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NBA Finals: Who Will Stop Dirk and LeBron, and Other Predictions

CHICAGO, IL - MAY 26:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat celebrates after the Heat won 83-80 against the Chicago Bulls in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 26, 2011 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Ben GoldsteinContributor IIIMay 31, 2011

The NBA Finals start on Tuesday night and, in my opinion, it should be a phenomenal series. 

You have a team who fizzled out of the playoffs for about three straight years now in the Dallas Mavericks and the team that was watched closely under a microscope for the entire year the Miami Heat.

The Mavericks are lead by 7'0" sharpshooter Dirk Nowitzki who has had an amazing playoffs. But the Mavericks are also loaded with other veteran talents such as Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and Tyson Chandler.

Kidd is a savvy veteran point guard who is not as talented as he was eight years ago, but he still makes plays and is a certified leader of this team.

Terry is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA who comes off the bench as a sixth man. Terry is also a very good playmaker who makes big shots in clutch moments.

Marion has lost a step since his age has gone up, but he still is a nice long defender who I think will have the duty guarding some of the Heat's best players.

Chandler is the muscle for a Mavericks team that used to be very soft. Since his arrival at the beginning of the year the Mavericks have played more physically and have stepped up in these playoffs with a solidified big man in the rotation.

The Miami Heat team who is world wide famous for its offseason signings of LeBron James and Chris Bosh is the Eastern Conference opponent.

The Heat also have another superstar that was already on the team in Dwyane Wade and they also have a lot of other pieces that fit the puzzle.

So who will guard LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki?

Against Nowitzki you have to make him work for every shot. He is so good at shooting around and over defenders that he makes ridiculous shots. But someone has to guard him.

The Heat have four options on defense to guard Nowitzki.

Number one is to have center Joel Anthony who is becoming one of the best big-man defenders in the league to guard him. Now, Anthony might have a tough time against Nowitzki because of his skill off the dribble, but Anthony is still a physical defender who could cause problems for Nowitzki.

Two other options are Udonis Haslem and Chris Bosh. Haslem who has been injured and just started playing a couple of weeks ago has always guarded Nowitzki very well, but with his injuries this season he could have a tough time. Bosh is very athletic for his size and could be an excellent option to guard Nowitzki. 

I think the best option though would be to put James on Nowitzki. Last series, James guarded MVP Derrick Rose and practically shut him down. James is a very physical defender who will has the quickness and size to guard Nowitzki.

Now on the other hand, who will guard James?

James is a freak of nature with elite speed for a player his size. The Mavericks do not have a shut-down option for James but some key options would be Kidd who is a very pesky defender who guarded Kevin Durant during the Western Conference finals.

Another option would be DeShawn Stevenson who is a very good defensive player who is quick enough to keep up with James.

The best bet would be to go with Shawn Marion. Marion is 6'7" and has long arms to help guard James. He played excellent defense against Durant during the Western Conference finals and could be the X-factor for this series.

In the end though, I think the Miami Heat have too much talent for this Dallas Mavericks team who has been lifted in these playoffs by a magnificent appearance by Nowitzki. 

Nowitzki should go off in some games and so should Terry, but James, Wade and Bosh are just too much and in the end I think the Heat finally get the haters quiet.

My prediction Miami Heat beats the Dallas Mavericks in seven games.

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