NBA Game 2 Recap - MLB's Top Weekend Series
THE NBA FINALS
MAVS "GET EVEN" WITH FURIOUS FOURTH-QUARTER COMEBACK WIN IN GAME #2 (BUT THERE'S LOTS OF QUESTIONS WE WANT ANSWERED!)
PLUS BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES INCLUDES THE TOP NL AND AL MATCHUPS THIS JUNE WEEKEND (THAT'S BREWERS-MARLINS AND YANKEES-ANGELS)
By Jim Hurley
Let's just say that when push-came-to-shove, it was the Dallas Mavericks who "took their talents to South Beach".
The Mavs - almost hopelessly down 15 points with seven-plus minutes remaining in a gotta-have-it Game #2 of the NBA Finals - stepped it up on both ends of the floor while the Miami Heat took its collective foot off the gas pedal.
Don't ask why!
The fact of the matter is that Dallas' stirring 95-93 win against the 4 ½-point home favorite Heat wound up dripping with ironies as Mavs megastar Dirk Nowitzki scored not one but two left-handed buckets in the game's final 57 seconds - so much for that much-ballyhooed torn tendon in his left (non-shooting) hand - and he wound up netting seven big points overall inside the game's final minute of play while the Heat failed to double-cover him and/or give a foul late ...think Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is kicking himself over that non-decision (even though he pooh-poohed the question in the post-game press conference).
If you are keeping a scorecard, note that Miami's LeBron James shot 0-4 from the field in the final quarter and sidekick Dwyane Wade - who did appear to get clipped in the eye by Nowitzki on that last-second half-court heave - finished with a game-high 36 points but didn't score a basket in the game's final seven-plus minutes while Miami scored just one hoop in all (the Mario Chalmers uncontested triple from the corner with 24.5 seconds left in the game) in the final 7:15.
Go ahead and try to explain that one when/if the Heat lose this best-of-seven series!
Much more analysis from Mavs-Heat Game #2 in just a moment but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Finals action - that's both the Sides & Totals, folks - as the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks hook up in Game #3 from Texas on Sunday night (8 p.m. ET tip) on ABC-TV. Just remember to call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or go online right here and make sure you're all aboard for the ground-breaking hoops winners. Plus, make sure you stay with us right through the summer with all our Major-League Baseball winners!
THE NBA FINALS - GAME #2 IN REVIEW
DALLAS 95, MIAMI 93 - Series tied 1-1
Again, there's plenty of questions that need to be answered if you're the Miami Heat today: First and foremost, why did the Heat take its foot off the gas pedal after jumping out to an 88-73 lead with seven-plus minutes left?
All of a sudden those driving dunks dried up - and note that the Mavs "went small" for part of the time here as they rested C Tyson Chandler and didn't have the services of a an injured Brendan Haywood - and Miami started milking the shot clock and then getting bad perimeter looks at the hoop.
Was it the old Pat Riley saying about "fool's gold" because the Heat attempted a whopping 30 three-point field goals and even Spoelstra afterwards was dumbfounded as to why that was the case - Miami netted 9 trifectas in all but it was obvious late that dependency on the three-point shot was a huge mistake.
Here's another question:
Why have the Heat suddenly forgot to make their free throws?
You may recall in yesterday's edition of Jim Sez we suggested that missing charity stripe tosses could have come back to bite 'em in Game #1 but no doubt the shabby 16-of-24 FT rate in Game #2 (that's just 66.7 percent) helped to ruin the night for the home team as Wade missed four of his 12 FTs and James and Chalmers each bagged just 2-of-4 foul shots ...not good enough when it's an NBA Finals!
Than there was the matter of the boards:
In Miami's 92-84 win in Game #1 of this series the Heat pounded the glass with 16 offensive caroms but here Dallas won the battle of the backboards 41-to-30 (now that's highly significant) and Miami managed only six offensive rebs on the night - where was the intensity off missed shots, guys?
Final question of the day here:
Why have the Heat allowed the likes of Shawn Marion (20 points and 8 rebs in Game #2) and reserve G Jason Terry (half of his 16 points came in the fourth quarter) to be born again in this series when Miami surely has the defensive stoppers who can silence 'em?
Marion's key hoops allowed the Mavs to hang around while Nowitzki (10-of-22 FGs) struggled a bit early on while Terry found creases for open shots late plus was "handed" six points on the free-throw line and even "The Jet" said afterwards that making some foul shots is what got him in rhythm.
Hey, "Big Three" that was some "Big Flop".
And now we do - indeed - have a series with the next three games in Dallas.
Someone strap in Mark Cuban already!
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
Here's a quick-hitter look at the top National and American league series this first weekend in June:
In the NL, it's ...MILWAUKEE (30-26) at FLORIDA (31-23) - Fri, Sat, Sun & Mon
Now here's a bombshell four-game "wrap-around" series that probably won't draw all that much national attention - but did the national media ever know about covering June baseball?
The fact of the matter is the Brewers have been surging lately - the NL Central squad has won seven of its last 10 overall but what can they do here about that shabby 9-19 road record?
Maybe middle-of-the-order thumpers LF Ryan Braun (.306, 12 HR and 40 RBI) and 1B Prince Fielder (.291, 11 HR and 42 RBI) will be able to "square up" a few pitches here against a Marlins staff that's without RHP Josh Johnson but still armed-and-dangerous with underrated righty Anibal Sanchez (5-1, 2.57 ERA and two complete games) slated to get a start sometime during this lengthy series.
One major key for the Fish is how do righty hitters RF Mike Stanton (12 HR and 32 RBI) and 1B Gaby Sanchez (9 HR and 35 RBI) fare against Milwaukee ace Zach Greinke who is 4-0 with one no-decision in his last five starts.
In the AL, it's ...NEW YORK YANKEES (31-23) at LOS ANGELES ANGELS (29-29) - Fri, Sat & Sun
Don't look now but the New York Yankees currently own the longest winning streak (four in a row) in the jumbled AL East but the $64,000 question here is how much is that owed to the fact that neither Seattle nor Oakland can hit the baseball?
The Yanks have allowed a grand total of six runs during this mini-winning streak that includes a just-completed three-game sweep against the A's as four NYY hurlers - that's CC Sabathia, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett - each snagged wins and it also appears that long-time slumper RF Nick Swisher is coming out of his season-long funk as he pounded a three-run dinger in Wednesday afternoon's 4-2 win against host Oakland.
On the flip side, the Angels' best chance to win a game comes this evening when ace RHP Jered Weaver (6-4, 2.10 ERA) draws up-and-down Yanks starter Ivan Nova (4-3, 4.67) but if you wish to dig a little deeper with LAA's possible fortunes this weekend than look for 1B Mark Trumbo (10 HR and 28 RBI) to be a key figure and keep an eye on new Angels slugger Russell Branyan who could be that "check-mate" guy when/if the Yanks bring closer Mariano Rivera into the game late.
Okay, so here's some key numbers in the world of MLB:
19 - That's how many members of the New York Mets played in Thursday's come-from-way-behind 9-8 win at Cit Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Mets - who rallied from down 7-0 after 2 ½ innings - earned their biggest come-from-behind win since June of 2000 when a Mike Piazza-led Mets team surged back late from an 8-1 deficit at home against the Atlanta Braves (you remember that one, don't you?). Mets manager Terry Collins even used pitcher Chris Capuano as an eighth-inning pinch-hitter in a bunting situation but after a Pirates balk, Capuano was instead pinch-hit for by Josh Thole who walked. The Mets - who earned a split of the four-game series against the improved Buccos -- were out-hit 14-9 but eight different Mets scored a run including Thole and pinch-runner/Wednesday night "goat" Willie Harris.
1.64 - Here's the ERA of Los Angeles Angels aforementioned RHP Weaver in his last three starts and yet he hasn't won a single game since a 5-0 triumph over the Oakland A's way back on April 25th. No question the Halos have not exactly pounded the ball in Weaver starts as these last three outings have seen LAA score a grand total of four runs. P.S., you might be interested in knowing Weaver's allowed 61 hits in 85.2 innings this season ...wow!
4-for-5 - That's what Washington Nationals 1B Michael Morse did in last night's easy-as-pie 6-1 win at Arizona as the NL East team began its marathon 11-game road trip. Morse - who had four singles while scoring two runs and knocking in two other runs - is now hitting .319 and that made him the only .300-plus hitter in the Nats lineup last night in the desert.
NOTE: Get more NBA Finals Updates in the next edition of Jim Sez and remember to catch our Game #3 Preview this weekend right here.
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