MIAMI -- In the first game of the NBA Finals, the Mavericks used a zone defense early in the game to confuse the Heat. As this series has moved on, the Mavs mixed up the coverages with positive results.
Instead of just calling for the zone defense and staying with it for a few possessions, the Mavs are using it in the flow of the game so that the Heat are off balanced when they try and set their offense in the halfcourt. The Heat are not quite sure what defense they're seeing when it gets up court.
"It's bothered them a little bit," guard DeShawn Stevenson said of the different defenses. "We're doing it out of the flow. The first game we were just setting up in it and we had time to put shooters out there and run our zone defense. When we do it in flow and switch man to zone and zone to man it's tough for them."
The Mavs are also putting some double-teams on LeBron James in the front court forcing him to pass. He has 10 assists, in the Game 5 loss, and it also limited his ability to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line. He shot just two foul shots in Game 5 and has just 16 total for the series.
Dwyane Wade's ability to get to the line hasn't been stopped by the defense. He's attempted 42 free throws, only Dirk Nowitzki has attempted more with 44. But Chris Bosh hasn't been able to shoot on consistent basis, he's at 37.3 percent from the field, because the Mavs are getting a body on him as well.
"I think it’s difficult because it breaks them out of rhythm," center Tyson Chandler said. "We change things up and give them a couple looks and go to a different look and anything you do to break the rhythm of the offense is good."