger on his left hand. What we know about the injury is that LeBron's finger will heal without the encumberment of a ring.
DONUT 3: Inspiration from the opener? ...
Jet says there is "a bad taste in our mouths'' as a result of this year's season opener, a Miami 105-94 victory at the AAC.
Is there inspiration to be taken from that day?
"We've got to think back to Christmas Day because that was a miserable experience for us," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "That was really tough. I was watching some of it (on film). They played terrific, and they were great that day, and we weren't, and so we're going to have to play a lot better."
Maybe there is more to take from this:
DONUT 4: Let's get to tonight's NBA Finals rematch -- a 7 p.m. tip at South Beach -- and some of the strategy...
The starting lineups, and NBA scouting info from Kyle Leath ...
|HEAT 39-13||MAVS 29-22|
|F- LeBron James||F- Shawn Marion|
|F- Chris Bosh||F- Dirk Nowitzki|
|C- Joel Anthony||C- Ian Mahinmi|
|G- Dwyane Wade||G- Vince Carter|
|G- Mario Chalmers||G- Jason Kidd|
DONUT 5: A look at the Heat Offense ...
• The Heat are not a high-volume fast-break team, but when they do get out and run they are extremely high-percentage with Wade and James leading the way. Shooting a high-percentage from the field naturally lessens the run-out opportunities. Rick Carlisle doesn't want to see LeBron and Wade on what he calls "the launching pad'':
• When the numbers break is not available, they flow into a lot of drag screens.
• In the half-court, Miami will use several down screens and motion looks. They also like to use side-pick/roll actions.
• Wade is very active in posting up to take advantage of smaller defenders.
• Bosh will get a lot of touches as a second option in most set plays. He likes the ball at the elbow and can be very effective when he decides to get to the block and post up with his back to the basket. Bosh's length and athleticism might have an answer on the Dallas bench if Lamar Odom shows up to play.
• Most of their sets will have a quick-hitter option on the strong side of the floor and if not available, they love to swing the ball to the weak side and get into a pick-and-roll situation..
DONUT 6: A look at the Heat Defense ...
• Maybe due to lapses in focus, the Heat can be beat getting back on defense.
• In the half-court, they play solid positional defense, always having a help defender ready to slide over. They protect the paint well.
• In the half-court their post are very active in denying the entry pass. On pick/roll actions they show very well.
• Quick passes and weakside action bothers them. They are very long as a team and at times, especially the deeper into the shot clock the possession gets, tend to play areas and lose sight of their man.
• Heat will trap the ball in the corner, and sometimes on pick/roll situations.
• They will contest every shot.
DONUT 7: Stat Check ...
• The Heat have been held under 100 points in 11 of their last 13 games.
• The Race To The West Playoffs … updated daily to keep y'all posted on where the Mavs stand!
• Miami has a 14-game home winning streak.
• Dallas needs to get some road wins somewhere; the Mavs only have six home games remaining.
DONUT 8: In addition to watching the Mavs and Heat at 7 ...
Follow the game on Twitter with the Mavs Twitterverse ... The 75-Member Staff!
DONUT 9: Congrats, Nellie! ...
Finally, my uncle Don Nelson is going into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In his honor, let's all draw on some bar napkins and drink beer from a can in a most inappropriate place and time.
DONUT 10: If you like this level of insight into the World Champion Dallas Mavericks ...
Try our Premium Mavs coverage! This is what we do, every day, with 28 years of experience on the beat! It's pennies a day to get All-Access to what the Mavs are doing upstairs, down in the basement, in the locker room and on the court – and it's free to come inside for a 7-day tryout. Now more than ever, there's no reason not to give it a go! Thanks for your support of the site at less than a dime-a-day! Go Mavs and Go Premium!
DONUT 11: Scout Kyle Leath on How to Beat the Heat:
• Take care of the ball and make them play half-court defense. The Mavs need to exhibit patience offensively while running the offense through Dirk Nowitzki.
• Transition defense. As stated, their guards like to get out and run, especially off perimeter turnovers. Maverick post players must get back and defend rim.
• Attack the basket and make their post defend the ball instead of being able to help off.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
Ian Mahinmi stars in a commercial advertising ... well, I dunno. Advertising himself?