DALLAS - Dwyane Wade refused to look back.
No, he said, before practice Monday, he doesn't consider that the Miami Heat should have a three-games-to-none lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
The margin is 2-1, close on the scoreboard even though it doesn't feel that way on the floor. The Heat have repeatedly built double-digit cushions against the Dallas Mavericks, and a late collapse in Game 2 is all that's keeping them from the lead that's never been blown in an NBA series.
"You can't think about stuff like that. Everything in life happens for a reason," Wade said. " . . . We are up, 2-1. That's what we have to focus on and worry about."
Though Wade did grab LeBron James late in the fourth quarter of Game 3 to tell him to focus. James is having what, for him, is a down series so far: 20.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6 assists per game on just over 50 percent shooting from the field. James is shrugging off the criticism. The Heat are two wins from a title, and to him that's the only number that matters now.
"Anybody that knows me throughout the years, all I care about is the 'W' no matter if I'm scoring," he said.
As for the Mavericks, they refuse to admit they might just be facing a superior foe.
"We're just too stubborn," point guard Jason Kidd said.
But the Mavs will have trouble beating them without more help for Dirk Nowitzki. Already a team without a certified No. 2 option, Dallas has looked even weaker in its losses, when James defended top reserve Jason Terry in the fourth quarter and held him without a basket in either.
Nowitzki said Dallas has to free its other perimeter shooters for better looks so they "don't chase them down 15 all night long, which takes a lot of energy out of everybody."
"It's very frustrating, because you feel like you have to climb out of a hole we shouldn't have," forward Shawn Marion said.
Game 4 is Tuesday in Dallas.
Mark Jackson tapped as new Golden State coach
OAKLAND, Calif. - The Golden State Warriors have hired Mark Jackson to replace Keith Smart, giving the former point guard and television analyst his first chance to be a head coach on the game's biggest stage.
The 46-year-old Jackson played 17 years as a point guard in the NBA, for New York, the Clippers, Indiana, Denver, Toronto, Utah, and Houston and was rookie of the year in 1988.
But he has never coached, spending the last few seasons as an analyst for ESPN and ABC. He won't start his new job until after he's finished calling the NBA Finals.