Surprise is the common theme of these NBA Finals. To the surprise of many, the Dallas Mavericks dispelled the Portland Trail Blazers, two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference heir apparent Oklahoma City Thunder. The Miami Heat have title expectations; however, it is a surprise that they have meshed so quickly. Also surprising (though not to the author), LeBron James emerged as the top closer of the 2011 NBA playoffs with several impressive finishes on both offense and defense. Which team will complete the task and hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy?
Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavs are an offensive machine. They have a mature, veteran point guard in Jason Kidd. In J. J. Barea and Jason Terry, the Mavericks have backcourt depth and explosive bench scoring. On the defensive end, Sean Marion and DeShawn Stevenson provide perimeter length and versatility. Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood patrol the paint alter shots and clean the glass. And Dirk, he is Dirk. The Mavericks can beat you in a number of ways. All of which are related to the 100s of releases and positions Nowitzki shoots that beautiful jumper.
Since “The Decision”, LeBron James and the Miami Heat have been the most hated team in professional sports. James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh can silence a large swath of their critics with four wins over the next two weeks. The Heat are peaking at just the right moment. James has found his late game touch. Wade, while struggling offensively, has rebounded and contributed to the swarming Heat D. Chris Bosh has been consistent as the release valve for both Hall of Fame wings on the offensive end. Finally, a healthy Udonis Haslem and an inspired Mike Miller give the Heat their most complete line-up of the season. For all the flash and royalty the Heat possess on O, they have transformed into a scrappy, defensive team.
Let’s be honest. Love them or hate them, the Miami Heat have elevated interest in the NBA. Whether you like LeBron or you hate him, he is (and has been for at least 3 years) the best basketball player on the planet. These NBA Finals are meant to be a coronation. Prepare the throne for the long reign of a new King. The Heat conquer the Mavericks in six (or less) games. All hail…