NBA Finals 2011: 5 Players on Mavericks Who Must Help Dirk Nowitzki Beat Heat
Just as Wade’s trusted sidekick LeBron James has been the second leading scorer for two out of the three games in these Finals. Shawn Marion has maintained a second leading scorer status for the Mavericks in two out of three games as well.
What is the big difference between the two teams and their leading scorers?
While James and Wade have maintained their averages throughout the regular season and all the way to the finals, Mavericks cannot say that they’ve maintained their composure in this series.
The lone exception being Dirk Nowitzki.
As Dallas finds itself down two games to one going into a pivotal game four tonight, there are the five players that need to step up and help Nowitzki beat the Heat.
5. DeShawn Stevenson
DeShawn Stevenson had shot made all of his shots in game three versus the Heat.
Stevenson shot 100 percent from the field and from beyond the three point line.
How many points would you say he scored?
Three points. Yes, three points. Now I’m not saying that Stevenson should’ve kept shooting until he missed, but it would’ve been nice to attempt a couple of more shots and see if they went in.
Stevenson is not a prolific scorer and his value is mainly his defense. But even then Stevenson efforts proved useless. In 14 minutes in game three, Stevenson didn’t register a single steal, block and just one rebound.
If Dallas is to win then Stevenson must score more, which isn’t likely, or big a larger defensive presence on the court. Either way, Mavericks need his help because Nowitzki just can’t do it alone.
4. Brendan Haywood
Brendan Haywood doesn’t need to as much as step up, but just to be able to stay healthy in these finals.
Haywood is a big the reason why Dallas was able to get all the way into the Finals and Mavericks need him now more than ever.
Haywood is averaging 3.3 PPG and 4.3 RPG in just under 16 minutes in these playoffs. Not great numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but he does average more than one block a game as well.
Haywood’s defensive is what Mavericks are lacking without Haywood in their lineup.
A game time decision for tonight’s Game 4, even a limping Haywood could prove better than no Haywood at all.
3. Peja Stojakovic
Mavericks brought in Peja Stojakovic to be their long range threat and for now those efforts are yet to pay off for Dallas in the Finals.
It’s a scary moment when Stojakovic is matched up against Lebron James or Dwyane Wade on a pick-and-roll switch and that is why I or no one else on this earth expects Stojakovic to be a defensive stopper at this stage of his career. Not that he was a great defender earlier in his career either.
Stojakovic has scored just two points in the Finals and that is just unacceptable.
Paja’s only weakness happens to be moving his feet and that is why he’s being overmatched on defense and unable to get his shot off against a quicker defender.
But for Dallas’ chances to win another game in this series to increase, Stojakovic must make shots that no one expects him to make.
2. J.J. Barea
J.J. Barea, or The Jet Jr. as I’d like to call him, has been almost non-existent in the Finals.
Barea is averaging a paltry 4.3 PPG, as opposed to the 11.4 points that he averaged against the Oklahoma City Thunder or the 11.5 PPG that he averaged against the four game second-round sweep of the Los Lakers.
Where in the world is J.J. Barea?
What Barea should do is stop trying to draw offensive fouls and instead concentrate on playing pesky defense. He was small and quick against other opponents, but in this series the Heat are able to match his play.
If your game isn’t clicking then it might be time to try something different.
1. Jason Terry
While Jason Terry’s scoring average inst far off from what he’d averaged in this previous series against the Oklahoma City Thunder—15.4 PPG against the Thunder, as opposed to 14.33 PPG against the Heat—Terry is yet to score more than 20 point against the Heat in the Finals.
In 15 games of the first three rounds of these playoffs Terry has scored more than 20 points on seven different occasions. That’s at least 20 points in 46.66 percent of Dallas’ games through the first three rounds.
Terry needs a big game, a break out game if you will, in order to spur a Dallas comeback in this series.
For more playoff info follow Artem Altman via Twitter.com/ArtemAltman.