Quantcast 2011 NBA Finals: Dallas Mavericks vs Miami Heat

 

Finals Encore Finally

 

5 years ago, two teams stumbled into an unlikely yet memorable NBA Finals, which has defined each franchise since. Those two teams, the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will now reunite their rivalry on the game’s biggest stage. Only Dirk Nowitski, Jason Terry, Dwayne Wade, and Udonis Haslem remain from that series, but each team relishes the opportunity to win a title by beating their old playoff foe.

Each team has significantly improved since the Heat came back from a 0-2 deficit that solidified Dwayne Wade’s status as a superstar in the NBA and the Mavericks status as “soft” and “mentally weak”. Both teams were lucky to get as far as they did in 2006, but this year they would have been considered failures if they did not make it this far. The Heat made headlines nationwide this offseason by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to form a superstar trio alongside Wade. The team also brought in veterans Mike Miller and Mike Bibby to upgrade a supporting cast that at times has left the team wanting more. When they last won, they relied on the star tandem of a developing Dwayne and an aging Shaq as opposed to the respected all-stars they now count on.

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Dallas, however, still relies heavily on Dirk and Jason Terry but has upgraded at all the other key positions. Jason Kidd, a future Hall of Famer by anyone’s definition, has turned back the clock and is playing as well as he has his entire career. Despite the questions at the time surrounding the Mavs acquiring him for Devin Harris, there is no doubt now that it was the right call. Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic have filled the void Caron Butler left after getting injured, and combined are a major upgrade over former small forward and constant headache Josh Howard. Perhaps the biggest change for the Mavericks is Tyson Chandler, the team’s defensive and emotional anchor. His addition has changed the Mavericks in a way that no one could have envisioned. These teams may feature the core from 2006, but each team has become drastically better.

Since their last meeting in 2006, The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat have made playoff futility a habit. Combined they have only made it out of the first round one time and have not been a realistic threat to go all the way. That has all changed this year, with both teams winning each playoff series in convincing fashion. Fans in both cities have been waiting for their teams to get back to the Finals since their last trip and finally have been granted their wish.

 

 

The Matchups in this series offer interesting subplots as well. Chris Bosh will look to cement his status as an elite player in the league by going head to head against the most impressive player thus far these playoffs, Dirk Nowitski. Bosh will get a chance to not only face the Maverick’s best player, but to do so in front of his hometown. No one has been able to contain Dirk so far, but Bosh is the toughest test yet. LeBron James will see his old nemesis and playoff rival in DeShawn Stevenson as well as Shawn Marion. LeBron will be trying to justify his decision to leave Cleveland by winning his first championship, while the Mavs two best perimeter defenders will be on the hunt to prove they can play with the best of them. Stevenson made headlines when his Washington Wizards faced off against James’ Cleveland Cavaliers by bashing LeBron in the press, which did not work so well. This time around he has chosen to leave his talking for the court. However, the most intriguing matchup seems to be Dwayne Wade against Jason Kidd. Kidd has been remarkable in the playoffs, using his smarts and ability to lock down other teams top scorers like Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant. Wade has struggled in the postseason, leading many to question how healthy he is. This matchup of the two leaders of the squads will decide what the end result will be.

This NBA Finals looks to be an exciting contest that will bring a championship home for one of the two greatest stars without one, Dirk and LeBron, as well as Jason Kidd. Each player can erase years of criticism by taking home the title, but only one thing is certain: The series will be an exciting and interesting battle between two teams who will lay it all on the line.

 

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By: Jake Wertheim
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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