The Miami Heat's 92-84 victory in game one of the 2011 NBA finals over the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night in Miami will prove to be a huge stepping stone in the maturation of this perennial finals participant of the future.
The Miami Heat walk away with the victory on Tuesday night in Miami and all Dallas Mavericks fans can think about is one big middle finger. Dirk Nowitzki suffered a torn tendon in the middle finger of his left hand and although he is likely to play in game two on Thursday night, it's most likely going to be with a splint on that finger. Via ESPN.
"So I tore a tendon in there. I guess it will be all right. I have to wear a splint probably the rest of the playoffs, I'll be all right for Thursday."
Nowitzki believes he'll be alright for Thursday's game but the problem is that even when they had him in the game and healthy, they weren't that effective offensively. The Mavericks scored just 17 points in both the first and third quarters when Nowitzki was in there playing. The Miami Heat are just plain more talented and when they play the kind of defense down the stretch like we saw tonight, they won't be beaten. This series will not see a game 6, maybe not even a game 5 at this point.
The Mavericks had an 8-point lead early in the third quarter, but a 22-10 run to close out the quarter by Miami put the Heat in prime position to close out this game. It's something they've grown accustomed to over the course of this playoff season. The defensive intensity that is being put on display by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James is something that we'll be seeing in these finals for a very long time.
"We really didn't play well at all tonight, first quarter, 17 points and third quarter, 17 -- that's not our style of basketball. Give them credit. They disrupted our tempo and they finished at the end."
What we're seeing on the court right now is history in the making. "The decision" might have been a complete flop in a public relations move, but this is what most people feared when LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. They figured it out together and they are just more talented than everyone else, combine that with defensive effort and the rest of the NBA has a problem. That problem right now is for head coach of the Mavericks, Rick Carlisle to try and figure out.
Dirk Nowitzki may be able to play Thursday night and the injured finger might not affect his shooting too much, but it's still going to affect other parts of his game like his dribbling and passing. Defenders will know that dribbling with that hand is going to be difficult so they will adjust their defense accordingly.
The Mavericks have one thing going for them. This is setting up to be an all-time type moment if they can somehow pull this off, Dirk Nowitzki leading them with a torn tendon and beating Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and company.
The problem is that it won't happen.
For live coverage of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, keep it tuned to this StoryStream. To see the up-to-the-minute score, along with information from around SB Nation on the game, keep your browser on this Heat-Mavs score page. Throughout the NBA Finals, check out our 2011 NBA Finals hub for more coverage. For more on the two teams, Mavericks fans should head over to Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas, while Heat fans should check out Peninsula Is Mightier.