There were a few polarizing story lines leading up to Tuesday night’s opening series of the 2011 NBA Finals.There’s the rematch of the 2006 Finals. In game three of the 06′ Finals, the Dallas Mavericks had a double-digit lead halfway into the third quarter, only to allow the Miami Heat’s shooting guard, Dwayne Wade to take over the 4th quarter to win game three. In one of the most catastrophic collapses in NBA Finals history, the Mavs would go on to lose games 4, 5 and 6 allowing Miami to steal the championship. Ironically, Miami hasn’t beaten Dallas since those Finals (0-10)….until game one of this years championship.
Three maybe a charm for the Mavs veteran point guard Jason Kidd. Now in his third NBA Finals, Kidd, 38, is trying not to be in the same class as the likes of Charles Barkley, Pat Ewing and Reggie Miller….all NBA greats without a championship under their belts. Dallas better hope that J Kidd’s 3-8 shooting was just a fluke. It would be very unfortunate for the Mavs if he lost his shooting touch once again.
The trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have been under extreme scrutiny this NBA season; some justified but mostly unjust. After experiencing a five game losing streak and the infamous “Crying in the Locker Room” incident in early March, the “Big Three’s” record is 28-6 including the post season. With this run, Wade, Bosh and James are now laughing at their doubters. Statistically, all three put up decent numbers in game one. What was key, however, was Wade’s ability to control the third quarter when it looked as if Dallas was going to open up a significant lead.
The Mavs will live or die on the shoulders of Dirk Nowitzki, who suffered a torn ligament in his non shooting hand in game one. This stirs major concerns for Dallas fans, especially if the team continues to shoot as poorly as they did in game one (37%). Although Nowitzki is down playing the injury, the Mavs fan-base, all the way up to team owner Mark Cuban, must be biting their nails and praying that this injury isn’t one that will negatively impact their team in the series.
Even though Dallas lost game one, all is not lost. This team proved to be a resilient group and they are very much alive in this series, as long as Dirk can perform. Dallas needs to do everything possible that this happens or the Heat will bring the brooms and sweep their way to its second Larry O’Brien Trophy!
By Keith Madyun