Miami Heat Had Foul To Give On Dirk Nowitzki's Game-Winning Shot

The Dallas Mavericks stunned the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals after Dirk Nowitzki hit a left-handed layup with just under four seconds to go. As the video of the play shows, Nowitzki made an unbelievable move on Chris Bosh and finished with the left hand before anyone on the Heat could help Bosh. 

What the video doesn't necessarily show, however, is just how badly Miami messed up defensively. Obviously, Nowitzki still made a big-time move and hit a big-time shot, so we don't want to take anything away from him. But the Heat's defense had a foul to give and did not use it, for some reason.


Related: Dirk Nowitzki Leads All-Time Great NBA Finals Comeback

Prior to the play, the Heat had only committed three fouls in the entire quarter. NBA teams automatically shoot free throws from the fifth foul on, so Miami could have fouled Nowitzki before he started his shooting motion and forced the Mavericks to take the ball out of bounds. The Mavericks were so prepared for the Heat to use that foul that they called two plays in the huddle before the sequence, according to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. Instead, Miami didn't take the foul and Nowitzki got a layup.

To make matters worse, Bosh's one-on-one defense was awful on the play. Obviously, he let Nowitzki get by him, which is evidence enough. But he also did a poor job forcing Nowitzki towards his help defenders. The reason Nowitzki was able to get to the basket is that he was able to get to his left, where the only Heat help defender was LeBron James guarding Jason Terry in the corner. James, understandably, was reluctant to leave Terry open for three, so he didn't do much to help, and Nowitzki got a layup. Bosh needed to do more to force Nowitzki right and make it easier for Miami's help defenders to cut him off.

In the end, Nowitzki made a big-time move, but the Heat's defense left a lot to be desired. If they were more aware of their situation, they could have easily prevented the shot from taking place.

Be sure to check out our 2011 NBA Finals hub for more on the series. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball andSB Nation Dallas.

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