Dallas Mavericks 2011 NBA Champions

Posted: June 13, 2011 by frankthetank44 in basketball, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Dallas Mavericks became America's Team over the past week...

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 Sunday night in Game 6 in Miami to win the 2011 NBA Championship 4 games to 2. It was the first championship for the Mavericks franchise, and every player on the team for that matter. Rick Carlisle also joined a handful of coaches to win a ring as a player and as a coach.  Jason Kidd is in his 17th season, and in his third trip to the Finals he wins the elusive ring. Dirk Nowitzki is the 4th player born outside the US to win a Finals MVP joining Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry were the only Mavericks on the team back in 2006 when the Heat shocked the Mavericks in 6 games to win the title.  Dallas flew out to a 2-0 lead and then collapsed, and they weren’t the same for years after that.  Ironically, after the series ended Dwayne Wade was sick of all the complaints about the officiating and called out Nowitzki for being a poor leader in the closing moments of games.  Who would have known how that would foreshadow events some 5 years later?  Sure, Dirk won the League MVP the following year in 2007, and they had the best record in the league and #1 seed in the Western Conference, but they were beaten in the first round by the #8 seed Golden State Warriors.

This year it was the Heat who some might say collapsed.  After taking a 2 games to 1 lead after Game 3 they lost 3 straight games.  They were heavily favored, but clearly not sentimental favorites.  Thanks to the poorly orchestrated “Decision” over the summer, it wasn’t a matter of everyone loving the Mavs, it was the fact that everyone in America(besides Miami), was rooting against the Heat.  Whether it was Miami’s preseason “Celebration” party where they guaranteed multiple championships…or the premature celebration in the 4th quarter of game 2…the Heat were like Joakim Noah said..too HOLLYWOOD.  At the center of all the vitriol was perhaps the most talented player in the league…some say of all time…The Chosen One Lebron James.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert tweeted after the game “….there are no shortcuts.  NONE!”  Former Cavs PG & LeBron teammate Mo Williams tweeted “Dallas just healed my heart.”

HARSH? or Well-Deserved??

Of all the players involved in this exciting series, none had their legacy tarnished more than King James.  His scoring average in the Finals was 17.8 PPG, an 8.9 PPG drop from his regular season average.  That’s the biggest dropoff in NBA history.  He remains on the list of NBA MVPs without a ring.  Dirk left the list, but Derrick Rose joined, so it remains at 6.  LeBron James, Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone & Steve Nash.  LeBron was the leading scorer for the Heat in Game 6…but when the pressure was on in the 4th quarter it was almost stunning to watch the transformation.  The same guy who dominated Eastern Conference powerhouses Boston and Chicago just seemed disinterested in the series.  Passing up open shots to defer to teammates, and having no sense of urgency when his team was trailing.  It was like Donovan McNabb running a 2 minute drill.  It’s hard to blame 1 person for Miami’s series loss.  They missed 13 of 33 foul shots in Game 6 & Dallas scored 27 points off of their turnovers.  Dirk was 1-12 from the field in the first half, yet Dallas still led by 2 thanks to Jason Terry’s 19 points on 8-10 shooting.  When hoops fans look back on the 2011 Finals you will remember two things…Lebron coming up small in the fourth quarter and Dirk Nowitzki reminding everyone he is quite possibly the toughest matchup for anyone in the league to guard.

The way Dirk shoots, it’s hard to believe sometimes you are watching a 7-footer.  Those jumpers off the wrong foot, high arcing 3s…all shots he practices religiously.  Let’s not forget he tore a tendon in his left middle finger in Game 2, and he played Game 4 with a 102 fever and a sinus infection.  That alone ranks him up there with Kurt Angle winning an Olympic Gold Medal in wrestling in 1996 with a broken freakin neck.  While BronBron & Wade had some fun mocking him for being sick, Dirk never let their childish antics distract him.  If it bothered him he never let on.  He keeps everything inside, still hurting from the 2006 collapse.  As the buzzer sounded on Game 6 Dirk left the court and headed to the dressing room covering his face with his jersey.  He congratulated no one, wanting to wait till he was alone to let the emotions flow free.  Also of note was Dwayne Wade taking the time to congratulate and shake hands with the Mavs players, even texting Dirk later since he wasn’t able to speak to him on the court.  It was reported LeBron slapped some hands, but after the game I saw him beating feet into the Heat locker room.

Dallas owner Mark Cuban may be one of the most famous owners in all of sports, but not for the right reasons.  When you think of Mark Cuban you think of him yelling at the refs, trash talking opposing fans in their home arena, arguing with NBA Commissioner David Stern.  However, when it came time for their long awaited showdown….David Stern handing the Larry O’Brien trophy over to Cuban, something else happened.  Cuban requested that Mavericks team founder Donald Carter accept the trophy from Stern.  Carter stayed on as part of the team as a consultant after selling the team, and kept his courtside seats where he is always found sporting the white cowboy hat that was part of their team logo.  Besides keeping his mouth shut and not doing interviews to keep the focus on the team, he also manned up and offered to pay for the celebratory parade in Dallas.  The Mayor was hesitant to plan anything due to the budget, as well as a flashback to 2006 when they planned a parade after going up 2-0 in the series.  Captain Hindsight said that didn’t turn out so hot.

So with the threat of a lockout upcoming, where do the Heat and Mavs go from here?  Will Miami enter the 2012 humbled?  Or will this just make them thirstier (hungrier?) for a title?  Remember throughout NBA history it’s a right of passage for the great teams to have to overcome agonizing defeats before reaching the pinnacle.  Will Pat Riley come down from the front office and take a seat on the bench once again?  What about Dallas?  Don’t forget next season they get arguably their 2nd best player Caron Butler back at full strength.  Shaping up to be a very interesting off-season as usual.  Instead of focusing on how Miami blew it or LeBron choked, how bout we focus on how Dallas played as a team?  They played the game like it was supposed to be played….hard defense, great ball movement, showing trust in your teammates.  With all the headlines given to individuals all year long, it was nice to see the final moment of a fantastic season focused on a unified, hard-working drama-free team.

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