Will the Dallas Mavericks carry their momentum from Game 2 over to Game 3 of the 2011 NBA Finals (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) against the Miami Heat? After grabbing a victory in the second game with just six minutes left and down by 15 points, Dirk Nowitzki helped Dallas give Miami its first home playoff loss in 2011. After a 9-0 start at home, will the Heat wilt in Dallas? Tune into your local affiliate at 8 p.m. ET to find out, with tip-off coming a little bit later.
Mavs Moneyball did some number-crunching after Game 2 to see which team had the toughest road to the finals:
This basically is what you've been told before the Finals. It's Dallas['s] Offense vs. Miami[']s Defense and both numbers are beyond impressive . . . So I was right: The performance of the Mavs in the playoffs has been more impressive thus far. This is basically the same approach Wayne Winston used here to predict the outcome of the NBA Finals. He has the Mavs as 65% favorites.
The Mavericks will have all the momentum after stunning the Heat and stealing game two. But the Heat will come out focused and attacking and it would not surprise me if they take an early lead in this game. The Mavericks have not played [their] best basketball and yet were able to manage a split. There is not much separating these two teams and game three will likely come down to execution down the stretch.
Will tonight's game continue to pinball this series?
Our Heat blog, Peninsula Is Mightier, questions the efficacy of the current finals schedule format:
Most of the time you would be hoping that the Heat could do the same thing that their opponent did, leaving town with a split and re-gaining home court advantage, but that isn't possible in the Finals. Why? Because for some reason the NBA still uses the 2-3-2 schedule in the final round. I don't know one person that prefers that to the 2-2-1-1-1 setup that is used during the first three rounds, but who knows if the league will ever wise up and get with the times.
If home court advantage means anything in this series, a three-game stint in Dallas will likely provide the answer.
Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
For live coverage of Game 3, stay up-to-date with this StoryStream. To see the up-to-the-minute score, along with information from around SB Nation on the game, keep your browser on this Heat-Mavs score page. Throughout the NBA Finals, check out our 2011 NBA Finals hub for more coverage. For more on the two teams, Mavericks fans should head over to Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas, while Heat fans should check out Peninsula Is Mightier.