by Micah Hart
Each day until the end of the NBA Finals, we’ll be taking a look at the conventional wisdom of the moment — which team is currently the favorite to win it all, and which team should be ashamed to still be putting on its jerseys.
Here’s how it looks on the morning of Thursday, May 19.
Start planning the parade:
Dirk Nowitzki‘s not bad, is he? Here are some fun stats from his 48-point explosion in Game 1 the other night:
– Dirk’s 15 shots were the least amount of FGs to get to 48+ points in NBA playoff history, and by a wide margin. The previous record was held by Bob Cousy, who needed just 22 shots to score 50 points on March 21, 1953, in a game that went four overtimes.
– Not only did Nowitzki set a new playoff record with 24 FTs without a miss, but it also bested the regular season record as well. Dominique Wilkins holds that mark, as he went 23-23 from the line in a game against the Bulls in 1992.
All the focus is on No-miss-ski, and rightfully so, but he’s not the only reason the Mavs are rolling right now. The Dallas’ bench is killing it in these playoffs, and seems to be getting better with each series. After putting up 48 ppg against the Lakers in the Western Conference semis, Mavs reserves chipped in 53 points in Game 1, mostly thanks to Jason Terry (24 points) and playoff-revelation J.J. Barea (21 points – in 16 minutes no less).
Add in the fact that Dallas is doing all this while down a man thanks to Caron Butler‘s injury and it looks even more impressive.
Give it up already:
It doesn’t matter how good your defense is if you can’t put the ball through the cylinder.
Shaun Powell pointed something out today on NBA.com, and it’s worth mentioning here. Check out these numbers:
11 for 25.
4 for 18.
6 for 22.
10 for 27.
12 for 32.
11 for 24.
Those are some individual shooting stats for Derrick Rose in several of this year’s playoff games, of which the Bulls have only played 13. So basically, the guy the Bulls’ entire offense revolves around turns into Antoine Walker roughly every other night.
Both the Heat and the Bulls play outstanding defense, but when it comes down to brass tacks, Chicago only has one player it can rely on offensively, while the Heat have two. Ultimately, that will make the difference in who moves on to the NBA Finals.