Monday night's much-anticipated rematch between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat wasn't always the prettiest affair, but it was a darn fun watch that went down to the wire, with Dallas notching a 98-96 victory to end Miami's winning streak at 12 games. It also featured a strange second-quarter sequence that produced a kind of headscratching highlight rarely seen in the upper echelons of NBA basketball.
From The Associated Press:
Mario Chalmers(notes) missed a 3-pointer, Dwyane Wade(notes) misfired on a 3, Miller then couldn't connect on yet another try from beyond the arc, Wade missed a layup, Bosh missed another jumper, Miller came up short again on a 3 — before Chalmers, finally, connected on a 3 with 1:53 left.
The dry spell spanned 54 seconds, which probably felt like a long time to Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, but must have seemed like an absolute eternity to Mavs bench boss Rick Carlisle, who was forced to watch as a lineup featuring Tyson Chandler(notes) (averaging nine rebounds per game), Dirk Nowitzki (7.8), Caron Butler(notes) (4.1), Jason Kidd(notes) (4.1) and Jason Terry(notes) (1.8) just couldn't catch up to a carom and clear the defensive end.
International readers ("Int'l read'rs"): If the clip above isn't rocking for you, please feel free to peruse the missed-shot carnage courtesy of NBADUNKMAN.
A quick look at how the seven-miss possession impacted the Heat's final numbers:
-- Miami finished the game shooting 40.5 percent (34-for-84) from the floor; without this possession, they would have hit at a 44.2 percent clip.
-- The four extra misses from 3-point land dropped the Heat from an excellent long-range shooting night (40.7 percent) to a subpar performance (35.5 percent, 11 for 31) that came in below the league average (a 36.2 percent conversion rate from distance) and well below their team average (the Heat are tied for the fifth-best 3-point-shooting mark in the league, hitting 38.7 percent of their long balls this season, according to Hoopdata).
-- On the plus side, the seven offensive rebounds the Heat snagged before Chalmers' triple gave a major boost to their Offensive Rebound Percentage, which finished at 29.6 percent but would have slotted in somewhere around 19.2 percent if not for this one possession.
Those numbers aside, this possession didn't change the game — after all, the Heat still got three points out of it, it had no impact on Jason Terry's 19-point fourth quarter, it didn't preclude the Heat from coming back to make it a one-possession game multiple times within the last 90 seconds, and so on. In the grand scheme of things, this stretch doesn't really matter.
Except, of course, that it does, because part of the beauty of following this league is always remembering to take a moment to soak in and appreciate the absurd minutiae. Like, for example, when four of the 400 or 500 best basketball players in the world (no shots at Joel Anthony(notes) — it's just that the possession featured no shots by Joel Anthony) have a momentary collective short-circuit and can't hit a shot, five more of that best-in-class group can't pull down a rebound to save their lives, and the whole gong show turns into an out-of-nowhere seven-brick second-quarter possession on a Monday night in December.
Sometimes, the ball just bounces funny. We're only cheating ourselves if we don't laugh when it does.