On May 27 we predicted on this website that the Mavs would beat the Heat. This was based on the fact that the Mavs had played 15.1 ppg better than averaqge in the first 3 playoff series and Heat played 10.7 points better than average in first three playoff series.
So you probably know the Mavs did win. During the series the Mavs played 13.3 PPg better than average and the Heat 9.6 PPG better than average. So the series played out to within 1 point per game differential relative to our prediction.
While we are not the primary stat analyst for the Mavs (Roland Beech did a great job) the Mavs do subscribe to our player and lineup information. I am not an X and O expert but I think I can walk you through Carlise’s great lineup adjustments that turned the series around. I think I can also show you the Heat made several series errors in lineup selection.
Mavs Adjustment 1: Starting Barea for Stevenson in Game 4
In first 3 games Mavs starting lineup of Kidd Dirk TC Marion and Stevenson was -7 points in 28 minutes while with Barea in Mavs were -14 points in 51 minutes. So Carlisle inserts Barea in for Stevenson. This new lineup was +8 points in 28 minutes in games 4 and 5. The motivation for this move was that Barea owned Bibby (Mavs +17 points in 33 minutes with both in) but Chambers owned Barea (Mavs -38 points in 92 minutes with both in). Starting Barea out Barea against Bibby instead of Chalmers. Heat figured this out in Game 6 and started Chalmers and then Mavs new starting lineup was ineffective, but the damge had been done. Chalmers should have always been on court against Barea.
Mavs Adjustment 2: Benching Peja after 3 games
In the first three rounds of the playoffs the Mavs rested Dirk effectively with a lineup of TC, Kidd, Terry, Marion and Peja. However this lineup was -12 points in 10 minutes during 1st 3 games and altogether Peja in for Dirk was -24 points in 18 minutes. This certainly costs the Mavs game 3. Carlisle then put Cardinal in for Dirk instead of Peja. The Terry Marion TC Cardinal Kidd lineup was +9 points in 13 minutes in Games 4-6 including +10 points in game 6!!
Mavs Adjustment 3: If it’s not broken don’t fix it!
Throughout the regular season and first 3 playoff series the Mavs have been fantastic with Terry, Kidd, Dirk and TC on the floor. This quartet played 29 PPG better than average in all their minutes (after adjusting for strength of opponent). Against Heat they were even better: 83 minutes +60 points played and 49 ppg better than average. Fifth was Stevenson or Marion. This quartet outscored Heat every game including +25 points in amazing game 2 win. So Mavs key “adjustment” was to stay with this deadly lineup to close games until Heat found an answer
I need to leave for my son’s college orientation so I will analyze the Heat’s errors later tonight