There were varying opinions at the American Airlines Arena Thursday morning during the Mavs shoot around.
DeShawn Stevenson said tonight wasn't a must win game. Shawn Marion said he's been in bigger holes than 0-2 and fought back and won. Tyson Chandler said they have to treat tonight like it's Game 7. And Dirk Nowitzki all but said this is the series-changing game.
Athletes will never admit defeat or make any situation bigger than it is through the media. In fact, most of the Mavs players have given the "it's just another series" company line coming in to the NBA Finals.
Regardless of their downplaying of the moment -- tonight is as MUST WIN as it gets.
It was clear in Game 1 that the Miami Heat have the better athletes. They're younger, quicker and able to take advantage of their speed superiority. Lose tonight, and I'm not sure Dallas will be able to find a way back in this series, simply because the notion that the Heat may just be a better team may slowly start creeping in to the Mavs' heads.
Statistically, teams that fall 0-2 in the NBA Finals lose 93.3 percent of the time. Ironically, one of the 6.7 percent who shoved that stat aside were the Heat, after falling to 0-2 against Dallas in 2006.
In sports, stat nerds love throwing out all kinds of numbers to tell the story. In this series, it's simple. The only two numbers that matter in the vast statistical universe is tonight's final score. If the Mavs have less, they may see Dwayne Wade celebrate another world championship on the hardwood at American Airlines Center.