June 2011

Dallas's Team

Well Dallas Mavericks, you finally did it! Thirty-one years after you entered the NBA you now can sit back and soak it all in. It has been a long wait for the basketball fans of this region. Sure, championships have not been as hard to come by in, certain, other major sporting leagues. The National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys have 5 Super Bowl Championships in all, which is second only behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even the Dallas Stars have one National Hockey League Title from the 1998/98 season they got to hoist the Stanley Cup. Dallas NBA fans now have something to hang their cowboy hats on too, but have a long way to go in order to catch America’s team

Dallas Football owns the most wealth when it comes to championships. The Cowboys first championship came in 1971 when they defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI. This was followed up 6 years later when they won their second against the Denver Broncos. The Cowboys then would find their stride in the 90s. Here they won three Vince Lombardi Trophies and the nice rings that come with the territory as well. This all occurred in a four-year span from 1992 to 1995 and made the Cowboys America’s team.Through that time period Dallas had a big three that helped make this all possible.

Mavs’ Win is a Feel-Good Story

So earlier I wrote a bit of a recap of last night’s Finals-clinching victory for the Mavericks.  I mentioned the vindication, redemption, and jubilation of many of the Maverick players and staff.  Just mentioning it, though, does not do the meaning of last night’s championship justice for the Mavericks.  Let’s take a closer look.

Dirk Nowitzki: This is the easy one, as Dirk has been waiting for last night’s moment for five long years.  Up 2-0 in the 2006 Finals to the Heat, the Mavs lost the next four games, as Dwyane Wade captured his first title.  After that, Dirk was hammered as being soft and incapable of winning.  Even in this year’s playoffs, no one really gave the Mavs much of a chance, though a sweep of the Lakers changed that a bit.  But they were the underdogs in the Finals.  And so now Dirk is vindicated.  He has his ring, and he proved he is anything but soft after battling the flu during Game 4.  He now has most likely cemented himself as a future Hall of Famer, and is truly one of the game’s all-time greats.

Jason Terry:  The lone teammate of Dirk left over from the 2006 team, Terry, too, is vindicated.  He sported a new tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Trophy late in the year and backed it up.  He, too, has dealt with the misery of defeat for five seasons, and so this win means just as much to him as Dirk.  And it’s fitting they are the only members of the ’06 squad left, because they led the charge this time, and they won together.

Jason Kidd: A loser in both his previous Finals appearances with New Jersey, Kidd has been in the NBA for nineteen seasons now, and finally gets his ring.  I might even argue that he is the most deserving of all the Mavs.  It’s been a long road for Kidd and if he chooses to retire, then he will have a fantastic career to reflect upon, and that long awaited championship. 

Shawn Marion: Marion was Steve Nash’s running mate in Phoenix for a number of years, before being traded to Miami in the Shaquille O’Neil deal in 2008.  He spent a couple seasons there before moving to Toronto, and then onto Dallas.  Not necessarily a journeyman, but Marion’s career went from solid number two option to complementary piece, but that role may be what serves him best.  He certainly was a perfect fit on the Mavs, and after twelve years, he, too, is deserving of his ring.

Tyson Chandler: A more typical journeyman, Chandler bounced around the league after the rebuilding project in Chicago fizzled out.  Drafted out of high school, Chandler never really found his niche until he was in New Orleans, and there he turned into a defensive force, one that eventually fit perfectly alongside Dirk.  It has been a long road for him as well, and, as a Bulls fan, I can’t help but feel good for the guy, who has turned in a really respectable career.

This is not even to mention injured Caron Butler, coach Rick Carlisle, or owner Mark Cuban.  Or the rest of the team.  Everyone is deserving of the championship, as the Mavs are the true definition of team.  You simply can’t help but feel good for everyone on the team.  They each are deserving in their own ways, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone outside of Miami who is disappointed in yesterday’s result.  Going into the potential lockout, the NBA needed something positive, and what it got was the most feel-good champion and story in years. 

Mavs Win!

In what may go down as a great upset, or just one of the most feel-good series in NBA Finals history, the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat Sunday night 105-95 in Game 6.  It was another fantastic game that could have gone either way, just like the other five in the series, but in the fourth quarter, you could sense that Dirk Nowitzki was not going to allow his Mavs to lose this game.

Though Dirk took over in the fourth quarter, it was a true team effort, as the Mavs’ boiling three-point shooting continued, with everyone from J.J. Barea to Brian Cardinal pitching in from beyond the arc.  The Mavs got invaluable contributions from Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler, scoring 12 and 5, respectively, each grabbing 8 boards as well.  And Dirk was Dirk.  Despite starting the game shooting poorly and entering the fourth quarter with only ten points, he did what champions do, and took over. 

Dirk scored eleven points in the fourth, including the dagger with a under a minute to go.  There would be no comebacks for Miami this time, because Dirk made sure nothing of that sort would occur.  Taking advantage of Miami’s misses and another debatable effort from LeBron James, the Mavs controlled the fourth quarter, leading by 10 with about five minutes to play, and not looking back.

Depth Outweighing Star Power

Miami has created a three-headed-monster that has taken over NBA cities across the country this season. The additions of Chris Bosh and Lebron James this past off-season immediately made them the favorites and focus of attention the entire season. That focus, however, is beginning to shift to an Older and less star-studded Dallas team who has quietly done what they needed to do this season and holds a 3-2 lead in the NBA finals. The Combination of Dallas starters and their bench has provided a slew of weapons to their arsenal. This depth will be used tonight to attempt to finally slay the trifecta of beast Miami posesses and bring a championship trophy to a city, a team, and players it has eluded for sometime.

Miami began to make noise in the off-season by picking up Chris Bosh and rumors soon after began to fly around that Lebron James may be next to make a splash in Miami. This was soon found to be true when Lebron decided to go to South Beach and join the likes of Wade and Bosh. The three then were introduced together in their Miami uniforms with all the lights, smoke, and pizzazz one would expect from a MTV music video. It was clear they wanted the world to know they were superstars and no team could outweigh their star power.

Dallas, on the other hand, has been using a combination of players who have been producing on both sides of the ball these finals. These players were not recruited this past off-season in blockbuster deals to get the mavericks back on top. They are a veteran laced team with players that have worked together for quite sometime and have continued to push each other to the top year after year. All have a role which helps produce the best results possible.

The charge is Led by Dirk Nowitzki who has continued to dazzle all through the playoffs with good game after good game. Even a sinus infection that caused his temperature to soar well into the 100s did not prevent the 12 year pro from making the game-winning bucket in game 4 of this finals series. This sickness would later be mocked by the younger star powers of Miami who acted as though Nowitzki was faking the illness. To anyone who watched the game, however, it was evident that Dirk was visibly exhausted yet his performance was remarkable.

In game 5 of the series another set of veteran 3-point specialist provided the game winning shots that would propel Dallas to victory. First 16 year veteran Jason Kidd hit a wide open three pointer to put the Mavericks up by 4 points with just minutes left. This was followed up by a 3 point shot by 11 year veteran Jason Terry who was covered by the superstar Lebron James. Terry dribbled back behind the three-point line and took a step back fading shot with Lebron's hand in his face. The shot went right through and sealed the game putting the Mavericks in the position they are in now to attempt to wrap up the series and win the championship title.

Other contributors include J.J Barea whose impressive three point shooting in game 5 made it possible for Kidd and Terry to seal the deal late. Ten year veteran Tyson Chandler has provided size on the inside for offensive scores as well as defensive plays on the other side of the ball. Veteran Shawn Marian has also provided good offensive shots and has defensively handled Lebron James. All of these players are not the caliber of Bosh, Wade, or Lebron. Their veteran leadership and experience, however, has provided the power that may help David beat Goliath.  

Mavericks Tie Finals in Impressive Fashion

Last night, the Dallas Mavericks may have turned the 2011 NBA Finals completely around.  And they did it in rousing fashion, coming back from fifteen points down in the fourth quarter.  With 7:53 left in the game, Dwyane Wade hit a three-pointer to put Miami on top 88-73.  It was seemingly the nail in Dallas’s coffin – at least for Game 2 – as the Heat celebrated on the court and the fans at American Airlines Arena thought the game was iced.  But the Mavs had different plans.