The last Mavericks vs. Heat NBA Finals matchup was defined by Dirk Nowitzki’s late collapse, among other things. Yet as the second rematch came to an end in Game 6, everything that had happened in 2006 had been reversed in 2011. This time, while Dallas celebrated an unlikely title on the road and Nowitzki was hailed as an NBA legend, LeBron James was the superstar with the tattered legacy.
The finishing touch didn’t come with a final comeback or even last minute thrills. In fact, the clinching victory was well in hand by the final minutes, as the Mavericks all but coasted to a 105-95 win to claim the crown, reports the Associated Press.
The Mavericks and Heat traded huge runs in the first half, as everyone but Nowitzki was making shots. Yet his 1-for-12 first half was balanced out by Jason Terry’s 19 points, giving Dallas a two-point halftime lead. Afterward, Miami didn’t have another big run left, as Dallas distanced itself in the third quarter for a nine-point lead.
Unlike the last four nights, Game 6 didn’t have an overwhelming fourth quarter from the Mavericks. In fact, the Heat was only outscored by one point in the last period, but the fact that Miami didn’t make any kind of run was telling enough. Even with James scoring seven points in the last 12 minutes for once, there was nothing left in the tank for the Heat.
Miami couldn’t even be bothered to foul or make defensive rebounds in the final minutes, as the visiting Mavericks fans drowned out the Heat faithful by the end. With its 13 missed free throws, James’ six turnovers, and a lack of big plays from Dwayne Wade, Miami finished off its late finals collapse even more thoroughly than Dallas did in 2006.
Both series have been mirror images of each other, although the true test of that will come in the years ahead. When Dallas failed to finish Miami off in 2006, the franchise took five years to recover, and only won the championship in in the team’s last best opportunity. But in this case, virtually everyone still expects the Heat to come back and win a few rings, despite the embarrassment of the last week.
Dallas and Nowitzki went through a trial by fire to finally claim a championship, leaving almost everyone happy for them when they succeeded. Of course, fewer viewers will be as happy if Miami and James win it all eventually, in spite of the trials and scrutiny they will face for the next 12 months.
By the pattern of past Mavericks-Heat finals, Miami will redeem itself against Dallas in 2016 to win its first ring with James. However, if the Big Three still doesn’t have a title in five more years, its legacy will be harder to redeem at the end, unlike with Nowitzki and company.
Yahoo Sports- “Big D: Mavericks top Heat 105-95 for NBA title”