I was one of those people before the 2011 NBA playoffs that thought the Dallas Mavericks was just another stepping stone towards winning an NBA championship. Well, three months later, I have no choice but to say that I was completely wrong. Not only did the Mavericks win the NBA title, but they basically dominated every series they played in, including a four games to zero thrashing of the then two-time defending NBA champion, Los Angeles Lakers.
Dallas made everyone believers when they sealed the deal in game six of the NBA Finals at the American Airlines in Miami, with a 105-95 win over the Heat. This was especially sweet for club owner Mark Cuban, team captain Dirk Nowitzki and swing man Jason Terry, as they would avenge a 2006 NBA Finals loss to whom else, the Miami Heat.
We will no longer have to see the look of disbelief on Mark Cuban’s face. After these playoffs, no one can question Dirk Nowitzki’s toughness or heart. Jason Terry can finally have the last laugh; especially after all of the heat he took for getting a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien trophy during the preseason. By the way, Terry lit up the Heat in the Finals! After 16 seasons, three NBA Finals appearances and an enormous amount of doubt, Jason Kidd can finally say that he is a champion.
Dallas was once known to be a franchise that would fail tremendously in the playoffs. This season however, they turned the corner. The Mavericks finally had the right pieces to weather the storm. The addition of Tyson Chandler paid off. His paint presence proved to be valuable. Chandler’s rebounding ability was very important to the Mavericks championship run. How important was J J Barea this season for Dallas? Listed at six feet, but actually 5’10”, Barea gave his opponents fits as he was unguardable. Shawn Marion was reborn in these playoffs. He showed us all that “The Matrix” is still here.
Even though it took Dallas six nerve-racking games to defeat Miami, they did what the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia Sixers, and Chicago Bulls couldn’t do; bring Miami down to earth. The Mavericks made the three-headed monster of Wade, Bosh and James look ordinary. All though the “Big Three” in Miami put up decent numbers in the finals, it was the Mavericks play calling and overall effort that was the difference.
The 2011 NBA Finals was one of the most entertaining finals that we’ve seen in a while. There were key lessons to be learned from it. The one that stuck out for me was the fact that teams shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket. When one of those eggs breaks under pressure, the basket may fall apart. I said that to say, the “Big Three” will not win an NBA title without having a good supporting cast. Just ask the other “Big Three” in Boston!
By Keith Madyun