Let's start with this: The Mavericks are an amazing team, winning with jump shooters like no other team in recent history. Dirk Nowitzki is a nightmare for defenses and the best shooting big man this league has ever seen. Jason Terry is one heck of a shooter and doesn't get enough credit for being as fast as he is and destructive to a defense in the halfcourt. J.J. Barea and Jason Kidd are both so different but have such an impact in games. And Tyson Chandler is one of the most disruptive forces in the paint, defensively.
"When are people going to talk about the purity of our game?" Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "That's what's special."
For starters, of course, there is LeBron James. Anyone who says it wasn't obvious that LeBron's nerves got the best of him either wasn't paying attention or didn't want to see it. James himself addressed it after the game, but it wasn't entirely convincing. Certainly not as convincing as what everyone saw happen on the court. There were clanked free throws, hesitant drives, horrible misses within 12 feet and a lot, lot more.
"Sometimes you got it, sometimes you don't," LeBron said. "That was the case in this series.
"Once you get to the playoffs, every game is pressure. It doesn't matter which round it is, once you get to the postseason, every possession counts."
Sounds like a reasonable explanation, but not true. Pressure's greater in this series, especially since he's never really been in this place. He has never been in the Finals expected to win it.
Dwyane Wade looked like it was a bit too much to ask for him to carry the team again, with the series on the line. He was spending his energy arguing with refs. He was committing mindless turnovers. He never got on a run that you'd expect him to go on at home.
Chris Bosh never got enough of an opportunity to make an impact in the game. He needed just nine shots to score 19 points. That was the story of his season. If he didn't force himself into the action, he wasn't going to get enough looks. In this one, with both Wade and LeBron not being themselves, it was probably up to Erik Spoelstra to get Bosh more looks, but that never happened.
"I was frustrated," Bosh said. "I would've liked to get more inovled. But I was just playing the game as it went. Looking back at it, I had it going a little bit. I was in a good place for the game.
"I just don't know what to say, man. Yeah, I should've shot the ball way more."
Probably the most damning quote from any of the Heat players was this from Wade:
"Their resolve was stronger than ours in this series."
For those wanting a reason not to be upset, to put this loss in a happier perspective, there are these words from Udonis Haslem.
"We haven't accomplished what we're going to accomplish," he said. "This just wasn't our time. Look back from where we started. We were complete strangers to one another on and off the court. To get to this point is a pretty good accomplishment."