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With the 86-83 victory over the Heat, the Mavs have tied the series at two a piece.
The NBA Finals are all tied up again. And despite another low scoring game, it was just as exciting as the previous two.
- Lebron James has yet to have a great game in the Finals. Yes, he has played all right and has been mostly a help to his team, he only scored eight points in this game. His threes aren't falling and neither are his free throws. James was the primary closer for the Heat through most of the first three rounds of the playoffs and now he mostly has deferred to Dwyane Wade. If he shows up, these games may be too far out of reach for the Mavericks.
- Back up has arrived. Dirk Nowtizki continued his excellent play to help carry his team, but this time, his teammates were able to provide the support he needed. Jason Terry was very aggressive attacking the basket and sinking shots when he needed to. DeShawn Stevenson hit three huge three pointers to spark the Mavs. Shawn Marion showed he could still be a reliable role player. And Tyson Chandler had a double double, with 13 points and 16 rebounds. If his players can play this consistently, Dallas has an excellent shot to win.
- Nowitzki had a fever of 102 degrees. Anyone who has a fever knows it can be incredibly draining to participate in physical activity. Still, Dirk showed up, leading his team in points and again having a last second shot to put the Mavs up permanently. I know I've given Dirk a lot of credit this playoffs, but it's for good reason. He wants to win. Despite feeling sick, he showed up to win. Even when he was obviously exhausted at the end, he kept going. He is an absolute joy to watch.
- Foul calls are getting a little touchy. It really irks me when I see a game, in the Finals mind you, where the refs are calling flops and touching fouls. It's the playoffs, the ultimate stage, and they're still calling fouls that are equivalent to one player basically sneezing on another (although, maybe they would call that on Dirk for this one). For physical stuff, when they're hammering one another and not the ball, absolutely they should blow the whistle. Otherwise, just let them play! I'm not saying one team is getting more calls over another (a particular series when Lebron flopped away from a Dallas defender, and a Nowitzki rebound both come to mind). But these calls are just a little over the top.
- We're incredibly lucky. This series has been extremely entertaining despite the low score of 86-83. Last year was great, a historical match up of the Lakers and Celtics that went seven games. But this year is special. It's entertaining, compelling, and has a rooting interest. I've found that a lot of Houston and San Antonio fans root for the Heat over the rival Mavericks, while those who hated Lebron's decision root for the Mavs to take down a "hated" figure in the NBA. This series will probably end up going seven games, and, I really hope it does.