NBA Finals 2011: Miami Turns Greatest Weakness into Best Strength Quickly

Steven ElonichCorrespondent IJune 1, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MAY 31:  LeBron James #6 and Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat react in the fourth quarter before the Heat defeat the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game One of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on May 31, 2011 in Miami, Florida. 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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

"Miami cannot finish close games. LeBron should not be taking the shots in the final few minutes, but Wade isn't a great option either. This will be their demise in the playoffs."

All of these phrases were thrown around during the regular season, and for good reason.

The Miami Heat could not finish a close game, or beat a top team for that matter. I, along with many others, criticized South Beach for their lack of finishing ability.

Well, this is an awkwardly ironic moment, isn't it?

Since the playoffs began, the Heat have been the definition of clutch. Out of their 16 playoff games, 12 have been decided by 10 points or less, or the other team was winning with less than five minutes to go.

In those games, Miami is 11-1, suffering a three point loss to Philadelphia.

Let's look specifically at the Eastern Conference Finals with the Chicago Bulls. It's not too often a team is leading with five minutes or less to go in every single game of a series, but only muster one win. That's exactly what happened to the top seeded Bulls when faced with the Miami Heat.

MVP Derrick Rose was shut down while Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau was shellshocked and could not muster any in-game moves to keep his team afloat.

Then, Miami kept rolling in the Finals. Dirk Nowitzki and his offense struggled to find offensive game and the Heat dominated the closing minutes to come out of the starting gates ahead 1-0.

When a team can turn their greatest weakness into such a large strength in this short of time, it proves how dangerous they are.

If Dallas wants to take this series, Dirk and company are going to have to do what the 76'ers, Celtics and Bulls failed at and close out games.