The season opener of CSI: Miami might have Horatio Crane looking for clues to discover what happened to the Miami Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals. For a team with a self- imposed mission of winning seven titles, beginning with this year, Miami said all the right things, but ultimately let their mouths cash a check that their play couldn’t cover.
Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 21 points along with Jason Terry, who scored 27, led the Mavericks in a 105-95 win over the Heat. The Heat missed 13 of their 33 free throws, allowed Dallas to score 27 points off turnovers and folded like a house of cards in the last five minutes of the game.
The Mavs won their first professional sports title in 31 years of existence bringing a world championship to the city of Dallas, something that hasn’t been done since the 1995-96 season with the Cowboys.
I could wax poetic about how great it is that Jason Kidd has a ring, and that Rick Carlisle has vindication and the classy move that Mark Cuban made having, Donald Carter, former owner of the Mavericks accept the NBA trophy.
There will be plenty of time in the next week to talk about that. I’d rather focus on one star (James) who was a big-game talker and another star (Nowitzki) who was a big-game doer. Take notes.
Dirk, once considered a stereotypical slow, jump-shooting, afraid to mix-it up European player, has turned into a lethal, calculated and cold-blooded shot-making machine. During the whole playoffs he’s been focused on one thing: avenging 2006’s debacle against the Heat.
Dirk has been the quiet consistent leader of a team who lost Caron Butler, arguably their second-best player in early January. No one had the Mavericks going this far in an improbable playoff run.
We should like Dirk more. As much as Americans talk about work ethic, Dirk has done nothing but work since being bounced in 2006.
James, on the other hand, has shown the promise of “big things poppin'” but hasn’t shown any Finals mojo to back it up. “King” averaged nearly 27 points per game in the regular season and just 18 points per game in the Finals—the largest discrepancy between regular season scoring average and Finals average in NBA history.
His fourth quarters during the Finals have been unspectacular and what’s worse, his attitude of entitlement has seemed to filter into the rest of the team, even dragging the classy Dwyane Wade into the mix.
LeBron’s crown is officially stripped until further notice, like it should be as I mentioned last week.
If you weren’t sure after “The Decision,” James’ and Wade’s ass-clownery mocking Dirk Nowitzki after Game 4 and LeBron’s post-game comments about people who hate him, tells you all you need to know about the character of the Heat.
Right now, the big names just don’t have any. Perhaps a prescription to see the Wizard in the Emerald City is in order. While James is out getting a heart, Eric Spolestra can get a brain and Chris Bosh can get some courage. James attempted to put most of us fans in check, however, in his postgame comments:
“All the people that were rooting me on to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before,” James said. “They have the same personal problems they had to today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want with me and my family and be happy with that.”
Great LeBron. We get it, you’re a millionaire, but you’re not a champion. Wake up to that. We have a developing situation in South Beach. Crickets are chirping.
The best symbolic way for Dirk to wear his ring would be for him to fit it for his injured left middle finger to remind James and Wade during next years’ NBA All-Star game the attitude you need to have to be a champion. Reminding them of who was number one during the series is optional.
Before you win seven, you have to win one. Justice may have got it right this year.