Heat’s No. 82, Mavs’ No. 78 caused this

MIAMI – Why are we here?

No, that’s not meant as some angsty, existential question. It’s meant literally, as in why has The Finals shifted to Miami for Games 6 and 7 rather than to Dallas? How did the Heat end up with the homecourt advantage — the first two and the last two in the 2-3-2 format — and not the Mavericks?

The obvious answer is Miami’s 58-24 regular season record was better than Dallas’ 57-25 mark. The NBA, after all, doesn’t goofily award home-court for its championship series based on the outcome of the All-Star Game. Now some might argue that using raw W-L records isn’t really fair, since teams play more games within their conferences and make comparisons difficult. At least it’s a smarter way than baseball’s.

Look closely and you’ll see that Miami won its 82nd and final game of the regular season in a way that no one would have expected. And that’s what gave the Heat its one-victory edge on Dallas to set up The Finals schedule.

When Miami played at Toronto on April 13, almost nothing was at stake. It already had clinched the NBA’s Southeast Division crown and was locked into the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 playoff seed. It was the perfect time to rest the Big Three — Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh — and that’s exactly what coach Erik Spoelstra did. Spoelstra apparently did raise the prospect of future home-court edges but that wasn’t enough to lose the R&R.

“We said we have a lot of confidence in our teammates that they can pull this game out,” Wade recalled Saturday, after his team’s practice at AmericanAirlines Arena. “Juwan Howard, Eddie House, Big Cat [Jamaal Magliore] did a great job winning against Toronto.  Our teammates did help us out and put us in this position where we can have the last two games at home.”

The Miami supporting cast blew out the Raptors that night at Air Canada Centre 97-79. House scored 35 points and James Jones added 12, the two deep threats starting alongside Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby. House, Jones and Ilgauskas combined to spend about 99 minutes on the court that night.

They have played a total of 3:28 in The Finals, all by House in a scoreless Game 5 stint.

So that’s how The Finals set up this way — if you’re a half-full type and want to focus on Miami gaining that slim edge in the regular-season standings. If you prefer your glass half-empty, you can go back to April 6, when Dallas lost for the final time in 2010-11.

That one was a 104-96 defeat at home against Denver, capping a stretch in which Dallas went 8-9. Center Tyson Chandler was out, recovering from a bruised back, and guard Jason Kidd was resting his 38-year-old bones (the first of only two games Kidd missed all season). The Mavericks’ skid to that point had them worrying less about possible homecourt advantage in the playoffs — never mind The Finals — and more about how poorly they were playing.

“I don’t think it does any good to watch [the standings] now,” Dirk Nowitzki said that night.
Dallas won its final four games after that but the damage was done; that was the Mavs’ 25th loss, one more than Miami would have by season’s end.
So here we are now, near South Beach rather than near Southfork.

40 Comments

  1. Big SM says:

    Mavs in 6!!!

  2. ZedFed says:

    HEAT in 6!!

    • Big SM says:

      You really are a retard, even bad at arithmetics (2+2 in the best of 7 is what the Heat need)? Oops, you probably do not even know what I am talking about… My bad…

    • DIRK'S REVENGE!!! says:

      BLAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      Thats what you get for TRYING to ACT SMART!

  3. billy says:

    I don’t really think this matters at all. Dallas had the home court advantage in 2006 and lost in 6. So this is a good thing for the Mavs. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Miami got the No. 1 seed in the East, maybe the Bulls would have played better as the 2 seed. Maybe their series could have went six or seven instead of five. Or better yet, what if Cleveland wasn’t the No.1 seed in 2009 and 2010, maybe LeBron would have won a championship then, he would have never thought about going to Miami and D-Wade and Bosh wouldn’t be in the Finals now? They are going to be a lot of if’s, but I don’t think either Dallas or the Heat regrets anything that has happened in the regular season. Both teams are positioned the way that they wanted it, either the Mavs win tonight or Tuesday to win their first title or the Heat wins tonight and Tuesday to get their second.

  4. No idea says:

    I have absolutely no idea what this article is about. You trying to write about Heat’s arrogance at the last game of the season and Mavs’ unfortunateness, OR are you trying to wrtie about Heat’s confidence and Mavs’ ignorance at the end of the season? This article has absolutely no value here in the Finals at this point, as both teams are in this Finals 2011, and today is Game 6, this is all that is important. Mavs are not putting their minds on why they do not have the home court advangtage at this moment, they are locked in for Game 6. If you are trying to explain the exact insidence where this happened, you should have done it at before this Final Series began.

  5. heat fan says:

    Every one of Lechoke,s big performances in the fourth quarter,s of this playoff run (chi, bos) were all in situations where the Heat had nothing to loose….everythig is on the line tonight and I,m pleading w Spo to give JJones his mins in the fourth…3 pt champ has gotta be better than Mr ima tatoo “chosen one” on me den get owned by The real JET….sorry Kenny least u got mo rings…while Terry talks up n down the court about how Lechoke will do it again….JET looking prophetic…..or simply stating the obvious….
    Although I am a Heat fan i wud hav stoppd w dwade n bosh den tried fo CP3 or Deron…..lookin back in 20/20 of course lol Miami in 7!!!!! my wallet hopes so at least 😉

  6. theonlyguythatseesthetruth says:

    steve u big dummy, this article was the biggest waste of time, web usage, nba database usage etc. how is the last game of the season any different from the first? you can make a case for each and every game of both the mavs and the heat for the outcome of the season records for both teams. am i the only guy that sees the math and understanding behind this or are y’all just as dumb as this steve dude?

  7. robbay2 says:

    If Jones has a bad shooting night he is useless.

  8. Andrew says:

    Weakness and strength. Thats what is this game all about. Dallas turnover is the key. If Dallas will not commit turnovers. They will win this Championship. If heat will not make a three pointer they will not make it.

  9. dadalas says:

    Mark cuban pay’s for lebron james.

  10. I feel like eating Texas food tonight

  11. AJ says:

    The mavs have just as good a record on the road asthey have at home. The finals would be over tonight.

  12. chris says:

    I like that player of the Miami Cheat bench…What´s his name? Le..Lebron James…But I don´t understand why Spoelstra (he´s the coach, right? I can´t tell) plays this James player in the fourth quarter, the guy can t guard, can´t score.

  13. W.s. says:

    Any player who steps out of line by coming to play in an unacceptable condition will be fired.

  14. Dazed says:

    They are going to hold over the game for another week because so many people are coming to see it.

  15. Big Z says:

    Big Z guard Big D….! period.

  16. carriemiles says:

    In a poll of 100 jersy folks, roughly 1 or 2 people actually care about pro hoops…No one follows pro hoops inJersey. Get a clue. Average attendence for NETS games is about 2000. Heck, they didnt even sell out when they made The Finals. Next… http://bit.ly/kexzx9

  17. MIAMI cHEAT says:

    spo take off your shoes and slap lqj face…

  18. watcher says:

    Ah Toronto. Letting Kobe go off for 81 with single coverage is one thing. Letting House score 35 on 30 odd shots and losing that game is a testament to the Triano treadmill that was going nowhere fast. Miami lost a couple of unlosables and the Mavs had a meltdown of their own v the Hornets and lost 8 of 10 while Dirk was sidelined. All academic now. I kinda get the feeling that home court isn’t gonna be the big issue now.

    • Carl says:

      It isn’t. We clearly know that now more than ever. Dallas won Game 2 in Miami, Miami won Game 3 in Dallas. It’s just a matter of who wants it more, and it appears to be Dallas.

  19. Zephyr says:

    My dog is my best friend. For one thing, he is always there when I need him

  20. Texas Yall says:

    Mavs IN 6

    “Tough like Texas”

  21. Wet sand says:

    Some of the players in Miami Heat understand the game so poorly that it is difficult to get through to them.

  22. Jake says:

    Why hasn’t James Jones played in the Finals?

  23. haroon says:

    heat in 7 .. i hope

  24. asar says:

    what’s the relevance of this to this point in the Finals? Main thing is Miami should close out and improve in clutch games against the Mavs.

  25. GGpplz says:

    Woah…Jamaal Magloire plays on the Heat?
    I didn’t know that 😛

  26. m says:

    maybe dallas learned 2006, that it is more important to have game5 at home.

  27. Joeysays says:

    Wow I guess there was nothing else to really write about huh..?

  28. ZedFed says:

    I’d like to see Magloire get some playing time. He played in the Chicago series why hasn’t Spo played him yet; he’s got six PFs to use on Chandler and grab some boards in the meantime, he could also spell Anthony for the 4th Qtr. I’d like to see a big man line up of J.Ho and Jamal at some time during game six; and why hasn’t James Jones gotten any playing time, he is certainly as good as Chalmers for a clutch three. I see a breakout game from the bench next game, not that their 40pts in the last game was anything to scoff at, but this time it will be with a healthy Wade.

    • DIRK'S REVENGE!!! says:

      What, NO CONSPIRACY THEORIES?!

      I’m disappointed … your post doesn’t have anyhting TRULY LAUGHABLE OR RIDICULOUS in it …

      Has someone been hijacking your screen name?

  29. StarlessHeat says:

    If I were in Spo shoes, I wouldn´t take too many risks…

  30. Should we give a big hand to each preformer as The Heat is introduced, or should we wait until all the introductions are finished?

  31. Manuel_heat says:

    If Dallas drag their feet while their walk, they ´ll wear down their shoes quickly.

  32. Dallas can´t be serious about what they said. They must be putting us on.

  33. Sorry but Miami lost against Bucks on regular season.
    I wouldn´t blame Spo cuz JJ, EH or Big cat haven´t played enough minutes on post seaon.