Dallas vs. Miami Game 4 Postgame Analysis

By Charles Klask, Advance Scout, Orlando Magic

Over–Turned: Miami did a great job of securing the ball in the first half which helped limit Dallas’ easy basket opportunities. They had four turnovers, their fewest for a first half in the series. The Heat were previously averaging a shade under 10 first half turnovers and 13 points off those turnovers per game until Game 4.

Dwyane Wade's entire mindset has exploded since Game 3 and the Mavs defenders have third-degree burns. Howard, Harris, and Griffin will be applying the aloe all weekend, trying to recover from the last five quarters. His relentless attacking continues and his added confidence has stoked his outside shooting. He now feels like he is in complete control.

Wade has countered whatever defense Dallas throws at him.

When Howard is playing a step-off to protect the drive, he shoots, when Griffin or Harris get too tight he drives or uses a screen, if Dallas tries to deny him the ball, Miami has him handle the point duties. After trying to force the series onto Shaq for two games, the Heat have prospered by realizing that this is Wade’s team and will be for many seasons. The following charts dissect just how Wade worked out in Game 4.

Game 4: Wade’s point production based upon type of shot

Shot Type Points % of Points
Drive Left 4 11.10
Drive Right 4 11.10
Lay-up 3 8.30
Pull Up Jumper 15 41.70
Post Right Shoulder Drop Step 2 5.60
Spot Up Jumper 8 22.20
Grand Total 36 100

Game 4: Wade’s points from portion of the offense

Offensive Setting Points % of Points
Baseline Out of Bounds 2 5.6
Half Court 15 41.7
Pick and Roll 9 25
Transition 5 13.9
Zone 5 13.9
Grand Total 36 100

Then there's Wade's points when he was uncontested (7 or 19.4 percent) and contested (29 or 81.6 percent).

And who was Wade scorching? Let's look:

Vs. Who? Scoring Attempts Contested Shots Points % of Points
Harris 11 10 17 47.2
Nowitzki 3 2 7 19.4
Griffin 2 2 2 5.6
Howard 5 5 5 13.9
Stackhouse 2 2 0 0
Team (no player) 3 1 2 5.6
Terry 1 1 3 8.3

Miami couldn’t keep it secure though. In the second half they squandered 14 turnovers, 11 of which were forced by the defense. They actually went on a streak of 13 turnovers in 13 minutes from seven minutes remaining in the third to 6:06 of the fourth quarter.

Flash-Flood: Healthy or hurt, possum or player, act hurt eight times score nine times, "Ouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or whatever proverb you want to choose from, Wade has been nothing short of Wade.

Doubling Offense: Miami has done a great job of adjusting to the Mavericks double-teaming defense. Riley devised multiple schemes to overloading the strong side to spreading the floor in different ways.

The most utilized adjustment is the change in Haslem's location. Primarily they have him positioned around the opposite elbow which makes it a short rotation for Dirk to double from. They had been mixing it up by placing UD along the weak-side baseline. When Haslem is out they can put Walker or Posey extended on the perimeter. With their ability to shoot, doubling becomes a greater risk. The odds change dramatically by who gets what shots. Another way that the Heat are forcing the favorable rotations is by changing which player feeds Shaq and who is positioned in that critical second spot removed.

Miami is trying to have the smallest, and hence, the least effective possible player to double Shaq. Dallas did a much better job when doubling with comparable height (Dirk) because Shaq hasn’t been bothered by gnat like guards swarming him.

Feeding off Shaq: Miami has adjusted quite nicely from the first two games. They are playing off of Shaq’s touches in multiple ways. Shaq is waiting for the rotation and re-posting. Miami is also mixing up the surrounding players location and movements. Here is a chart that details what type of defense is being played on Shaq and how many points the Heat are scoring off his touches.

Defense used against Shaq in Game 4
Their percentage of points is derived by total points off the post

Defense Post Touches Points Off the Post % of Points
Doubling from the 2nd Removed Defender 16 10 32
Doubling from the Corner 1 3 9.6
Front into back-side Double 2 0 0
Double of High / Low 1 3 9.6
Single Coverage 8 15 48
Total 28 attempts 31 points 100

Mave-Bricks: Dallas has prided themselves on being a quality shooting team that works for quality shots. They have had the luxury of not having to rely on outside shooting only to beat a team and focused on attacking the basket all season.

In Game 4 the Mavericks settled for too many jump shots and stopped their persistent penetration that has carried them this far. Credit must be granted to the smoldering Heat defense that inhaled the Mavs driving lanes for most of the night.

Two-sum not adding up: Dallas cannot expect to win another game with only one of their three key contributors. Howard and Dirk combined for only 3–22 shooting (.136 ).

In the first three games that same duo averaged 39 points or 41 percent of the total points scored compared to only 19 points in Game 4 or 25 percent of the teams points. Critiquing their games vs. their counterparts and the Heat tandem of Walker and Posey and the Texas twosome was outscored by 10. (Josh and Dirk will be Players on the Spot in Game 5.)

Composure: Dallas has shown great composure this entire year. Rarely did I ever see this team get easily frazzled by an opponent or official. Avery has done a great job of eliminating players complaining about calls or getting into individual competitions or any situations that might distract them from the teams agenda. I don’t see this team unraveling but the Josh Howard technical was out of character and might be an indicator of how bad Miami is getting to the Mavs.

Boarder Patrol = Series Control: Miami has made a concerted effort to dominate the glass with Chihuly-like artistry. They are a plus-17 in their wins and have received help from various players.

While they did give up a series high 11 offensive rebounds in Game 4 (six in the first quarter), that number is high because Dallas had one possessions that featured four offensive rebounds and another that contained three.

Cruel irony for the Mavs: On both of those multi-offensive-rebound possessions the Mavs failed to score.

Starting Off: Dallas has sputtered in most of their first quarters and averages a deficit of five points per game after 12 minutes. (The Heat have led by an average of 26.8-21.8.)

Dallas tried to combat this by using a different starting lineup with Harris instead of Griffin. They were trying to get quicker and more offensive minded so Wade would have to defend Harris rather than of rest on Griffin. Harris does a great job on the defensive end.

X-Factor Miami: Posey: With Udonis getting into frequent foul trouble, James Posey was called to duty. He has played a solid series defensively on Dirk but Game 4 featured an offensive night that topped his other three games combined. He has been contributing well on the defensive end and on the glass but in Game 4 shot 5 for 9 for 15 points.

The defensive duo of he and Haslem on Dirk has been significant in every game. Honorable mention to Shandon Anderson for aggressive play on both ends. His valuable ‘veteranism’ (Flip Murray’s term) showed in Game 4.

X-Factor Dallas: Mystery. No one really brought their A-game. Stackhouse bounced back from a poor Game 3 with quality touches and Terry had an efficient night with eight points in transition and six points off pick and rolls.

Stat of the Night -- Dal-last Quarter Woes: Seven points in the fourth set new record for low points in a quarter for a Finals game. Despite yanking most of their stars with 4:30 remaining, the Mavericks shot a dismal 11 percent on 2 for 18 from the floor and 0 for 8 from behind the arc.

Charles Klask is an advance scout for the Orlando Magic, holding the position the last three seasons after spending the previous three as a video scout. Prior to joining the Magic, Klask spent one season with the WNBA's Detroit Shock in the role of video coordinator.