MIAMI -- Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem said that as long as he's guarding Dirk Nowitzki in Game 2, the Dallas Mavericks' leading scorer who will be playing with a torn tendon in the middle finger of his left hand, won't have to worry about any cheap slaps coming down on the finger.
"I’m not that type of player that’s going to slap him on the hand every chance I get or anything like that," Haslem said. "I don’t believe in that. I believe in playing straight-up, man-to-man and obviously relying on my teammates to give me some help. It doesn’t give me any advantage, it doesn’t give us any advantage."
Nowitzki injured the finger trying to strip Heat forward Chris Bosh of the ball late in the Game 1. Nowitzki might have to wear a splint on the finger for Game 2. Bosh, who said he's played with numerous hand and finger injuries, said at some point Nowitzki will get slapped on the finger, intentionally or not.
Haslem played 30 minutes in Game 1 and was the dominant defender on Nowitzki. Starting center Joel Anthony, who played 18 minutes, Bosh took their turns. Together they made life tough on Nowitzki, who made 7-of-18 field goals, but made 12-of-12 free throws and still scored 27 points.
Nowitzki knows he will see plenty more of the rugged, 6-foot-8 Haslem in this series. At least he knows he won't have to worry about any cheap shots fired off at his finger.
"I’ve never been that type of guy, it’s just not my style," Haslem said. "I don’t want to have advantages or take advantage of something like that. I think our defense is good enough as a unit."