2011 NBA Finals: Why It Will Be Easy to Root for the Mavericks Against the Heat

Justin WeltonAnalyst IIMay 27, 2011

2011 NBA Finals: Why It Will Be Easy to Root for the Mavericks Against the Heat

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41, Jose Juan Barea #11 and Jason Terry #31 and the Dallas Mavericks celebrate their 100-96 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Americ
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    When the Heat linked up this past summer, it was just a matter of time before they were on their way to their first NBA Final. The Mavericks were a bit more a stretch, with the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers standing in their path.

    Now that both teams have made it to the finals, I wouldn't mind seeing either win the title.

    However, it is much easier for me to root for the Mavericks than the Heat. Here are the reasons why.

No 5: Mark Cuban

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in overtime while the Maverics take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2011
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    I love the fact that Mark Cuban actually cares about his product. As a baseball fan from the Pittsburgh area, I've wished for years that Cuban would buy the Pittsburgh Pirates. I would much rather see an owner care to much than too little.

    Some people believe Cuban is bad for basketball. Why is that? I think he is great for the sport; in fact, we need more people like him.

    Cuban has put a lot of time into this project, and it would be great to see it all pay dividends.

No 4: Jason Kidd

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks sits on the bench before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23, 2011 in Oklahoma C
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Although Jason Kidd has led New Jersey to the Conference and NBA Finals, he has never managed to win it all.

    Kidd is not only the third best three-point shooter of all-time, but is one of the greatest rebounding guards in NBA history. He is capable, even at age 38, of recording triple-doubles every time he steps onto the floor.

    Kidd is missing just one puzzle-piece in his otherwise Hall of Fame-worthy career, and that is a ring.

No 3: Payback for 2006

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    DALLAS - JUNE 20:  Series MVP Dwyane Wade #3 and Shaquille O'Neal #32 of the Miami Heat celebrate together after the Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in game six of the 2006 NBA Finals on June 20, 2006 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  The
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Ahead two games to none, the Mavericks choked away a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of game three in the 2006 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The Heat went on to take the series four games to two.

    The Mavericks have waited five years for this moment. And there is nothing better than a rematch against a team that beat you, regardless of how many years pass in between.

No 2: Dirk Nowitzki

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after making a three-pointer in the fourth quarter while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airl
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best shooters in NBA history. He has proven that smaller, more athletic players don't affect him as much as they used to.

    Nowitzki has taken his game to another level this postseason by putting on multiple unbelievable performances despite being fouled all series by Nick Collison and the rest of the Thunder.

    Dirk and the Mavericks had the 2006 NBA Championship in their sights with a 2-0 series lead. They were up by double-digits in the fourth quarter, but let it slip away and then lost four consecutive games.

    He has had over five years to think about this upcoming series. How could you not root for a guy like Nowitzki?

No 1: Ownership Stuck to Its Plan and Put Pieces Together

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Jason Kidd #2, Jose Juan Barea #11, Shawn Marion #0 and Jason Terry #31 and the Dallas Mavericks celebrate their 100-96 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playo
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Miami Heat created their team this past offseason: they kept Wade, brought in LeBron and Bosh, and signed a bunch of players for the minimum salary. They are now in the NBA Finals.

    The Mavericks did exactly the opposite.

    Dallas, in recent years, have put pieces together year-by-year by trading for Jason Kidd, hiring Rick Carlisle, and signing free agents such as Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic and a host of others. 

    Mark Cuban deserves a ton of credit for putting this team together.

    It should be easy to root for a team that was created the original way. I don't care how the Heat were put together; I just have greater respect for how the Mavericks made the finals, compared to the Heat.