MIAMI -- One of the big storylines heading into Game 1 of the NBA Finals was how the Mavericks' big men would handle the Heat's.
One big man, the Mavs' Tyson Chandler, didn't have his best performance.
Chandler struggled in his 34 minutes Tuesday night, scoring nine points on 3-of-4 shooting from the field but also tying his playoff low with four rebounds and playing in foul trouble most of the evening. He picked up his fifth foul with 10.1 seconds left.
"They were aggressive on the rebounds," said Chandler, whose team was outrebounded 46-36. "I thought we did a good job defensively of containing them and keeping them under control. But what we didn't do was secure the rebounds once we got a stop."
That was true during one key sequence late in the game in which Chandler didn't perform well.
With the Mavericks trailing 87-79, Jason Kidd missed a 3-pointer. Chandler appeared to have position on Dwyane Wade but couldn't secure the rebound. Wade dribbled to the corner and was trapped by Chandler and another Mavericks player but spun away from them.
Wade dribbled through two more defenders before stopping in front of Kidd near the foul line. Wade floated a pass to Chris Bosh, who got ahead of the defense and scored on a dunk to push the lead to 89-79.
On the ensuing possession, Dirk Nowitzki missed a short jumper. Chandler was near the rim but failed to grab the ball to put it back in. It appeared Chandler was afraid he might get called for basket interference. He let the ball go, and the Heat got the rebound and went on a fast break.
This time, Wade drove the lane and Chandler left LeBron James alone, allowing him to finish an alley-oop pass for a dunk and a 91-79 lead.
"They made the plays at the end of the game," Chandler said. "... We've got to clean up some things, do a better job on the glass. They came up with a couple of plays down the stretch that let them open up the game."
Chandler's low scoring isn't a problem for the Mavs, but rebounding issues could hurt.
In the Western Conference finals, Chandler averaged 10.6 points and eight rebounds per game. He had two double-digit rebounding games and didn't have a game with fewer than eight boards.
The Mavericks have relied on Chandler's rebounding during the postseason. He grabbed a playoff career-high 20, including 13 offensive, in Game 5 of the first-round series against Portland, and he's averaging 9.3 rebounds overall in the postseason.
"Our bigs have to be active, containing their great players on the perimeter," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, "so it draws them away from the basket some. I'll look at the film."