by Ryan Meehan
The NBA Finals are now set, and will begin Tuesday night at 8PM when the Dallas Mavericks take on the Miami Heat. We’ve made no secret of our dislike for LeBron James on this website so it’s hard to come at this series with an unbiased take. They both deserve to be here, but as you’ll see we tend to think that Dallas deserves it more than Miami does.
Sometimes you have to listen to the players that are actually on the court as opposed to the analysts who stand on the sidelines “breaking it down”. Frequently the answers are found in the most unlikely places, and from some pretty unlikely sources. The ultimate NBA Finals preview came from a soundbite from Bulls Center Joakim Noah after the Bulls lost game 5 in which they were eliminated by the Heat.
“They’re Hollywood as hell, but they’re very good.”
When he said that, I pretty much realized that the Miami Heat have no chance at winning the 2011 NBA Finals. The Heat are hollywood as hell, those guys flop all of the time and every Heat game seems like it’s one great big pony show.
In a way, these two teams are exact replicas of the cities which they represent. Miami, Florida is the Los Angeles of the East: Flashy, irritating, and overrated. Dallas is a very real American City: Working class, polite, but if you go down the wrong street you’re toast. (More episodes of COPS have been shot in Dallas – Fort Worth than any other city) I think it’s fair to say that both of their basketball teams mirror their metro areas.
And once again, I would like to mention that I am probably not the best suited to break any of this down because I do hate the Heat so much. It’s not even so much that I like the Mavericks, I don’t really. But they are playing the basketball equivalent of Satan, so as you read some of ths preview keep that in mind.
So let’s start with Miami. You might remember the event held last July in which LeBron James took an hour of TV time to make a 15 second announcement about how he was “taking his talents to South Beach” and would be playing for the Miami Heat. You might also remember a week later how he, Wade, and Bosh showed up for a pep rally where he said that he thought the Heat could win 7 rings. I was very impressed by that quote at the time because I wasn’t aware someone could fit both of their feet in their mouth at the same time. They struggled at a few points during the season, but were always able to crawl back to the top and ended up with the two seed when it was all said and done.
LeBron is a complete blowjag. He’s an insane physical specimen, very talented, and has every right to the legions of fans who follow his work. Just like I have every right to not give a shit. I honestly wouldn’t have such a problem with this guy if he hadn’t orchestrated all of the aforementioned noise last summer. I can’t stand how after he gets fouled and scores the basket for an And 1, he pounds his chest like he’s not being paid millions of dollars to do just that. Honestly, there’s a million reasons why you should hate Lebron James and I don’t want this piece to take hours to read so I’m putting my foot down here.
I really used to like Wade, but when the NBA basically handed him that championship the first time these teams played, I’ve always thought that his legacy will seem a bit rigged. He’s a great player, but he’s not MVP-caliber anymore. He gets a lot of favorable calls, probably the most since Michael Jordan.
Bosh to me used to also be likable, but the more I watch him play I can’t help but think that his statistics were disastrously inflated in Toronto because there wasn’t anybody else on that team to put up those numbers. He’s had a good postseason this year, I’ll give him that. At that position I can never help but bring up the fact that he’s probably too skinny. I’m not saying he should gain a lot of weight, maybe just an extra ten pounds would make him more solid.
Guy’s had a hell of a postseason, might be the best role player in the league. I like Udonis Haslem regardless of his proximity to such undeserved talent. Street baller extraordinairre.
Fuck Mike Bibby. In addition to playing for the Heat AND being a complete tool, he’s also very unlikable: Which is why Atlanta got rid of him in the first place. Bibby has also played for the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Sacramento Kings as well. I bet Justin Beiber and Clay Aiken drive by Bibby’s house every night to yell shit at him. Non-factor.
Now let’s look at Dallas. Remember to get here the Dallas swept the defending championship Los Angeles Lakers. Then they played a very tough series against an Oklahoma City team that simply made some very dumb mistakes down the stretch in key games.
The man, period, end of report. Dirk’s a complete monster and there’s very little that can be done to guard him. There’s been a lot of people comparing Dirk to Larry Bird as of late and unlike some of these basketball purists, I don’t have a problem with it. Plus, think about this for minute: Can you name ANY other 7’1″ player in NBA history that had that range? I can’t. There probably are a couple before our time but definitely none in the modern day era. Dirk is the hardest working player in the NBA right now.
Kidd is a much different player than he was when he took the Nets to the Finals several years back. He appears to be more focused, and have a different energy about him. He’s thirty-eight years old, and in basketball years that means he should have died at some point last season.
Here’s another guy who’s been waiting for a ring for quite some time. Wade’s +/- is -19.0 when Terry is on the bench, versus 13.1 when Terry is on the court. Dallas moves the ball well and Jason Terry’s a big reason for that. He’s got an NBA Finals trophy tattooed on his arm so you know he wants it even more than some of these other guys. He’s a serious threat from behind the arc.
If Dallas plays ten game sin a row, Marion will foul out of at least eight of them. And he’ll walk to the bench smiling, because heknows he’s done his job. Shaun’s a good, hard, body to have in there in the second half.
Stevenson and Marion are probably going to end up guarding LeBron James, which is a job nobody really wants.
Could be any number of things in this series. He could be an integral part to their offensive plan, or we could go the entire Finals without hearing much about him.
A lot of people hate on Mark Cuban and I’m not one of them. Keep in mind, this franchise was trash when he purchased it. This will be the second time he’s taking them to the Finals and they make the playoffs every year. He has a genuine passion for the game, which is something I can’t really say about a singnifacnt amount of the other owners in professional sports. He has no right to jump onto the court like he used to and every fine that he got for doing so he rightfully deserved, but it’s nice to see that fire from someone who is supposed to be a “suit”.
So, if you’re Miami you should know not to foul Dirk by this point. Of course, that makes things difficult because he does have such an amazing fadeaway, be it on two legs or just one. Keep in mind every time you double him it’s going to mean there’s someone else wide open that’s usually going to have a pretty high percentage shot. Don’t try to be flashy at all otherwise this will be a four game series for sure. And as former NFL coach Bill Parcells used to say: “Praying probably wouldn’t hurt either”
If you’re Dallas, you play physical ball for four striaght quarters and hope that the referees call a fair game. You stick to your guns, take smart shots and get Dirk the ball in the perimeter. The rest of it should work itself out. Don’t take plays off, don’t let them go on a run and if they do get on a run, call timeout before that shit gets out of hand. Other than that, I expect this to be a very easy series for Dallas to win.
Mavericks in Five. It could go six, but it won’t go seven, and I won’t be shocked at all if it does only take four. Since they play in the Western Conference, they’ve definitely had a rougher schedule so a team like Miami doesn’t exactly present an insurmountable challenge to them. The Mavericks have won all ten games against the Heat since the 2006 NBA Finals, and I expect that trend to continue.
As much as I don’t like being “that guy” I will say that with all of the people I heard badmouthing the NBA, the playoffs were pretty incredible. Think about all of the cool stuff that happened: The Spurs got clobbered in the first round, then the Lakers got swept. Oklahoma and Memphis proved that we’ll be seeing a lot of both of those teams in the postseason from now on. The Bulls showed that they are RIGHT there in the East, especially since the Celtics’ age has finally gotten the best of them for good. There’s a lot of great reasons to watch the NBA and I’ll be right there on my couch watching every minute of it.
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