NBA Finals 2011: 10 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks Are Better Than the Miami Heat

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2011

NBA Finals 2011: 10 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks Are Better Than the Miami Heat

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    Almost every "expert" and sports media personality is picking against the Mavericks right now. This should come as no surprise to anyone.

    No team has received as much unbridled adoration from ESPN and the rest of the media as the Miami Heat over the last month.

    No team has been doubted and discredited as much as the Dallas Mavericks.

    They all picked against Dallas in the first round against Portland.  Dallas won that series 4-2.

    They picked against them in the second round against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.  That series was a convincing sweep.

    Even after steamrolling Kobe and the Lakers, the anti-Mavericks didn't get any more quiet.  The younger and more athletic Oklahoma City Thunder were supposed to have little trouble with the decrepit Mavs.

    Now, everyone's picking against them again.  But I'm going to give you 10 reasons the Mavericks are the better team in this series...


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10: Size

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    The Lakers big advantage over the last couple years has been in their frontcourt.  When the Mavericks acquired Tyson Chandler, they seized that advantage for themselves.

    Having two players over 7' in one lineup causes a number of problems for Dallas's opponents.  

    The matchup issues they cause are compounded by the fact that both Chandler and Dirk Nowitzki move a lot better than most seven-footers.

    Miami's frontline is thoroughly undersized.  Chris Bosh is 6'10" and will struggle to impact the game against the defense of Chandler.

    Joel Anthony will cause a lot more harm than good for Miami.  Their 6'9" starting center has doubled his production in the playoffs, but that has led to just three points and five rebounds a game.

    I imagine Miami will probably try Anthony, Bosh and LeBron James defensively against Dirk. He'll have all three of them on slow roast all series long.

9: Experience

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    Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki have all played over 10 years in the league, been to the finals and felt the sting of defeat there (twice in Kidd's case).

    Every other player in their rotation is a veteran who still has a decent amount of gas left in the tank.

    Miami's an experienced team as well, but the edge has to go to Dallas here.

8: Shawn Marion

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    Shawn Marion may be as important a factor as Dirk Nowitzki in this seriesbut for totally different reasons.  Marion's defense is going to have to be fantastic against LeBron James.

    James is obviously the most talented player in the world.  It's not even close.  But in terms of just scoring, he's still second.  That honor goes to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant.

    Marion did a great job against him over the last three games of that series.  In fairness to Durant, his own teammate Russell Westbrook did a lot to slow him down too, but you can't discredit Marion's defense.

    He's not going to stop LeBron in the finals, but he can slow him down.

7: Coaching

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    Rick Carlisle has 443 career coaching wins compared to Erik Spoelstra's 148.  He has 49 playoff wins compared to Spoelstra's 16.

    On top of general experience, Carlisle just passes the eye test better than Spoelstra.  He always appears to be in complete control of the game and his players.  The same cannot be said of Spoelstra.

    If Carlisle outcoached 11-time champion Phil Jackson, I'll take him in the x's and o's battle in this series too.

6: Shooting

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    The Mavericks great shooting has helped them get to this point and will be key in this series as well.

    They've shot better than Miami from the field, three-point range and the free-throw line this postseason.

    When Dallas's shooters get hot, this team is extremely difficult to beatask the Lakers.

5: Bench

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    Miami has no depth—none.  In both the regular and postseasons, no Heat player outside the big three was even close to averaging double figures in scoring.

    The team's fourth-leading scorer in the playoffs is James Jones, who's pouring in 6.5 points a game.

    This hasn't hurt them yet, but they haven't been faced with a challenge like the one Dallas poses.

    The Mavericks' explosiveness off the bench will cause severe problems for the likes of Mario Chalmers, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem.

    Unless James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh can all play 48 minutes a game without getting tired, Miami's bench has to step up.  They simply can't do that to the extent the Mavs can.

4: Motivated Underdogs

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    Like I said in the intro to this slideshow, everyone is picking against the Mavericks right now.  Don't underestimate the kind of effect "bulletin board material" can have on a team.

3: Karma

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    The officiating during the 2006 NBA Finals was quite possibly the worst any of us have ever seen.  No one can deny it.

    Dwyane Wade got countless phantom calls while Dirk and the rest of the Mavs were bludgeoned on the other end without ever hearing the whistle.

    Let's just hope what goes around, comes around.

    Unfortunately, I have a feeling the refs may be even worse this time around since Miami now has LeBron James in addition to Wade.

    The powers that be may have to intercede (especially if Danny Crawford is on any of these crews).

2: Matchups

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    Miami has the advantage at shooting guard and small forwardthat's it.  Dallas is much better everywhere else.

    The Mavs have the edge at point guard, power forward, center, the bench and coaching.

    Granted, James and Wade have monumental advantages at their positions, but is it enough for them to overcome the team being inferior everywhere else?

1: Dirk Nowitzki

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    Dirk is averaging 28.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game during the postseason.  He's shooting 52 percent from the field, 52 from three-point range and 93 percent from the free-throw line.

    In crucial points during these playoffs, NBA officials swallowed their whistles as soon as Dirk caught the ball, and he hit the big shots anyway.

    On top of all that, he has the highest playoff player efficiency rating of anyone in this series.

    The only people in this series that might be able to curtail Dirk's production are the referees who obviously won't be giving him the same superstar calls they'll give Miami's big three.

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