It turned out the Miami Heat had plenty in reserve for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Mavs were expected to enjoy an edge off the bench in the NBA finals, but the Heat had the better backups in Game 1. In the battle of the subs, Miami outscored Dallas 27-17, and that margin made the difference in the Heat's 92-84 victory Tuesday night.
"I don't anticipate that every game we would outscore their bench," Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Heat's reserves had a 15-8 edge in rebounds.
Dallas' reserves shot only 4 for 22 (18 percent). Peja Stojakovic was shut out in 15 minutes, and J.J. Barea penetrated well but shot only 1 for 8.
Jason Terry, one of the NBA's top reserves, scored 12 points in the first half but none in the second, when the Mavericks failed to protect an eight-point lead.
For Miami off the bench, Udonis Haslem had seven points and six rebounds, and Mike Miller had six points and five rebounds. Both have missed most of the season with injuries.
"We're a little bit healthier now with Mike and U.D.," Spoelstra said.
Miller, who has battled a series of injuries, played for the first time with a left sleeve and grimaced in pain several times in the second half. After the game he left the locker room with his left arm in a sling but said he was all right.
Haslem frequently defended Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 27 points but shot just 7 for 18.
"I'm not focusing much on offense," Haslem said. "We have enough guys making shots. Right now my job is to defend probably the best player in the playoffs right now."
Mario Chalmers led the Heat backups with 12 points, making three 3-pointers.
"I had some easy looks -- not easy, but open looks," Chalmers said. "I was able to knock them down after I missed my first couple shots."
Even 38-year-old Juwan Howard contributed for Miami, making two free throws for his first points in an NBA final 6,180 days after he was drafted.
Battle for Boards
With both teams shooting less than 40 percent, the battle for rebounds became especially important in Game 1 of the NBA finals. The Miami Heat enjoyed a big advantage and won the game.
The Heat had 59 rebounds to 46 for Dallas. Their margin in offensive rebounds was more than double, 16-6.
"That's 10 more opportunities that they have the ball and we don't," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
Miami's Big 3 were big on the boards. Leading the way was 6-foot-4 Dwyane Wade with 10 rebounds, while LeBron James and Chris Bosh had nine each.
Shawn Marion led the Mavericks with 10, but that wasn't enough.
"Rebounds killed us," Marion said. "We had a chance to get hold of this game and let it out of our hands."
Carlisle said the Mavs' defensive scheme might be part of the problem.
"Our bigs have to be active containing their great players on the perimeter, so it draws them away from the basket some," he said. "A lot of the game is a scramble. We can't have that kind of deficit."
Kidd's No Kid
There are two things Heat forward LeBron James remembers from watching Mavericks guard Jason Kidd play in the early days of his NBA career.
One, he had a haircut that's long gone out of style.
Two, he was darned good -- and James says Kidd remains that way.
"He was basically Derrick Rose, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, all these guys that you see now, that's who Jason Kidd was," James said Tuesday night before Game 1 of the NBA finals. "He could definitely pass the ball better than all those guys because he's a pass-first guy, but he could go up and lead a 1-on-4 fast break and finish at the rim."
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra also marveled at the 38-year-old Kidd, calling him "the ultimate quarterback."
All in good fun, Heat guard Dwyane Wade said he thinks Kidd's career began in a different NBA era.
"I think I was watching him in black and white," Wade joked. "Seems so long ago."
Kidd is the oldest guard to start a game in an NBA finals. He sank a trio of 3-pointers and scored nine points in Game 1.
Dwyane Wade has rarely watched tapes of his heroics in the last four games of the 2006 NBA finals, when he led the Heat past the Mavericks for the title.
That changed Monday, when he caught the final quarter of Game 3 of the series, the one where he led the Heat out of a double-digit deficit for a win that kept them out of a 3-0 hole in the best-of-seven.
His play was great. The way he looked, however, made Wade cringe.
"I don't know who that guy is, first of all," Wade said. "He's like another person. I had no conscience then, it seemed like. Totally different player. With time comes wisdom."
Stern on Quiet Cuban
NBA Commissioner David Stern put his head in his hands and shook his head "no" as he was being asked an inevitable question: What does he think of Mavs owner Mark Cuban taking a lower profile lately?
"It's too delicious, but I'll pass," Stern said, stifling whatever one-liners he may have wanted to offer.
Instead, Stern offered the following reaction: "I just think that he's trying to be as supportive as he can of his team, and he's doing a heck of a job in terms of the talent that they've gotten, the coach he's put there, and I think he's enjoying it and spending a lot of time supporting his team. And I think that's terrific."
Cuban has been fined more than $1 million by Stern, primarily for complaining about the officials. That includes a $250,000 fine during the 2006 NBA finals between Dallas and Miami.
Cuban was seated right behind the Dallas bench, wearing his customary jeans and T-shirt.