NBA Finals 2011: Do the Dallas Mavericks Stand a Chance Against the Miami Heat?

Brian DeCandiaContributor IIMay 27, 2011

Dirk Nowitzki looks to celebrate is first NBA Championship
Dirk Nowitzki looks to celebrate is first NBA ChampionshipRonald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks have been deemed one of the worst playoff teams of all time. The last time the Mavericks were in the Finals was 2006.

Against whom? The Miami Heat. The Mavs went up 2-0 in that series but then Dwyane Wade went off, and the Heat took the next four.

Over the last 11 years the Mavs have been one of the most consistent regular season teams in the NBA, posting a combined record of 620-282 (.680).

The playoffs have been a different story for this organization.

In 2006-07 the Mavs finished 67-15 (.817), garnering the No. 1 seed in the NBA Playoffs. The Mavs were upset in the first round by the Golden State Warriors, 4-2, in possibly the biggest flop in NBA Playoff history.

One short year ago Dallas finished up second in the West, but again was bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the No. 7 seeded San Antonio Spurs, 4-2.

Will this year be different?

This matchup has all the makings for one of the highest rated Finals in NBA history. Just look at the facts.

Dirk Nowitzki, possibly the best European player of all time, trying to capture his first NBA title. LeBron James trying to do the same. The Miami Big Three are looking to quiet the nay-sayers by winning a title. The Mavs are looking to get rid of their playoff demons and capture that elusive NBA championship.

Let's face it. The Heat are the younger, more athletic team, but who is the more talented team? This point can and will be argued all series, starting now. 

Jason Kidd vs. Mike Bibby: Kidd wins this matchup. He is the more prolific scorer and will make more of an impact on defense.

DeShawn Stevenson vs. Dwyane Wade: Wade takes this matchup with ease. Offensively Stevenson is only averaging 5.3 PPG. Even if Wade struggles he will still get 15.

Shawn Marion vs. LeBron James: When it is all said and done, James will be recognized as one of the best players to ever play the game. He takes this matchup over the veteran. James has proven over the last two series that he can make the big shot and he has never wavered from taking that shot at the end of games. Marion may be old and wise but LeBron is young and talented.

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Chris Bosh: Nowitzki wins this matchup against Bosh. Although Bosh has shown shades of brilliance in this playoff run, Dirk has been amazingly consistent. Averaging 28.4 PPG and 7.5 RPG, Nowitzki has been a terror for any defender to deal with and will be a big problem for the Miami Heat with the ability to go off for 50 at any point.  

Tyson Chandler vs. Joel Anthony: When healthy, Chandler has been a dominate player. Both of these players do not show much poise on offense, but they are both great post defenders. This is the most important matchup of the series. Whomever can stay out of foul trouble and bang on the offensive boards will be the deciding factor in this series.

The bench of the Mavericks was without question more talented than the Heat's, but with the return of Udonis Haslem, Miami has become a deeper team. With Miami's Big Three being so young, the bench will not have to play as many minutes, so this will not be as big of a factor as people think.

Prediction: The Heat will have to wait another season for that NBA title. Mavericks in seven.