Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 at 8:36 pm  |  63 responses

NBA Finals Game 1 Live Blog

Let’s get it started…

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

OK, so we’re about half an hour from tip-off. I’m in the David Stern press conference right now, typing away on my laptop and trying to look busy. But really I’m just, you know, setting up a liveblog. I’m making this live right now, and I’ll be back closer to tip-off to get the live blog cracking…

OK, we’re about to  get going here. Michael McDonald just sang a smoky version of the National Anthem. Ya Mo B Here! The Mavs were introduced to an instrumental version of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You.” Well, maybe not that version.

• Time for the Heat intros. Fire shoots from the back of the baskets. I’m sitting with Sekou Smith at the top of section 102, and we can feel the flames from here.

• I saw people on Twitter pregame saying there was a rumor that the game wasn’t sold out. I can’t speak to the veracity of that, but this arena looks full, all the way up to the top of the stands.

• I’m trying to convince Sekou to get an Abraham Lincoln five-dollar bill tattoo on his neck. He’s not going for it.

• It’s pretty loud up in here. I forgot that in 2006 it was loud enough that I had to fashion makeshift earplugs from napkins.

• First play of the game and Bron dishes inside to a cutting Bosh, who picks up a foul on Chandler 18 seconds into the game. Bosh hits both freebies.

• Miami opens with Joel Anthony on Dirk, and everyone seems pretty confused. The Mavs get it to Dirk, Bibby doubles, and the Mavs pick up a three second call.

• Just spent three minutes trying to find the game on the TV next me. Finally got it, but missed a few buckets. Game tied at 4.

• Miami leads 6-4 with 8:13 to go in the first. Pretty sloppy thus far — lots of turnovers, blocked shots, dropped loose balls.

• Tyson Chandler misses a free throw and then makes one. Foul was on Bron, I believe.

• Bosh follows a Wade miss strong and scores, then closes out on Dirk on the other end and helps force a miss.

• Dallas posts Kidd on Bibby, and Kidd misses the turnaround J.

• Bosh with the hook shot over a double team. Heat check? He misses.

• Another loose ball scramble around halfcourt, and Bron manages to corral the ball and stand up, then drive into Dirk, force contact, and hit the fadeaway. First time out of the Finals, 5:30 to go in the quarter, and Miami leads 10-5. Dallas is 1-7 from the floor, 0-2 on threes, and has three turnovers.

• Jason Terry checks in and forces Miami to defend him outside, which leaves Jason Kidd open for a three, which he nails. Terry immediately gets a steal and draws a foul on the other end. Miami answers by putting in Chalmers, Haslem and Juwan Howard.

• Dallas starts to make a run, and Miami answers courtesy of a Bron three to make it 16-12, Miami. Timeout. Neither team seems particularly comfortable out there — they’re looking for mismatches and trying to exploit them, which I suppose makes good basketball sense, but as a result the game has no flow.

• Dos Minutos!

• Out of the TO, Dallas runs a pick/roll for Dirk and they find Terry flaring out on the wing for a three.

• JET gives Bron a little crossover and drives and tries to bang on him. Bron sort of rides him past the rim, and Terry comes down hard, on his hip. He’s down for a bit, but seems to get up and walks it off.

• After one, the Mavs have come back to lead 17-16. Both teams are shooting .286 from the field. This is looking like the NCAA Championship.

• The best performance of the first quarter might have been the Heat dancers performing to “Girls, Girls, Girls.”

• Barea opens the first quarter with a drive and miss, and the Bosh gets a tip-jam on a Bron miss. Terry and Miller trade threes.

• Next time down Dallas goes to Dirk in the post and Miller and Haslem immediately double him, forcing a jump ball.

• Play of the first half comes when Wade is trying to save a ball that’s heading out of bounds. He leaps into the air and fires it at Barea, trying to bounce it off of him…and somehow Barea just catches the ball and turns back up court. That ball must’ve been going 8,000 mph, but Barea caught it like it was a bounce pass.

• Another TO. 8:23 left int he second, and Dallas leads 22-21.

• Barea is doing Barea things! I wish the Knicks would trade for him, just because it would be fun to hear Clyde Frazier call his games. “Barea is jiving and driving!”

• Meanwhile, Dallas is zoning Miami, and Miami doesn’t quite seem sure what to do. As soon as I write that, Dallas goes man to man, Miami runs a pick/roll with Bron and Bosh, and Bosh gets to the rim and draws a foul.

• Dallas sticks in man and puts Peja on Bron. Bron posts him and scores and then draws a foul on the next play. Time out, Miami up 27-26. Have a feeling Peja won’t be on Bron after this TO.

• BTW, here’s the view from my seat:

• Celeb watch: Jimmy Buffet and Gloria Estefan are introduced. Meanwhile, Chalmers drains a corner three.

• Dallas on the break, and Dirk pump fakes and misses a jumper. He’s 1-5 right now.

• And then Joel Anthony checks in and Dirk goes right at him and scores.

• With 3:17 left in the first half, Miami leads 35-31. I’m just hoping Butler can go on a run in the second half.

• Ludacris in the house.

• Dallas hits a three, Miami turns it over, and Dirk hits a bank shot over a double team. The arena gets quiet pretty fast.

• Wade tries to shoot a jumper over the zone and misses. Kidd stands at the top of the key and sorta flips the ball at the rim. It turns out to be a perfect alley-oop to Chandler. Kidd still got it.

• Dallas seems to have their groove back — swinging the ball around, finding open guys. And then Dirk turns it over.

• With 5.9 seconds left in the half, the Heat take a 20. They inbound to Bron, he dribbles the length of the court and hits an open Miller…who misses a three. At the half, Dallas leads 44-43.

• Halftime stats: Dallas shooting 38 percent, Miami shooting 36 percent. Actually, the stats are pretty even across the board. The one thing I’m surprised by is how Miami seems to be settling for a lot of jumpers. I figured they’d drive and get calls and live on the line, but they’ve taken fewer free throws than Dallas so far.

• Dallas strikes first with a Marion runner in the lane. Miami opens the half with a Joel Anthony hook (miss) and a Mike Bibby three (miss). Then Dirk drains a three to put Dallas up 48-43. LeBron drives and misses a close shot, and Dallas pushes it back up, then Marion finds DeShawn with the cross-court pass and he nails a three. Dallas up 51-43, a 7-0 run to start the half. TO.

• Out of the TO, Wade drives to the rim and scores on a nifty reverse. Dallas turns it over, and Miami pushes it and Wade gets another layup, and misses the free throw.

• Dirk misses a 12-footer, and Miami comes roaring back. A Bron three, a Dirk skyhook miss. The Dallas makes a couple of nice passes a Brnedan Haywood gets blocked by the rim on a dunk attempt.

• Wade banks in a runner. Seems to be making a concerted effort to get the basket in this half. Dallas still on top, 57-53.

• Heckuva game tonight from Shawn Marion, who has 13 and 8. I remember once asking Marion about his unorthodox shooting style, and he said it was because he used to jump so high that he shot down at the rim.

• Dallas is buying some time with Peja in the lineup. Miami keeps trying to go after him, but he’s doing a pretty good job of sticking up for himself. No points, three fouls, but he’s just -2 on the plus/minus. JET has a +10, and Bosh has a +7.

• MVP thus far tonight has to be the wireless internet in the American Airlines Arena. Powerful and steady. Only downside is I’ve grown a third ear.

• Out of a timeout, and JET makes an unforced turnover. Miami responds with an easy bucket for Haslem. Dallas makes another unforced turnover, and Peja notches a steal. Dallas gets a nice dunk, and Peja gets another steal. Then Bron comes down and drains a long three to put Miami back on top, 60-59.

• Barea weaves his way to the basket and misses a layup. Miami comes back down and Juwan Howard fights for a loose ball and nearly breaks his hip, but he comes up with the ball and gets to the line. Considering he invented free throws, Howard’s money.

• As the quarter winds down, LeBron dribbles and wets a long three point fadeaway right in front of Rick Carlisle. Miami leads 65-61 after three.

• Half opens with Bron missing a three and an alley-oop. Dirk gets it back and goes to the line. If Dallas can get into the bonus early this could be a long quarter.

• Dallas doubles Bron, and Miami swings the ball around and finds Miller in the corner for a three. Miami fouls Haywood, which is Miami’s second team foul.

• Dallas worked the ball around and had Miami scrambling to cover, but nobody was guarding Dirk. He scores easily. If you’re going to leave someone open, probably shouldn’t be Dirk.

• Chris Bosh catches in the post and slowly dribbles his way to the ground. Looked like he was on Wipeout.

• Barea comes in and is guarding Wade. Wade immediately goes at him, forces a switch, and gets Haslem an open 15-footer. Miami leads 70-66 with 8:43 to go.

• Howard Beale clip during the timeout. Shouts to Sidney Lumet.

• Wade sizes up Terry and hits a jumper over him. Barea finds DeShawn Stevenson in the corner for a wide-open three. Words I never expected to be writing in the Finals.

• Chandler gets an offensive foul setting a pick. A few seconds later, Dallas picks up another foul, this one on Stevenson. Bron finds Haslem for a jumper, which he misses. Miller rebounds, resets, finds Bron, and eventually Bosh hits a cutting Haslem for a layup, and one. There are mismatches all over the court — Barea was guarding LeBron for a minute there — but Miami has to be patient and capitalize. On that play where Barea was guarding Bron, Wade ended up shooting a fadeaway jumper. Anyway, Heat lead 75-69, with 6:36 to go in the game.

• Dallas misses, Miami misses. Dallas goes to Dirk, and he finds Terry for a three, but he misses. Miami overpasses and Bosh misses a contested layup. Dallas comes back down and Dirk misses a fadeaway. Miami gets a nice give and go but Haslem misses. Nobody’s scored in the last 2:01. On an inbounds play, Bron tries to run through a Chandler pick and there’s an explosion of arms and legs. Foul is called on Bron. Chandler to the line: miss, make. Miami leads 75-70, 4:35 to go. At this rate, the final score might be 77-73.

• Out of the TO, Wade crosses over Kidd, makes a little space, then hits the jumper. Dallas returns and runs a play for Marion in the post. Marion turns into Miller, draws the foul, hits the bucket and makes the free throw.

• Wade passes inside to Bosh and Dirk swipes at the ball. Foul called on Dirk. Bosh to the line: make, make. Miami leads, 79-73, 3:44 to go.

• Miami shows trap, gets Dallas running all over the place, and Marion gets his shot blocked by Wade, out of bounds off Marion. Miami returns and Wade busts a long three. Miami goes up 9, with 3:06 to go. Miami has found an extra gear here.

• Haslem gets called for a foul on Dirk as Dirk is driving. Dirk to the line: good, good. 82-75.

• Miami runs a clear out for Bron, and he just goes to the rim like a freight train. Dunks and gets fouled. Dirk scores on the other end to make it 85-77.

• Dos minutos.

• Miami runs down the clock and Bron airballs a three for a 24 second violation. 1:43 to go.

• Dallas gets Dirk baseline against Haslem, and Bill Kennedy makes an advantage foul call to send Dirk to the line. 1:36 to go.

• Dirk hits both and makes it 85-79. Chalmers comes back and hits two FTs. Kidd forces a three and misses, and Wade gets the board, sprints up court and hits Bosh for a dunk. Ten point game with 1:08 to play. That play was so much like the Wade of the 2006 Finals, it was a little scary.

• Dirk misses a three and the Heat run clock, then Wade flips the ball to a cutting Bron, who comes unmarked from the weak side and tomahawks the ball home.

• And the Heat win, 92-84. Bron finishes with 24, Bosh with 19, and Wade with 22. Bron gets his first Finals win, and the Heat lead the Finals, 1-0.

• Stopped by the Mavs locker room postgame, where Jason Terry was talking about tempo, specifically saying that Miami’s slower pace was a deciding factor. He said the Mavs can play at the tempo, but they’d rather not. On anything regarding specific plays or rotations, Terry said he’d have to check the tape.

• Carlisle: “We know the tempo is going to vary some, but by and large, we’ve got to play better overall.”

• Someone asked Spoelstra why Bron and Wade have played so well in the fourth quarters of games recently. Spo said: “Well, it’s not as if we created two new players. That’s who they’ve been their entire careers. I think it just takes time for players to feel comfortable with each other and a new offensive system and playing with new guys and being in this situation over and over. We had quite a few close games in the regular season where we failed. We had to adjust some things. Every playoff game for us has been one of those that goes downt he stretch. The more times you’re in it, probably the more confident you get.

• Some numbers: Dirk finished with 27 points on 7-18 shooting (and 12-12 on FTs). Marion had 16 and 10. Tyson Chandler played 33  minutes and had 4 rebounds, including 0 offensive boards. The Mavs’ bench (Terry, Peja, Barea and Haywood) went a combined 4-22 for 17 points (Terry hit 3 threes, but didn’t score in the second half).

• Bron attempted just 2 free throws and Wade just 5, while Bosh was 9-12 from the line. Wade, Bron and Bosh combined for 28 boards, 8 less than the entire Dallas team. Haslem had 7 points, 6 boards and 5 fouls, and Chalmers and Miller combine for 18 points.

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  • http://jza.me jza

    hope to read you along the way. does thus has a mobile view.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    not so subtle theme provided by the pregame intro music.

  • MikeC.

    Keep it classy Lang, and thanks for stopping by. Your unique style is missed. Can we get an old-school all-gray background with black text? Maybe freshen it up with some comic sans font?

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Game begins. Lebron and Dirk hit fantastic jumpers. Love this game.

  • Mvp23100

    This guy Dirk is still soft as sh*t

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Having to choose between twitter, where it’s my choice who i read, and the 1st Slam live blog since the ASW, where fools like MVP (you wish) can spread their nonsense just got a whole lot easier.

  • Mvp23100

    Peace bro I give two sh*ts I call em how I see em Dirks had a crazy playoff run but this physical defense is about to expose his sweet a**

  • MikeC.

    Doris Burke is peculiar to look at and listen to. Can we get some Hannah Storm up in here?

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Mike Miller with the turnover. This guy isJUST LIKE A POINT GUARD

  • MikeC.

    @Mvp – if you think Dirk is soft, then it is quite obvious that you don’t even watch NBA basketball and don’t understand the game.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Doris Burke’s voice dives.me.crazy. all those s’s and lisps. Ugh.

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    jason terry drinks sprite

  • Mvp23100

    Bold prediction Bosh outplays Dirk this series and MikeC. I’ve watched very close your assumption couldn’t be more wrong

  • MikeC.

    I think Jason Terry drinks PCP if he thinks he’s going to flush it on Lebron against a set D.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Terry: Mr. Shot Selection.
    What else is new?

  • MikeC.

    @Mvp – then I think you need to consult your local optometrist. There is something very wrong with your eyes.

  • Mvp23100

    Maybe but we will see

  • MikeC.

    I just noticed Tim Hardaway’s #10 hanging from the rafters. I need a Heat fan to explain why in the world they retired the jersey of a player that didn’t actually accomplish that much.

  • MikeC.

    Oh yeah. This is the team that retires jerseys of players that never even played for them. Kinda cheapens it for those that actually deserve it.

  • http://twitter.com/JWalshHoops Justin Walsh

    had to come back to SLAM live blogs for the finals. Where’s Eboy? Jukai, what’s good

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Terry’s outsde shooting is good as usual, but as soon as he ventures inside the arc, pandemoniun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    I laughed out loud when Jason Terry tried to dunk on Lebron and ended up getting blocked by the rim.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    So, Peja. Mind making a shot once in a while. U’re pretty much useless in all other aspects of the game.
    Wonder if Corey Brewer hit on Carlisle’s wife, cause this snub is getting ridiculous.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Angel of Stern

    tentative first half, hopefully the pace picks up a little bit.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber


  • http://www.slamonline.com Angel of Stern

    miami needs to start taking it to the basket or they will not win this series

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Joel Anthony is playing like Joel Anthony.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Angel of Stern

    #1 key for Miami: don’t settle for jumpers, #1 key for Dallas: don’t turn the ball over

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    Sucks that I have to be at work during this game. Does anyone have a website I can tune into to watch the progress? (Office internet blocks vid streaming btw) Now I have yahoo!sports and ESPN play by play open, as well as my heavy reliance on this liveblog…

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    brendan haywood also drinks sprite

  • http://www.hoopsvibe.com/features/overdribbling chiqo

    @melvin ely: nba.com’s tv companion isn’t too shabby

  • Bruno

    I’m stuck at a oil well, fixing the internet conection so how about that??? hahaha I don’t like either team but I really wanted to watch the games but the thing I want badly is the heat to lose

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Cone ON! Peja is useless.
    Give Brewer mins at the 2, Marion at the 3! What the eff is this?

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    JJ drives now with an eye out for Bron or Bosh flying in from the weakside: missing layups.

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai


  • http://www.slamonline.com Angel of Stern


  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Well if it isn’t the patented ‘put in an undersized backcourt so we give the opponent mismatches’ 4th qtr move by Rick Carlisle.
    Love that guy.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I love our liveblogs! Thanks Lang. I said Heat win 1, 3, 5 + 6. Almost right on 1…

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Jesus H.
    LeBron just ended this game.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    telling stat so far: on the off boards, Miami leads 16-6 and 43-34 overall. You don’t win road games with those numbers.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Jason Terry: moron.
    I can’t emphasize this enough.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    gonna have to take your word for that dark. All I saw was “Lebron James makes running dunk” and “Shooting foul on Shawn Marion”. I wish I called in sick today. Sigh.

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Dirk = Wade
    Dirk = Lebron
    Dirk < Wade, Lebron.
    That's the bottom line on this folks. These are three transcendental superstars, but it's a two vs one show.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Thanks for hanging out here tonight, folks. I’ll update again later tonight with postgame reactions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Jason Terry was hot garbage out there tonight.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Peja, horrible since OKC-series.
    Terry, subpar for the entire playoffs, has overconfidence issues and i question his decision making.
    JJ, when he’s not scoring, he doesn’t give the Mavs anything else.
    Meanwhile, Brewer is still a no show. Not that he could stay with any guards Miami has on D, get steals and add size.
    This is ridiculous.

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Good lookin’, Lang.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Corey Brewer is on the Mavs??

  • JTaylor21

    Whoa there Jukai. Dirk is a great player but dude is not better than either Wade or Bron. You do know that defense is a huge factor, right?

  • MikeC.

    @BlackPhantom – once Peja goes 0 for 4, Carlisle might as well just sit him for the rest of the game and go with Brewer. Brewer can brick 3s, mishandle the ball and pass poorly. He can, however, D up, which Peja can’t. Why not play a guy that can at least slow Lebron/Wade for a couple mins.

  • aotearaw

    LOL@ Dirk > LeBron….come on now.

    3 more son!!! Heat is just too good at closing games out.

  • T-Money

    Juks, Dirk = Bron? On what planet? 2 ends to a basketball court. Quick points: 1- I’m not concerned with Bibby because he’s getting and taking the looks that Miami wants for him. I am concerned because it seems he left his 44% 3fg in ATL. 2- Heat has to stay away from Miller on Marion. Matrix takes him to the block err’day all day. Stick Miller on Kidd and let Wade handle Marion if you must. 3- JET is not going to score a lot in the 4th quarters if Bron is on him. 4- Barea missed easy looks, he’s still an X-factor. 5- Surprised that Miami outrebounded DAL.

  • http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com deron

    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://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    T-money: My point exactly on #5 — if Dallas is going to complain about the slow pace of the game, they need to be able to compete in the rebounding dept. so they can affect the game’s tempo. And besides, do they REALLY want the game to speed up? You’re up against two of the league’s best finishers in the open court, not sure you wanna take it there…

  • http://fkjslf.com Jukai

    Jesus people, I wasn’t really looking that deep into that statement. Yeah, Lebron is a more complete player. I was making a “two superstars vs one” statement.

  • MikeC.

    @melvin ely – I don’t think Dallas is going to complain about pace at all. Slow, half-court pace is exactly what they want. You’re right about the quicker pace, if it picks up, Wade and Lebron are going to be swinging from the rims all night.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    Everyone was missing shots. Haywood with the wide open jam? Every single floater from JJ. Jason Terry didn’t come back in for the second half, he just sent his tattoo. Kidd looked promising with the 2 threes in the first…and then Dirk obviously was bothered, missing every single drive, but not from the line. Cuban’s battle cry in the locker room was, “I assembled a motley crew of almost has-beens, how is this not working against three current all-stars??!”

  • http://pickandroll.tumblr.com/ airs

    no post up?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I liked what Carlisle did early as far as coaching, but wasn’t impressed with what he did late.
    I was impressed with Spoelstra’s plan for handling Dirk though.
    I said before the game to someone that Lebron should guard the Mavs second best player, and let Haslem handle Dirk with a double team. I thought that putting Bron on Dirk would basically waste him since nobody is shutting Dirk down one-on-one. If you put Lebron on the secondary guy, he can shut that guy down completely, forcing Dirk to either take bad shots over double teams, or continue to pass to teammates who miss shots they need to make.
    I like Marion on Wade early, did not like Kidd on Wade late. That was an obvious mismatch, as was Terry on Wade, another problem that I thought would be an issue before the series. Wade finally started taking the mid range jumpers he used to stroke with regularly a few years back because Kidd and Terry don’t have the foot speed to crowd him and don’t have the height to bother him like Marion.
    It will be interesting to see how both coaches adjust moving forward.

  • http://sohh.com teamplayer65

    Mr. Know-it-All stuck his foot in his mouth.

  • http://www.bulls.com Rigo Gonzalez

    Co-sign airs….no post up?

  • http://slamonline.com The Fresh Prince of Nsam

    Where’s Eboy?

  • aotearaw

    Where’s The Post Up for Game 1???