x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dallas' Nowitzki is down as Miami's Bosh rises

Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki is frustrated at missing opportunities but Chris Bosh is happy to be a contributing member of Miami's "Big Three".

Chris Bosh, left, and Miami did not retreat often against Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of the Finals.
Chris Bosh, left, and Miami did not retreat often against Dirk Nowitzki in Game 1 of the Finals.

A tale of two stars - one lamenting his missed opportunities and looking to change that with Game 2 tonight at Miami, the other excited to be a contributing third member of the triumphant trio.

The difference between Dallas big man Dirk Nowitzki and Miami's Chris Bosh is that the latter has two other shoulders to lean on when he is not performing, though it is tough to make an argument that Bosh did not hold up his share in the Heat's 92-84 Game 1 win at Miami.

But then it is easy to be overlooked when the "other two guys" are LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Bosh scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half when James and Wade were still trying to find their way, offensively.

"I really like to use the beginning of games to get myself involved and get some shots at the rim," Bosh said. "Anytime I get myself involved I have more confidence."

And when the game got into crunch time, James and Wade were ready - James, who finished wih 24 points, scored nine of them in the third quarter, including a 25-foot, three-pointer at the buzzer, as Miami recovered from an eight-point deficit to take a 65-61 lead into the final period. Wade added 22 and a team-leading 10 rebounds as Miami's "Big Three" accounted for 65 of the Heat's points.

Then there is Nowitzki - Erik Spoelstra, the Miami coach, said he was unsure how to stop Nowitzki, who entered the game with a 28.4 average in the post-season.

But with Udonis Haslem "trying to make it tough", as he put it, on the 32-year-old German, Nowitzki hit on only seven of his 18 shots.

He did finish with 27 points but was far from happy.

"I had my opportunities there," he said after the game. "I've just got to finish. ... I have to keep attacking and take my opportunities when they're there."

Rick Carlisle, the Dallas coach, said it is not a secret what Miami would try against Nowitzki in Game 2.

"Every team we've played is very aggressive on him," he said. "We just got to keep playing our game. We have to keep getting him the ball and giving him opportunities to create."

Spoelstra said the hope is to just slow him down, as, "I don't think it really matters what you do, your schematics, who is defending him, [as] he's going to get his average at least every single game.

"It's uncanny, because of his shooting ability, his skill level."