Monday, June 13, 2011

Dallas: A Team Victory

The Dallas Mavericks prevailed over the Miami Heat's star studded cast for their first NBA title proving they were the better team. While Miami had been the overwhelming favorite, turnovers and poor shooting brought about by the Maverick’s intense defense plagued the Heat.

Miami's superstar trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh underperformed throughout the series. Their bench play was poor. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle at one point described it as their three against our ten. In fact, the Dallas bench played a big role in each victory. And their starting five played together as a cohesive unit. When Maverick superstar Dirk Nowitzki got off to a slow start in game six, guard Jason Terry and his teammates stepped up to fill the void.

In 2006 the Mavericks lost their only other chance at a title to the Dwyane Wade led Heat. Owner Mark Cuban, Nowitzki and Terry learned important lessons in that series and set their sites on winning the crown. Cuban made some key acquisitions and changed coaches, bringing in Carlisle who strengthened the team's offense to complement its tough defense.

When James, Bosh and Wade announced they were hooking up on the Heat to win titles there was a lot of resentment about the way they conducted themselves. The Heat surrounded them with a decent supporting cast but the team struggled out of the gate. The primary issue was how the three talented superstars fit together, what role would each play. Toward the end of the season the team pulled together and dominated the league. They went on to win all their playoffs, beating the world champion Boston Celtics and feisty Chicago Bulls. James and Wade were dominant.

But something curious happened in the finals. Carlisle's zone defense stifled the Heat and the Mav's strong team offense shredded their opponents. Surprisingly, at times LeBron James seemed to be out of it. Not surprisingly Dirk Nowitzki would not be denied. Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, JJ Barea, DeShawn Stevenson and the rest of the team would not be denied. This was their time.

Miami has outstanding talent. Heat President Pat Riley will strengthen their roster in the off season. Wade, James and Bosh will be at the big dance again. They will win an NBA title.

The Dallas Mavericks demonstrated that a passionate, determined, gritty and talented team could prevail over a group of superstars. This should be the biggest takeaway for the Miami Heat.

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