In an NBA Finals re-match five years in the making, the Miami Heat will take on the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, beginning on Tuesday night. The Heat won that 2006 series in six games after dropping the first two in Dallas. Dwayne Wade, who was seemingly always at the free throw line, was named Finals MVP that year. While there are only four players left who played in that series, both teams still do have their franchise players: Dwayne Wade for Miami and Dirk Nowitzki for Dallas.
Although both teams beat their respective opponents in five games to reach the NBA Finals, it was not a cake walk for either team. In last night’s game five, the Heat came back from a twelve point deficit against the Bulls to punch their ticket to the finals. Out west, the Mavericks trailed late in both games four and five against the Oklahoma City Thunder. After two great comebacks, the Mavericks had clinched their way into the finals.
The Heat hold home court advantage because they had a better record during the season. Interestingly enough, the last time a team lost the finals with home court advantage was Dallas against Miami five years ago.
The Mavericks were 2-0 against the Heat this year, with both games being earlier in the season. Although LeBron James scored 22 and 19 in those two games, he also went 5 of 19 and 6 of 17 from the floor. He obviously has to be better if the Heat are going to win it all.
Let’s break down the matchups:
Point Guard: Jason Kidd holds the advantage here over Miami’s Mike Bibby.
Shooting Guard: Dwayne Wade has a clear edge over Stevenson.
Small Forward: LeBron James with the edge over Shawn Marion, although to be fair, Marion has guarded James well in the past.
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki over Chris Bosh, who played well in the series against Chicago.
Center: Chandler over Anthony.
Bench: The Mavericks bench is better because they have the best player in Jason Terry, who provides offense as soon as he enters the game. Their bench is also a little deeper, and they might have Caron Butler available.
We know what we’re going to get out of Miami’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh and Dallas’ duo of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. As a result, the series may come down to players like Haslem, Chalmers and Miller for Miami and Kidd, Barea and Stojakovic for Dallas.
In the end, Miami’s “Big Three” will have to wait another year. The Mavericks will end up getting better play out of their role players which is what will lead them to their first NBA Championship.
Dallas in six.