NBA Finals 2011: 7 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks Defeated the Miami Heat

Yaneek SmithContributor IIIMarch 31, 2017

NBA Finals 2011: 7 Reasons the Dallas Mavericks Defeated the Miami Heat

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    There a variety of reasons the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA championship this season.

    They performed well in the clutch, played good, sound defense and got some great coaching from Rick Carlisle.

    This list details the specific reasons as to why Dallas was able to rally from a 2-1 series deficit and defeat a Miami Heat team that was loaded with talent.

No. 7: J.J. Berea's Stellar Play

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    In the series' first three games, when J.J. Barea came off the bench, he shot just 5-for-23 from the floor for a combined 13 points.

    Starting in Game 4, however, when head coach Rick Carlisle inserted him into the starting lineup, Barea took off and helped to swing the momentum in the series.

    In the series' final three games, the 6-foot guard shot 16-for-32 from the floor and scored 40 points, hitting some clutch three-pointers, including his trey in Game 6 with just over 10 minutes to play that put Dallas up 84-77.

No. 6: Shawn Marion's Defense on LeBron James

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    Throughout the series, Shawn Marion helped to keep LeBron James in check, holding James to a pedestrian 17.8 points, significantly lower than his regular-season average of 26.7 points.

    Had it not been for Marion helping to keep James in check, it's unlikely the Mavericks would've won the title. 

    In addition to that, Marion provided some punch offensively as well, averaging 13.7 points and 6.3 rebounds on 47.9 percent shooting.

No. 5: Jason Kidd and Jason Terry's Clutch Shooting

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    When Dallas needed Jason Terry and Jason Kidd to come through in the clutch, they did just that, helping lead the Mavericks to their first championship in franchise history.

    The clutch shooting of Terry and Kidd late in Game 5 was the turning point in the Finals, with two moments in particular that stand out.

    Terry's three-pointer that tied Game 5 at 100 with 3:23 to play was the definition of clutch, as was Kidd's three-pointer that put the Mavericks up, 105-100, with 1:25 to play. 

    In Game 5, they combined to score 34 points on 12-for-18 shooting, and in Game 6, the tandem scored 36 points on 13-for-20 shooting.

No. 4: Rick Carlisle's Brilliant Coaching

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    Rick Carlise made his share of brilliant decisions in the 2011 NBA Finals.

    He inserted J.J. Barea into the starting lineup before Game 4, helping to further utilize the backup point guard's speed. He had the Mavericks employ a zone defense that stifled the Miami offensive attack, and he constantly preached to his team the value of playing a full, 48 minutes and believing in one another.

    After being dismissed as coach by both Indiana and Detroit, franchises he helped lead to the Eastern Conference finals, Carlisle has proven himself to be a top-five coach with his savvy moves in this year's playoffs.

No. 3: LeBron James Just Doesn't Have IT

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    If there's one thing we've learned about LeBron James in his last few seasons in the league, it's this: when crunch time arrives, he cannot be counted on.

    Until that changes, his legacy will forever be tarnished.

No. 2: Dirk Nowitzki Performing Like the Champion That He Is

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    Whatever that defining quality is, the one that enables great players to perform in the clutch—call it moxie, confidence, whatever you want—Dirk Nowitzki has it. He may not have had it in 2006, but he certainly has it now.

    The Finals MVP, Nowitzki averaged 27.7 points and 8.1 rebounds on 48.5 percent shooting in the playoffs, including 26.0 points and 9.7 rebounds on 41.6 percent shooting from the floor and a remarkable 97.8 percent from the free-throw line in the Finals.

    And despite struggling mightily for the first three quarters of Game 6, he came through in the clutch, scoring 10 points in the final period to finish off the Heat. 

    There's one statistic that stands out and illustrates just how impressive Nowitzki's performance was against Miami.

    In the Finals, Nowitzki scored a combined 62 points in the fourth quarter; that's the same amount of points scored in the fourth quarter by both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in the series' six games.

No. 1: The Incredible Perseverance of the Dallas Mavericks

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    Dirk Nowitzki will likely go down as one of the NBA's greatest players.

    But his performance alone was certainly not enough to bring the Mavericks a championship.

    It was the play of Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and DeShawn Stevenson, among others, that proved to be the difference in helping Dallas to win the 2011 NBA Championship.

    It was the team rallying from a double-digit deficit midway through the fourth quarter to win Game 2, fighting back from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win Game 4 and tie the series at two games apiece and rallying to win yet again in Game 5 after the Heat had stormed back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.

    It's actually quite simple. In crunch time, the Mavericks performed well, and the Heat did not.