By Shandel D. Richardson, for NBA.com
Posted Wednesday June 1, 2011 12:55AM
THE FACTS: The Miami Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. The Heat lead the series 1-0. Forward LeBron James led the Heat with 24 points and nine rebounds while guard Dwyane Wade added 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
The Heat trailed by eight in the third quarter before turning things around. James hit an off-balanced 3-pointer at the end of the quarter to put Miami ahead by four. Miami limited the Mavericks to just 37 percent shooting, slowing star forward Dirk Nowitzki. He finished with 27 points, but shot just 7 of 18 from the field. Forward Shawn Marion added 16 points and 10 rebounds.
In a defensive battle, Miami shot poorly as well, making 38 percent from the field. The difference was the Heat's 16 offensive rebounds and 11 of 24 shooting from the 3-point arc.
QUOTABLE: "Well, again, that was a grind. It's tough. That's a very skilled offensive team. We didn't get into much of an offensive flow the entire game. This was more of probably a defensive battle."
-- Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra.
THE STAT: The Heat won the offensive rebounding battle 16-6. The second-chance points were vital in Miami overcoming a second-half deficit and staying close in the first half.
TURNING POINT: The moment Wade joined the party in the second half. After allowing James and Chris Bosh to carry the early load, Wade finished strong with seven fourth-quarter points. The Heat are fine with this as long as Wade arrives at some point. He played the same way throughout the Chicago Bulls series in the Eastern Conference finals.
QUOTABLE II: "We'll play better. I'm very certain of that. Again, we had some opportunities that, shot we normally make, they didn't go down. And so that was tough."
-- Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle.
HOT: James shot 9 of 16 from the field, but more importantly hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range. That made things difficult for the Mavs' defense and eventually opened things up for him and Wade to drive to the basket.
NOT: Nowitzki scored 27 points, but had to work hard to get them. He shot just 7 of 18 from the field, with most of his production coming from the foul line. The Mavs will need him to perform like he did in the previous two rounds to have any sort of chance.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Wade finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Not bad for a player who was virtually a non-factor in the first half.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Jimmy Buffet, Gloria Estefan, Ludacris, Queen Latifah, Terrell Owens.
GOOD MOVE: The Heat decided to have James defense Mavs guard Jason Terry in the second half. It eliminated much of the Mavs' perimeter scoring. There was talk about James defending Nowitzki, but it never happened. It wound working because the Dallas offense was less effective in the second half.
BAD MOVE: The Mavs appeared to give up the 3-point shot. It came back to haunt them, with the Heat making 11 of 24 from behind the arc. Miami's 3-point shooting allowed it to offset its 38 percent shooting.
NOTABLE: The Heat are now 9-0 at home in the postseason ... Heat center Erick Dampier was active for the first time in the playoffs, but did not play ... The Mavs trail for the first time in a playoff series this season ...Mavs forward Caron Butler (knee) remained inactive, but coach Rick Carlisle has yet to rule him out for the series.
UP NEXT: Game 2 is Thursday at AmericanAirlines Arena at 9 p.m.