The Phantom Menace: Miami takes Game 1 of the NBA Finals

Tyson Chandler was saddled and rattled in Game 1
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Make no mistake.

This sucks.

For a while there, I thought the Dallas Mavericks could steal one already. They limited Miami to only 39% shooting and held them below the century mark.

“You hold a team to 38 percent shooting and 92 points, for us, that’s usually a victory,” said Shawn Marion.

Chris Bosh did well against
Dallas's towering frontline
(image by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)

But, like they’ve proven against Boston and Chicago, the Miami Heat, when everyone clicks in the fourth quarter, are next to none in closing games. Yes, these are the same Heat chided for that same thing mid-season. They’re out there proving everyone wrong and making non-believers jump onto the bandwagon.

But not me.

I still cling to the hope that there is still some good left in the league, and that the Dallas Mavericks can earn a split after Game 2.

But they need to change some things if they’re to do that.

Tyson Chandler must grab 14 boards, not the 4 he had here.

Dirk Nowitzki has to regain his velvet touch. The fade-aways he hit with impunity against Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison were clanging off the rim in this one.

Jason Terry needs to get fired up. Where’s the swagger? Where are the spread-eagle arms after making a play? Come on and turn up those jets, er, Jet!

And these three have to at least be solid: JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic, and Brendan Haywood. Barea especially.
JJ Barea didn't play his usual
tall self
(image by Don Emmert/Getty Images)

He hounded and haunted the Lakers and the Thunder, but he seemed to be the one hounded and haunted by the menacing phantoms of Miami here. The spunky spitfire needs to spit more fire at the Heat, if at all that’s possible.

Peja has to hit his open 3s. That’s all he has to do. Make those, and the Mavs win. No brainer.

And Mr. Haywood please jump a centimeter higher and make that wide open dunk. Please.

All those things are elementary – things Dallas mastered out West, but it seems anxiety, and the heat (pun there) got to them in South Beach.

Come on Mavs! Beat those Heat! Don’t let Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller hit 5 3s between them. Don’t let Udonis Haslem be his disruptive self. Freeze the Heat and exorcise the phantoms of 2006!

Steal Game 2 and give those who believe in all things honorable and true, a new hope.
Dirk Nowitzki had a off-night in Game 1
(image by Don Emmert/Getty Images)
Has LeBron become the King of Closers?
(image by David Phillip/Getty Images)
Dejected Dallas
(image by the AP)
Pat Riley might just get the title he paid for when
he got LBJ and CB on board
(image by the AP)
Dwyane Wade hit some tough shots in the 2nd half
(image by Don Emmert/Getty Images)

LBJ and D-Wade take over in the 4th Quarter:

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