Dallas Mavericks take down Miami Heat in 6 for NBA Finals



Not one.  Not two.  Not three.  Apparently, the championships predicted by the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” will start some other year.  As they said themselves just last summer, anything but a championship would be a failure.  Fast forward 9 months, the Dallas Mavericks are the new NBA champions, and the Miami Heat have failed.  The Mavs, carried by their 10 time All Star forward Dirk Nowitzki who simply became unstoppable in the clutch, proved to be way too much for the Heat to handle.  Going to 6 Games, the series was full of compelling basketball, dramatic finishes, and plenty of controversy.

When Dirk first came to the US from Germany, he struggled to keep up with the fast pace of the NBA.  He averaged only 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 20 minutes a game.  Then, he met a trainer by the name of Holger Geschwinder.  Geschwinder helped Nowitzki acclimate to his new surroundings and develop into one of the best players of all time.  He ran Dirk through workouts he had never experienced before, ones that made him stronger and more apt to compete with some of the larger presences in the league.  Over the years, he eventually came to possess what is undoubtedly the best jump-shot owned by a 7-footer.  He worked his way until he finally reached the ultimate goal in 2006.  He was playing in the NBA Finals, against Dwyane Wade the Miami Heat.  However, after winning the first two games, the Mavs didn’t see another victory in the series.  They went home that year without any rings, without any banners, and without any celebration.

Five years later, in 2011, they got  another shot.  Not only that, it was against non other than the Miami Heat.  But things were different this time.   The Heat had acquired two of the best names in the league in LeBron James and Chris Bosh, while the most significant thing Dallas had done was get 5 years older.  Still, most of America wanted to see Dallas win. The Heat had worked hard all season long to become the most hated team in the NBA, what with LeBron toying with the entire city of Cleveland, leaving them at the last second without hope or even a chance to work the free agent market, and then flaunting his new job down in South Beach along with his new “superstar” teammates.  They had plenty of talent, that’s for sure.  What they were missing was experience.

To no surprise, going into Game 1, Miami was the favorite to win due to their youth and unmatched athleticism.  They had played in an above average post season to that point, not only taking out all the best teams in the East, but dominating in a majority of the series too.  And after they defeated Dallas in game one, it looked as though they were going to continue their trend.  Shooting just 37% from the field, the Mavericks struggled against one of the best defenses in the NBA.

However, even with a torn tendon in his left middle finger, Nowitzki led the Mavs on a 15 point comeback in the fourth quarter of a pivotal game two.  As Miami coach Eric Spoelstra put it, “No question about it, that’s about as tough a fourth quarter you can have. When it started to slide, it just kept on going.”  The Heat then managed to bounce back in a close game three after a late jumper from Chris Bosh and solid defense by Udonis Haslem on Nowitzki sealed the win for them.  It was a grind, and would eventually turn out to be the Heat’s last win of the NBA Finals.

Down 2-1 in the series, Nowitzki once again helped his Dallas team take over by scoring 10 of his 21 points in the fourth, meanwhile battling a 101 degree fever.  From that point on, it was all Dallas.  Time and again, Nowitzki and the Mavericks fought through adversity to come out victorious.  Whether it was the hot shooting of guard Jason Terry, the leadership of 38 year old Jason Kidd, or all the clutch play of Nowitzki, the Mavs couldn’t be stopped after Game 4.  They won the next two games, and the championship was theirs.

Of course, with LeBron James being a part of the series, plenty of controversy came along with it.  James found himself constantly under fire by both the fans and the media.  Their justification: his total 18 fourth quarter points in the combined six games, his mockery of Nowitzki’s illness in Game 4, and most importantly, his apparent disengagement in games when his team needed him the most.  The world kept waiting for his answer to the criticisms, but the statement game just never came.  Overall, he did below average on the court, and below average off the court.  It simply doesn’t make sense to mock a man who just lit you up while fighting off a 101 fever.  And if you’re going to call yourself the “King”, you should probably average more than 3 points per game in the fourth quarter.  To top it off, when asked about all those rooting against him throughout the playoffs during the post Game 6 press conference, his response was this: “They got to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had today. And I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live.”  Less than noble words from a man who promised his fans a multitude of championships before commencing his 8th season without any.

The Mavericks have been celebrating since Game 6, and will continue to do so until October.  The latest basketball champions of the world, they can finally bask in the glory they missed out on in 2006.  And with 33 average years of age per player, Dallas is the oldest team in the NBA, so many of the players will be receiving rings at this point they thought they would never get.  As the Dallas Mavericks hang up their franchise’s first ever championship banner, the Miami Heat have a summer to reflect on what many (including themselves) believe to be an underachievement.  For now, they’ll get away with coming up short, as it is only their first season together.  But if the failure continues over the next couple of years, their individual legacies as players will be forever tarnished.