NBA Finals 2011: Dirk Nowitzki and Dallas Mavericks Get What They Deserve
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A seasoned professional scout looks on curiously as two prospects work out against one another.
Player "A" isn't blessed with natural gifts, but he works extremely hard, has an incredibly high basketball IQ and a winner's disposition.
Player "B" is strong, fast and explosive. He has the God-given talents that small, slow-footed athletes can only dream of for the entirety of their hard-working lives.
The scout's decision is easy—he wants Player "B."
Isn't that always the case?
Suck on that, scout.
Last night, the Mavs closed out their back-and-forth series against the Heat with a convincing 105-95 victory fueled by the heroics of Jason Terry, Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea.
Terry, who has been a big-shot maker throughout his tenure with Dallas, connected on 11 of 16 attempts for 27 huge points off the bench. He buried three triples and mixed in a series of beautiful pull-up jumpers.
Who is the best player of this group?
Terry is and has been a great teammate with an infectious personality—it's hard not to be happy for him.
Nowitzki, who was deservedly named Finals MVP, struggled mightily with his shot (1-of-12) in the first half of the decisive Game 6.
Not surprisingly, the big German did not allow his early struggles to carry over into the second half.
Nowitzki shot 8.3 percent in the first half and exploded to bury 53.3 percent of his attempts in the second. The adversity didn't faze him. Adversity has never fazed him—even when he was wrongfully labeled "soft" during the Mavs' debilitating failures of the past.
The same cannot be said of Nowitzki's superstar counterpart, LeBron James.
James' NBA Finals scoring average dropped nine points from his regular-season average. In the fourth quarter of Game 6, he couldn't wait to defer to his teammates, particularly guard Mario Chalmers.
Since when is the Big Three Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Mario Chalmers? Why collect superstars if you're going to allow a role player to take over as playmaker with less than five minutes left in your season?
These are not questions for head coach Erik Spoelstra; these are questions for James. I'm entirely certain that Spoelstra wanted the ball in the hands of James or Wade and expected them to make winning plays.
I can only imagine what was going through Spoelstra's head when James caught the ball at the top of the key with a wide-open look at a three and then immediately passed to a guarded Chalmers on the wing.
I can only imagine what Spoelstra was thinking when LeBron attempted a six-foot turnaround in the paint and fired it off the backboard without touching the rim.
But enough of the misery; congratulations are in order for first-time champions Nowitzki, Terry, Jason Kidd, Mark Cuban, Shawn Marion and Rick Carlisle.
What an exceptional group of true professionals—hard workers with a strong grasp on the concept of team basketball.
Maybe it's just me, but I hate when the scout takes Player "B."
I mean, who cares if a player has all of the talent in the world if he cannot utilize it effectively under pressure?
I suppose that's a question for LeBron James.
John Frascella is the author of Theo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land, the first and only book centered on Boston's popular GM Theo Epstein. Follow John on Twitter @RedSoxAuthor.
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