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Dirk stopper?

Before we get to the question of who guards Dirk Nowitzki late in games, let's get to the Heat's new rallying cry in this series: Erase the ink!

Apparently, that tattoo of the Larry O'Brien Trophy on Jason Terry's right bicep will be removed if the Mavericks don't win the championship. Not that the Heat needs anymore motivation, but.... TerryTattoo

As for that "who covers Dirk" thing, the popular opinion is that LeBron James is going to cover Dirk late in ballgames, the same way he essentially shut down Derrick Rose by defending him late in fourth quarters.

Here's the only potential problem with that: The Mavs have a very set lineup to close out games. They go with Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Dirk. The Heat's ideal closing lineup would be Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Chris Bosh, Dywane Wade and LeBron.

So let's just match up Kidd and Terry with Wade and Miller. Then assume Bosh sticks to Chandler. That means if LeBron has to defend Dirk, Udonis is responsible for Marion.

Now, Haslem has guarded a handful of small forwards in the past. And his lateral quickness isn't bad. And it's unlikely the Mavericks run anything for Marion anyway, because they only seem to do that when he has a smaller player on his back that he can back down and shoot over.

But it's still a potentially problematic matchup when you consider that Udonis is used to dealing with bigs, and boxing out bigs, and staying in the paint with bigs. Marion could create issues with his athleticism and quickness if matched up with Udonis.

Now, if defending Dirk with LeBron is clearly the best option, it's a challenge I'm sure Udonis will be up to, and he'll very likely hold his own. But if it's a toss-up as to whether LeBron or UD is the better option against Dirk, chances are that Erik Spoelstra will stick with Udonis on Dirk down the stretch and let LeBron help off Marion if he's on the perimeter.

Of course, the Heat could go with an entirely different closing lineup -- and based on Spo's flexibility this season, he's not set on any singular lineup. But it's something to think about if you assume those are these two teams' closing lineups.

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In that case, you could goto UD on Chandler, and play Dirk with Bosh, since Bosh is our longest guy. This way, Lebron can help off of Marion when Dirk goes to his turnaround, which is a bit slow. That way, if Lebron get there, there can be a steal or a block that leads to points on the other end.

The Heat must be wary of allowing the defense to collapse too much, allowing the Mavs easy 3 point opportunities on swing passes to the opposite wing. The Heat have been doing an excellent job thus far this postseason so I am sure they will handle it.

As a Dallas fan, I would not be suprised to see the Heat use a "small" lineup of at 1-5 of Wade, Jones, Miller, James, Bosh. Smaller lineups have given Dallas problems, and this really spreads the floor for Wade and James to drive at will. Defensively it puts James on Dirk and Bosh on Chandler, which would work fine.
As a Dallas fan, that's the lineup I fear now that Jones is healthy

I see a lot of people are getting scared that Dallas has a lot of shooters and how will the Heat's defense do against them. I for one am not worry about the Heat's defense because I think offensively the Heat will force the Mavs to play Peja and Barea very little. Who is Barea and Peja going to guard? Are you going to put Kidd on Wade so Barea can guard Chalmers or Bibby? If so, Wade will have a feild day with Kidd. If Marion is guarding LBJ does that mean Peja guards Wade? I think the match up problems the Heat give the Mavs is understated. I believe Marion and Stevenson will be leaned on a lot defensively for the Mavs and that will eliminate the Mavs have "too many shooters" arguments. With Marion and Stevenson on the floor it will allow the Heat's defense to shrink in like it wants too. Also who is the Mavs relying on to penetrate the paint consistently to kick out to these shooters? Are you saying Barea will do what Drose couldn't? I say the Heat allow Dirk to get his and shut down the rest...

I expect a 4-1 victory for the Heat again if not a clean sweep. If the series goes any longer than that then someone must've got hurt on the Heat side or the Heat is just off with their planning. For Heaven sakes the Mavs play zone to hide their lack of perimeter defense. Who cares what Dirk can and will do in this series?! Let him have a field day or don't let him catch the ball it doesn't matter. I think Jason Terry should be the one feared because if he's rolling that means Dirk is rolling and that will make the series hard. Just like the Heat the Mavs have no low post presence. Chandler is a center in the same vain as Noah but even more limited offensively. As long as Chandler isn't grabbing 20 plus rebounds a game his foul prone behind is no sweat to deal with. Dispute with what I said if you want but will see in a week and a half who was right.


"But it's still a potentially problematic matchup when you consider that Udonis is used to dealing with bigs, and boxing out bigs, and staying in the paint with bigs. Marion could create issues with his athleticism and quickness if matched up with Udonis."

Especially with all the rust after missing most of the season. We've seen UD exhausted lately after limited minutes on the court.

"Then assume Bosh sticks to Chandler like a diminutive ragdoll"

FIXED

"As for that "who covers Dirk" thing, the popular opinion is that LeBron James is going to cover Dirk late in ballgames, the same way he essentially shut down Derrick Rose by defending him late in fourth quarters."

Except that the ungardable 7' German is not the same cover as a 6'3" point guard. Lebron had 5" on Rose. Nowitzki has almost 5" on Lebron.

What you do with Nowitzki is you double-him. Force him to pass and dare other players to make perimeter shots. Use Miller and UD and Lebron and Joel inside. One player can't stop Dirk, like no single player can stop Lebron or Wade. Miami's obvious advantage is Dirk doesn't have a Wade or Bosh to take over when he's doubled.

/offtopic

Tis the season.

O Come All Ye Heatful(Faithful)

O come all ye Heatful
Joyful and triumphant
O come ye O come ye Heatful to O'Brienland

Come and behold them
Born the Kings of Basketball
O come let us implore them
O come let us exhort them
O come let us adore them
Our Miami Heat.

... and

Sir Duke(s)(Stevie Wonder)

Can you feel the Heat all-l o-ver
Can you feel the Heat all-l o-ver people
Can you feel the Heat all-l o-ver
Can you feel the Heat all-l o-ver people

We all love the game of basketball
It's a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For every team to reach the Final dance

But the Heat are busting out a move
So watch out for their groove
Can't stop them on the court of play
Whether home or far away

We can feel the Heat all-l o-ver
We can feel the Heat all-l o-ver oh yeah
We can feel the Heat all-l o-ver
We can feel the Heat all-l o-ver oh yeah

Heat in 4 - -- if they play with a chip on their shoulder. If, they remember Mark Cuban laughing them out of the American Airlines Center back in december (or was it november)...

Heat in 6 if they relax.

The Miami Heat are the 2011 NBA champions. Dam that sounds good!

305 you said everything I was gonna say and I'm 100% behind you in that if the HEAT don't wrap this up in 4 or 5 games you can talk as much sh*t as you want to me!! But either was we still win if longer!

HEAT in 5!!!!!

305. I totally agree with U. for the analysts and experts that talk about barea, fine, maybe against LA who threw in the towel and a young okc team that plays no perimeter D,. but, if we just shot down Derrick Rose, Dont people think that we can limit JJ barea. OF COURSE. Plus, we avg'd 102 during season, dallas 100. People seem to think Dallas has this potent offense. WE JUST BEAT #1 D and #2 Boston and Chicago, so of course are points are down. We have the offense and defense. In 06, Dallas I believe had the better team, but by far, we are much more better than this older mavs team. They got an imploding Lakers team that gave up, and an OKC team thats not a true wcf team, beating 5 seed role players in Denver and 8 seed memphis(did beat spurs). Beating the top 2 teams in the east , we have really been tested already. I am expecting it to go no more than 5 like the other 2 series. If dallas wins 2 in dallas, that wuld push to 6..........Once we make it dirk vs miami and take out marion and kidd, they dont have a low post scorer. then, we smother their 2nd team offense with JJ, they are done. They have never seen a team Defense like this.......

I said it at the beginning of the playoffs...Dallas & Miami

I love the fact that you all are undermining JJ's ability to penetrate the pain with impunity. He's the true underdog here, but make no mistake, with will be the X factor and I predict that Spoelstra is going to have to put Lebron on him...that will be something else.

This series will be no sweep for either side...Dallas in 7.

W/e Kakadura your just rooting for a hispanic player just cause like when you threw a fit when Arroyo got let go lol. Barea is nice and I wouldn't be mad if the Heat sign him this off-season as a starter, but to say LBJ will have to guard him is a lol and a half. What do Barea do that Wade or Chalmers couldn't stop? Or even a soft double team would keep Barea at bay. The Heat build walls against penetration and Barea is even athletic enough to get pass the Heat's perimeter defense. I have faith in the Heat on both sides of the ball. As long as Wade gets his legs back and Bosh is able to draw silly fouls on the Mavs big men I see no challenge. Also if the Heat win the first 2 at home I will declare the series over because the Heat will win one or more in Dallas.

All this talk and concern about Barea, and he's not even the best, starting point guard for Dallas. Then again, he's obviously better than Bibby, Chalmers, House and all the chumps the Heat has at point guard.

thanks sludge..
any articles on why the earth is actually flat too?

Sledge, So guarding a 7'center/forward is not the same as guarding a 6'3" point guard? Wow! Who would've thunk it? Does Dirk really have almost 5" on Lebron? Damn, man you're so smart. Keep those obvious observations coming. That 10 year degree in Bball is really paying off.

Casper, can you read? I'm refuting what Gutierrez himself wrote in this blog and what many people say, retard.

"
"As for that "who covers Dirk" thing, the popular opinion is that LeBron James is going to cover Dirk late in ballgames, the same way he essentially shut down Derrick Rose by defending him late in fourth quarters."

Except that the ungardable 7' German is not the same cover as a 6'3" point guard. Lebron had 5" on Rose. Nowitzki has almost 5" on Lebron.

HEAT FANS! What an incredible comeback by the entire HEAT team but especially by D.”Escalade” Wade and “MegaTon” LeBron James, during that fourth and final quarter! Many Fans, including the media, saw this as a miracle but I knew all along that this could happen because of the fun our team was having and the confidence in a more relaxed atmosphere that they were playing in. Congratulations to Coach Spoelstra, his staff, the TEAM and the whole HEAT organization for their well deserved trip to the BIG DANCE (The NBA FINALS!). Offense wins games but Defense wins championships has always been words to live by and it proved to be true in this case. The Heat extinguished the Bulls offense in that fourth quarter with the play of Mike “Thriller” Miller, U.D. “The Gator Tornado”, Joel “The Eraser” Anthony, Chris “Too Smooth” Bosh, D. “Escalade” Wade , and “MegaTon” LeBron James. The play of “Super Mario” and Mike “Little Man” Bibby has been impressive as supporters of this defense and well needed down the stretch. At this point in the playoffs it is hard for me to sing praise to offense, but where would we be if I did not acknowledge the great 4 point play by D. “Escalade” and the back to back 3 pointers at “Crime-Time” by “MegaTon” LeBron. GO HEAT!
Now HEAT FANS, on to the Finals and what a finals it should be! We have a repeat of the finals of 2006 when the heat won their first and only NBA CHAMPIONSHIP (yes I know, old news). Well here is some new news, and I am glad to say that, “we are a more balanced and a more prepared team this time around”. The Heat should be primly focused and willingly ready to do whatever it takes to win their second NBA title because we now have the support that the captains need in “Too Smooth “ Bosh and “MegaTon” LeBron to get the job done (Getter Done!). Everyone is talking about the scoring ability of Dirk Nowitzki but with all due respect to Dirk’s abilities, he plays right into the defensive skills of the Heat’s defense. Coach Spoelstra I hope you are reading this, because I think that Dirk takes that ball too far back behind his head to keep it away from a D. “Escalade” or a “MegaTon” LeBron” block party.
Yes, I think we should activate Erick “Long Fellow” Dampier and James “Capone” Jones and I will tell you why HEAT FANS. Erick “Long fellow” is wise to the things that Dallas tries to get done Offensively and Defensively since he played well in that system, and James “Capone” Jones is a dead-eye 3 point shooter that can counter their outside scoring, plus will help take charges on J.J. Barea (we must not forget this little pest).
P.S. We should be able to out run my friend Jason Kidd! And HEAT FANS let’s hope they play a little “Thriller” music when Mike hits a big shot or makes a great hustle

The writer hit the nail on the head. Lebron covering Dirk just doesn't make sense because he will have to leave his feet to get to Dirk's shot causing foul problems and you don't want to double off Marion with Haslem who doesn't have the foot speed (like Lebron does) to show a quick double then recover back to a cutting Marion. It just doesn't make sense. The tough part is that it makes your big three stars spectators for some of the most important sequences of the game. That's why Miami has to push early and build a comfortable lead (something they've had trouble doing) to be able to play Nowitzki straight up without fouling, limiting the 3 ball and letting the clock work against methodical scoring style.

I like the idea of doubling Dirk early and often like the Heat did Rose. If Dirk starts going off then this becomes a shootout which does not favor the Heat.

If they play him single coverage and he goes off, then they are going to start doubling him anyways. I would take my chances with Jason Terry and Shawn Marion making shots any day.

MAN!!!! Dwade killed the Mavs from mid range in the 2006 finals. Just saw the tape on nba tv right now.

Though I thought (before the playoffs) and still think the Heat have enuff to bring it home, the "new" Mavs make me VERY nervous.

Looking forward to Bosh v. Dirk. Likewise LeBron's offense v. Marion's defense.

Funny that know-nothings anticipate Butler's return (fingers crossed). James would devour Butler.

But Chandler should also devour Anthony on the boards unless the Heat go small (Bosh @ 5, Haslem @ 4) and/or Miami activates Magloire for goon cameos.

Kidd won't stop Wade but I've a feeling Kidd still has enough tread to turn Wade into a jumpshooter.

Which leaves Terry/Barea to wreak havoc v. Bibby/Chalmers w/ every Heat rotation player (Miller, Jones) a potential x-factor.

The metrics favor Miami but the matchups seem pretty even.

Miami MUST protect homecourt. This is *not* a rematch.

LET'S GO HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LETS GO HEAT, this is your chance to prove what you are made of.
My advise to Spoelstra is to go with the following lineup:
1. Wade and Mario must defend Terry and Barea
2. Miller will better stick on Kidd and share the load with Wade
3. Keep James on marion and anyone on the wing, let the guy spend all his energy on attacking the basket
4. Haslem will have to stick to Dirk like 24/7 and share it with Bosch (Bosch must be used more for on offence. Put him in the middele and let Wade with James cut on wings and Bibby, House, Miller to shoot 3s 5. Let Joel bang with Mavs bigs
You also need to add House to the mix as he is proven to be a big gun on 3s for Celtics previously. Bibby will be a liability to the team. Need as many athletic players on the floor as possible. James will have to put in 45mins a game for Miami to win.

Because Dallas barely has any penetrators (just Barrea?), we can put Joel

I'm dubbing this series -- The Fury.

The team that COLLECTIVELY sustains 48 minutes of FURIOUS defense every night, every game WILL win this series.

Any HINT of complacency, entitlement or preordainment in the minds of ANY Heat GUARANTEES disaster.

A SUSTAINABLE, healthy-not-paralyzing FEAR OF FAILURE to DRIVE a sense of urgency, to dig when you "think" you can't dig further, box out, attack, keep defenders moving with OR without the ball, GUARANTEES success.

Carpe diem, COTIDIE CAPIAT! (seize the day, seize EVERY day!)

LET'S GO HEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What happens when Lebron & Wade sit down? I hope they play all 48 minutes. The Mavs go 10 deep. Wade & Lebron have got to get 35 a piece for the Heat to compete. When one goes out the Mavs can focus on stoping the one. On the other end the Mavs bring in two knockdown shooters (Peja/Terry), a 7footer to clean up the boards and the little Rican(J.J.) that is going to pick and roll you to death. Oh and by the way, Dirk normally runs with this group after his early rest. Hopefully the games will be called equally this go around. Wade averaged 20 ft attempts in the last finals, Jordan never got that type of love. Mavs in 6.

Wade and LBJ has to average 35 a piece? What game are you watching? Wade hasn't average even 25ppg this post season. Your just looking for reason to make yourself feel better lol. Who is Peja and Barea going to guard when they're on the floor?

You Mavs fans are stupid for blaming refs for that 2006 collapse. Dirk was the one missing free throws at the end of games I just saw the game replayed last night on nba tv. Not to mention Dirk was getting to the line 12 times in a away game. Ironic Mavs fans have to get 24 free throws by Dirk for them to think the game was called equally lol HEAT IN 6

Gotta agree with 305 and Taheati's evaluation.

to Taheati - we traded our 'entitlement and complacency' to Minnesota for some second round throw-aways. Not a problem on this team, at this time of year.

to jae0028 - Jordan never got that type of love? C'mon, tell me you've watched the NBA longer than Sludge. Nobody in the history of the league, NOBODY, has ever benefitted from dubious calls based on the letters on the back of the uniform more than his errorness, mj.....that's EVER, and that's not even CLOSE!!! Every player in the league from that era would tell you that.

Outside shooting could be the key: Both teams will be defending the paint to THE DEATH.Playoffs basketball from 2 very good defensive teams. Yes, Dallas now defends very well.

The Mavs and even the Heat will be playing some Zone D, 2/3 - 3/2 zone variations, mixing it it up with man-to-man D. Players will be more than tempted to hoist perimeter shots: they'll be forced to when the clock is running down.

For Miami, someone will have to step-up and nail 3's or long J's. We all know Miami's big 3 have never been good long distance shooters. So Miller, Bibby, House, Z or someone will have to nail some long bombs to win close games.

Similar situation for Dallas: Nowitzki will be doubled, and the Heat will pack the paint, so someone else will have to make shots from a distance. Terry, Peja, even J.Kidd need to be sharp for the Mavericks to stand a chance without HCA.

Games should be close, they usually are in the playoffs. And it often comes down to who nails a couple of long bombs down the stretch. (As in games 2-3-4 & 5 against Chicago, for instance..)

^^^^

Sludge, you forgot to mention that in the last series Miami got blown out by Chicago in game one.

.....and who was nailing those long jumpers for the Heat in the previous 2 series, that HAD TO HAPPEN for the Heat to win?

Casper, can you read? I'm refuting what Gutierrez himself wrote in this blog and what many people say, retard.

"
"As for that "who covers Dirk" thing, the popular opinion is that LeBron James is going to cover Dirk late in ballgames, the same way he essentially shut down Derrick Rose by defending him late in fourth quarters."

Except that the ungardable 7' German is not the same cover as a 6'3" point guard. Lebron had 5" on Rose. Nowitzki has almost 5" on Lebron.

Hey mental midget, why refute what everyone already knows? Can't you read? Go back and read what Israel meant. You like to hear yourself speak...a legend in your own mind again.

"For Miami, someone will have to step-up and nail 3's or long J's. We all know Miami's big 3 have never been good long distance shooters. So Miller, Bibby, House, Z or someone will have to nail some long bombs to win close games."

I wasn't aware of this. More wisdom from Sledge. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

I guess Sledge is not logged on....so let me explain it to you kiddo....

Gutierrez said that the popular opinion is that Lebron cover Dirk late in ballgames.... he didn't say that it was HIS opinion. As a matter of fact, he said that there was a potential problem with it. He was saying that it could happen and not that it would work like it did against Rose. No one in their right mind would assume that Lebron is going to be able to easily stop Dirk who is 5" taller like he did Rose.

So stop acting like you need to explain Bball to everyone here. I know you have 10 years of experience and like to have teachable moments to make yourself feel like a man but you sound like an idiot when you try to justify your knowledge. Now go, your mom is calling you.

Let the Haters keep on hating, they will be shut up soon enough and then they will be on here telling us how unfair it was how our team was put together. Screw them!!!

For Heat fans only, got a question for you:

Assuming Lebon James has a great series, what will DWade have to do to be MVP of the finals? Is there any chance they could award James and Wade co-MVP?

As of right now, there is no doubt in my mind James has been the MVP of our playoff run. I expect that to be considered when deciding who the MVP of the finals would be assuming that Wade and James put up similar #'s.

It's not so much I care who wins MVP, as long as we win the ship, but I'm just starting to get that feeling that Wade knows he doesn't have a shot at being MVP should we win the finals. So will this only give him more determination to have a great series and try to 1-up his boy Bron Bron and get the votes or when Heat win in 5 or 6, it is a foregone conclusion that James gets the MVP?

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. This series is just starting and Dirk's one-legged fadeaway and 51% shooting from the field can be a major problem for the Heat. Let's not worry about the MVP right now....but based on making an assumption, I don't think Wade cares about who gets named series MVP. Perhaps in future championship years but not this one. This one is for Lebron.

Casperita has her Homer period today. Someone send her some towels.

Hard to tell what team is under pressure these first 2 games, under the finals 2-3-2 insane format..

- On one hand, the Heat MUST hold serve, and win both games at home. Then, the Championship would be almost guaranteed (unless the refs. favor Dirk instead of wade this time around)

- Then again, Dallas must steal either game 1 or 2 to have a plausible chance.

Neither team can afford to lose one of the first 2 games.

If Dallas steals 1, they could shut it out at home, or have the confidence to steal another one, game 6 or 7 in Miami.

IOW, both games are a must-win for both teams, with this particular format.

Poetic Justice? Now THAT would be awesome: In this sceneario, Instant Karma would strike Miami after the first 2 wins. Then Dallas would win 4 straight.

Unlikely, not impossible.


"Casperita has her Homer period today. Someone send her some towels."

Mental midget, like to dish out but can't take it. Your humor and your Bball knowledge...weak and predictable!
Epic Fail.

Dirk vs Anthony, Dirk is shooting 3/13 against Anthony! Chew on that sludge since you love stats!!

Hey Sledge can you please tell me what NBA team plays a 3-2 defense? Do you even know why a 3-2 defense is used? The Heat and Dallas use a version of a 2-3 zone to pack the lane and therefore to discourage drives and midrange jumpers. A 3-2 zone provides to much space down low and in the athletic NBA it would allow for too much interior penetration. I figured you would know this with that wealth of NBA knowledge that you have!!!

^^^^True, but Dirk is a different player these days. He will be difficult to stop. I would worry about everyone else and let Dirk do his thing. As to Sledge, in an earlier blog he said math makes his head hurt or was hard for him...something to that effect.

Some of these teenage kiddos seem to be obsessed with 'Sledge', pathetic.. And obviously, Mr. transplanted brain, you have no idea of what you are talking about regarding zones. Many teams constantly mix them up, depending on match-ups and how the game is going, particualarly Dallas these days. And not just the 2-3 or 3-2 zones, other variations, notably the 1-2-2 if there are hot shooters in the perimeter, or other variations as trapping the wings. Zones can be fluid, rather versatile and quite adaptable when mastered in practice. So before you talk crap, kiddo, do what yo mama tells you: finish your homework:

http://www.coachesclipboard.net/122zonedefense.html

Truly pathetic is a hater in a heat blog day in and day out. Get a life!

Erik Spoelstra strategy plus Lebron, Dwyane, and the rest of the Heat is the finest combination this season. I just hope that it is enough to beat Mavericks, cause they’re quite tough too.

The Heat defense did a great job tonight, but I think Dirk is going to have to be more aggressive and shoot better than 7 for 18.

I think the Heat will win in 6 or 7, but I'll be rooting for J-Kidd to get his first ring; he really deserves it. Dirk should do what he wants in this series, but I don't think it will be enough for the Mavs to win. The Heat seemed destined to win. If Dirk does win, he will move up the all-time great list, but still not top ten.

http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com/2011/05/dirk-with-ring-better-than-ringless.html

People need to stop hating on Lebron James. The Heat still has alot of talent James, Wade& Bosh are a great access to the team. However, don't forget the other players that stepped up to the plate and made it to the playoffs. There is always next year I say go for it Heat!!!

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