Heat Vs. Mavericks: J.J. Barea Nowhere To Be Found In NBA Finals

J.J. Barea, the diminutive Puerto Rican guard who'd become such a star in these playoffs after dominant performance off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, was considered a matchup problem for the Miami Heat heading into the NBA Finals. Dallas has superior depth, and Miami lacks much in power beyond the team's three All-Stars. Barea, who killed the L.A. Lakers especially on pick-and-roll action, was considered a major threat to repeat the feat against Miami.

So much for all of that. Barea scored all of six points in Game 3, shooting 2-8 from the floor. And that was his best game of the Finals to date. (He also had one assist and four turnovers.) In Dallas' Game 2 win, Barea contributed five points on 2-7 shooting; in Game 1, he shot 1-8 for two points. Barea's inability to hit buckets has contributed to Dallas having only a small series lead in bench points (65-57).

Mario Chalmers had drawn a good share of defensive responsibility on Barea; the Heat's starting point guard Mike Bibby might be more easily exploitable, but he's left guard Dallas starter Jason Kidd while Chalmers ends up playing more down the stretch and keeping the locks on Barea.

The Heat have also worked extraordinarily hard to shut down the pass to Dirk Nowitzki on the pick-and-roll/pick-and-pop, and that's what Barea really thrived in against L.A.

For more on the Mavericks and Barea, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.

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