Monday, June 13, 2011

Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks

Throughout this season, many people have focused on the Heat, giving them an enormous amount of media coverage. So for once, let's stop bashing the Heat and give credit to the NBA Champions. The Dallas Mavericks put together a roster in the off-season with a bunch of hungry veterans.  Nobody on that team had won an NBA title before this season, despite having two Hall of Famers in the starting lineup.  In the past couple of seasons, they've added players like Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic, Brendan Haywood, Shawn Marion, Deshawn Stevenson, and Caron Butler in hopes to make a title run with an aging superstar in Dirk Nowitzki. 

Nobody thought the Dallas Mavericks would win a title in the preseason, let alone the beginning of the playoffs.  After they blew a big lead to the Portland Trail Blazers and Brandon Roy in the First Round of the playoffs, everybody thought they would struggle to even make it out of the first round.  After defeating the Trail Blazers in a rough 6 game series, the Mavericks faced the daunting task of defeating the defending World Champs.  The Lakers were not nearly as dominant as their last two title runs, but still were the favorite to win the championship.  The Mavs put that idea to rest, as they shockingly swept the Lakers, finishing them off with a 36 point blowout victory in Game 4.  Then Dallas moved on to the Conference Finals to face the up and coming team of the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder.  This series proved to be much tougher than the previous one, but still the Mavs were pretty much in control after taking both Game 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City, one of the toughest places to play in the league.  The Mavs moved on to the NBA Finals after 5 games and were matched up against the Big 3 from Miami. 

This series was one of the most exciting we've had in a long time and it interested more than just the normal NBA fans.  People all around the world were rooting against the Heat; however, despite the hatred, Lebron and Co. jumped out to an early lead in the series after a great Game 1 win.  With about 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Dwayne Wade hit a huge three pointer to give the Heat a 15 point lead and it looked as if the series would be going to Dallas with the Heat up 2-0.  Then Terry and Dirk woke up and fueled an improbable comeback, capped off by a game winning layup by Dirk Nowitzki.  Miami was stunned, but still knew that they should've won that game and that they were still in decent position to win the title.  Game 3 was yet another thriller, as Dirk missed a jump shot at the buzzer which would've sent the game into overtime.  Dallas was in a hole down 2-1, knowing that without a 7 minute meltdown by Miami in Game 2, the series should be 3-0.  The Mavericks needed to find a spark for Game 4 and it came from an unlikely source: Lebron James. James had one of his worst career scoring games, just putting 8 points on the board on 3-11 shooting.  That is a testament to the Maverick defense, which constantly smothered Lebron James.  Shawn Marion, Jason Kidd, and Deshawn Stevenson all did a great job of limiting his touches in the paint and forced him to give up the ball to his teammates.  The Mavs won the game by three points, after Mike Miller was unable to convert a desperation three pointer as time expired.  With the series tied at 2 games a piece, game 5 would be pivotal.

The first four games were all defensive struggles, with the score generally in the 80s and low 90s, but game 5 was a shootout.  Both teams came out firing, especially from three point range.  The Mavs shot 56.5% from the floor, while Miami shot 53%.  Miami came back to reality in the fourth quarter, but ultimately, The Heat could never cool down the Mavs and Dallas took a 3-2 lead going back to Miami.  The Heat needed to find an answer for game 6 and were still in search for one at halftime. Dirk had just 3 points in the first half of game 6, but the Mavs still held the lead due to the Jason Terry and Deshawn Stevenson.  Terry continued his hot shooting in the second half and Dallas held a comfortable 5 to 8 point lead throughout the second half.  It seemed as if Miami was still always very close though, so Dallas still continued to run their offense.  So many times you see a team that holds a late lead, try to run the clock down and chuck up a long shot with the shot clock nearly expiring.  Dallas wasted a lot of time by running out the clock and grabbing offensive rebounds, which gave Miami no chance of coming back.  Dirk finally dismissed the notion that he was a "choker" after putting together a great fourth quarter once again.  He finished the night with a beautiful left-handed layup, as Marc Jackson dramatically announced for the last time, "Momma there goes that man". 

Congratulations Dirk, Terry, Kidd, Chandler, Marion, Stojakovic, Stevenson, Haywood, and Cardinal on winning their first ring.  All nine of these players have played at least 9 seasons in the league and have worked incredibly hard to earn the title as "NBA Champion".

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