The Empire Strikes Back: Miami snatches Game 3 of the NBA Finals

LeBron James and the Miami Heat rise to the occasion
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Chris Bosh had his eye poked by Jason Kidd in the first half.

Didn’t matter.

He hit the game-winner anyway.

This time Dallas’s endgame rally fell short. This time Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t carry the Mavericks all the way.

And this time, Miami is just 2 wins away from becoming NBA champions.

Ewww. Shudder the thought. But that’s the reality on the horizon as every team, EVERY TEAM, that has won Game 3 after a 1-1 series tie in a 2-3-2 championship format series has eventually ended up with the title.

A few days after an embarrassing collapse on their home floor, the Heat struck back. Dwyane Wade, that prolific wunderkind, led the way by slicing and dicing in the first half and then hitting jumpers in the clutch. He might just get his second ring, and normally I wouldn’t mind, but it means LeBron’s going to get his too.

Dwyane Wade dazzled in Game 3
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


I’ve always thought Dallas would play much better at home, that if they got a split in Miami they could rattle off 3 straight to shatter the Evil Empire’s championship delusions, but the Mavs didn’t play any better. They fell behind early and couldn’t get any significant momentum. This time the endgame magic they’ve wielded consistently in these playoffs abandoned them.

And that’s also thanks to some great play from Miami’s reserves. Udonis Haslem’s value cannot be found on the stat sheet, but his defense on Dirk Nowitzki in the Mavs’ last two sequences was solid. Solid, too, was Mario Chalmers, hitting 4 threes to help repeatedly keep Dallas at bay.
Udonis Haslem & Mario Chalmers
stepped up big time
(image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

So now the shadow of a prospective reign of terror by the self-proclaimed King grows more apparent. LeBron is closer to the title he is entitled to. Thanks to Bosh. Thanks to Wade.

And thanks to the Mavs missing some chances.

2 more games in Dallas means 2 more chances to thwart Miami, to take potshots at the Death Star, to sabotage the mean Miami machine, to slow down the 3-headed beast. Dallas can no longer win the championship at home, but they can still win the championship.

There is still hope folks. Good still exists. But it’s fading, and fast.

JJ Barea and the Mavs missed a golden chance
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki couldn't deliver this time
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) 
Jason Kidd gets hammered by Dwyane Wade
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Shawn Marion couldn't offer enough support
(image by Mark Ralston/Getty Images)
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