We saw a championship rematch Wednesday night that featured two teams in vastly different positions. Back in the summer of 2011, we might have assumed that the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat would see each other again in a more equal capacity.
It hasn't gone that way. The Mavericks have since crumbled, squandering championship chances by letting go of center Tyson Chandler. The Heat, of course, went on to win last year's championship and look poised to try for a repeat.
For a brief moment, though, it felt as though all the intervening time had not happened. Dirk Nowitzki looked like Dirk, and Dallas played a thrilling, competitive game in Miami. It was a captivating beginning to an evening that later ceded the spotlight to some new, ascendant teams.