Dwyane Wade drilled a 3-pointer from the right corner to give Miami a 15-point lead with 7:14 left to play.
Then, as Joakim Noah would say, the Heat turned “Hollywood as hell.”
The Heat celebrated. They beat their chest. They hooted and hollered as if the game was over, as if Dallas was going to roll over. Instead, Miami got rolled. A game-ending 22-5 run silenced American Airlines Arena and stunned the Heat as the Mavericks walked out of Miami with a 95-93 win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. The series now shifts to Dallas knotted at one game apiece.
And the Heat is going to hate watching the film from this one.
Dallas deserves credit for doing it again, for clawing back from a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit. The Mavs pulled similar comebacks against the Lakers and Thunder, and they proved once and for all Thursday, against a more experienced team than the Thunder, that they know what it takes to get it done down the stretch.
But Miami blew this one. Plain and simple. The Heat’s offense self-destructed. There was too much one-on-one, too much standing around and too many jump shots.
Miami’s defense dug in and remained solid enough to win the game. But when the run continued to grow, even the Heat’s defense grew deficient. The same rotations that were so dominant through three quarters were slow and halfhearted late in this one. But just two additional sound offensive possessions would have saved this win and, perhaps, sparked sweep talk in a few circles.
And you have to start by looking at LeBron James. With the outcome becoming more and more uncertain, James played so raggedly and recklessly it seemed he had no idea what stage he was on. Miami coach Erik Spoelstra should share in the blame. Because on most trips down the court, the Heat allowed LeBron to take dominate the ball and take one ill-advised shot after another without so much as looking for his other two stars.
Here’s all you need to know about how horrendous the Heat was offensively. After Wade dumped in that 3-pointer at the seven-minute mark, he took only two shots the rest of the way. One of those shots was a failed runner as time expired. Wade touched the ball only five times in the final five minutes. One of those “touches” was a tap out of yet another ill-advised shot by James.
Following Wade’s 3 that bumped the lead to 15, the final 14 possessions by the Heat were just hideous. Here’s what they did:
1) Wade missed a 3 with 6:32 left
2) Mario Chalmers missed a 3 with 5:52 left.
3) LeBron missed a point blank layup following an aggressive drive with 5:30 left.
4) Chris Bosh missed a 22-footer at the shot clock buzzer.
5) LeBron attacked the basket and earned a trip to the foul line, making both with 4:10 remaining.
6) LeBron dribbled at the top of the key for 18 seconds before taking and missing a step back 18 footer with 3:28 left.
7) Bosh turned it over on baseline drive with 2:53 left.
8) Udonis Haslem missed an open 18-footer off a feed from Wade with 2:23 showing.
9) LeBron dribbled around the arc for 22 seconds before launching and missing a contested 3 at the top of the key with 1:33 left.
10) Wade tapped out the offensive rebound to Bosh, who immediately fed it back to James near halfcourt. After a few Heat ball screens and off-ball motion got defended nicely by Dallas, the ball found its way back into LeBron’s hands at the top of the key with five seconds on the shot clock. LeBron settled for another 3, this time missing a fadeaway over the outstretched arm of Dirk Nowitzki.
11) Haslem secures the offensive rebound but gets stripped under the basket by Jason Terry. Haslem recovers but has to throw it up in an attempt to save it as he’s falling out of bounds. The Mavs wind up with the loose ball and leak out on a 3-on-1 before Dirk ties the game at 90 on a layup with 57.6 seconds left.
12) The Heat finally run a set to get Wade the ball, but Wade then settles for a 3-point attempt over Shawn Marion. He misses with 38 seconds left. Dirk gets the board and nails a wide open 3 at the other end to cap a 20-2 run and give Dallas a 93-90 lead with 26.7 seconds left. LeBron and Bosh just stand there and watch as Dirk loads, aims and fires.
13) Miami ties the game just 2.2 seconds later after Chalmers squirts free on an out-of-bounds play. Terry is loafing at the top of the key, which allows Chalmers to find space in the right corner. Chalmers drills the 3 after LeBron fires a pinpoint pass on the inbounds pass from the opposite sideline.
14) After burning its final timeout following Dirk’s go-ahead 3, Miami had to go the length of the court following Dirk’s game-winning layup with 3.6 seconds remaining. Wade inbounded to LeBron. LeBron shot it back to Wade just before crossing halfcourt. And Wade had to fire a running 3-pointer two steps past halfcourt for the potential game-winner.
The Heat had 14 possessions in the final seven minutes. They took nine jumpers. They got three solid possessions, one ending in a missed layup. And they turned it over twice.
And now we have a series.