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

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 30, 2011

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

    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...

     

    You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter   @_Andy_Bailey

10: Size

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 02:  Tyson Chandler #6 and Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks react in the fourth quarter while taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on Ma
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 and Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrate late 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 Airline
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 23:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder shoots over Shawn Marion #0 of the Dallas Mavericks in the first quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 23
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 21:  Head coach Rick Carlisle of the Dallas Mavericks reacts in the second half while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Oklahoma City Arena on May 21,
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 17:  Jason Kidd #2 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts with teammates Dirk Nowitzki #41 and Jason Terry #31 in the first half while taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game One of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs a
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 08:  Guard Jason Terry #31 of the Dallas Mavericks reacts after a three-point shot with Jose Juan Barea against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 8, 2011 at Americ
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Jose Juan Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot in front of Eric Maynor #6 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 25,
    Pool/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS - JUNE 20:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks argues with referee Dan Crawford in the second quarter of game six of the 2006 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on June 20, 2006 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: Use
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    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, FL - MAY 22:  (L-R) LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat look on against the Chicago Bulls in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 22, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  NO
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    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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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks makes a three-pointer in the fourth quarter over Nick Collison #4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    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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    You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter   @_Andy_Bailey

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