NBA Finals: Offense trumps defense
Lost in the exhilaration of Dallas’ NBA Finals conquest of Miami is this little nugget: Offense beat defense. That doesn’t happen often at the highest levels of basketball.
You don’t get to the NBA Finals without being good both offensively and defensively. But clearly, Miami was a superior defensive team. In some ways, an historically dominant defensive team, with wing defenders like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade cutting off most lanes. When Mario Chalmers was at point guard, the Heat was superb defensively on the perimeter, and Miami had solid inside defenders like Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh.
Yet Dallas’ kicked into a higher gear and won the title with its offense. In fact, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle made the move of sacrificing defense for offense, by inserting J.J. Barea into the starting lineup.
Dallas had scratched out a 2-2 series tie through four games, despite scoring 84, 95, 86 and 86 points. The series appeared destined for a grinding finish. But in the last two games, Dallas won 112-103 and 105-95 with remarkable offense.
The Mavericks shot 53 percent from the field those final two games. Think about that. Against an superb defensive team, in the two most pressure-packed games of the season, Dallas made 80 of 151 shots; 56.5 percent in Game 5, 50 percent in Game 6.
Everyone has locked in on the Heat’s offense, primarily LeBron’s, but in those last two games, the Heat shot 52.9 percent and 47.2 percent from the field, and also got to the foul line at a winning rate — 26 foul shots in Game 5, 33 in Game 6.
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