The persistent Mavericks were not given a chance to win it all this year. Their team was characterized as too old and soft to be a real threat.
Some critics suggested the likes of Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry were merely an assemblage of veterans past their prime seeking that magical run towards NBA glory.
Well, they did it when they defeated the Miami Heat 105-95 last night.
Just goes to show that a good team of players rallying around a common theme can beat a team of superstars.
That being said, the Heat should take note and consider making some roster moves. If I were Pat Riley, I would seriously consider moving LeBron James.
Unlike the Heat, the key to Dallas' victory was the players had defined roles. Everyone on the team understood what he was supposed to do within the confines of the offense, and the same can be said about the defense.
While Dwyane Wade was the best player on the court this series, it is clear Dirk Nowitzki was the most clutch. Throughout the series, Nowitzki held the Mavericks on his broad shoulders and hit big shots when they were needed.
A true champion does more than merely show up. A champion must step up even when he is not at his best and produce. Nowitzki was hurt and ill during this series, yet he showed up when it meant the most.
Nowitzki struggled with his shot last night. At one point he was 4-of-21 from the field, but he kept firing away. He finished 9-of-27 from the field, connecting on five of his last six shots in helping his Mavericks reach the promised land of basketball.
Meanwhile, the face of the NBA and self-proclaimed “King” James did not show up in the fourth quarter. Matter of fact, he did not show up during this entire series. James averaged just 17.8 points per game in the Finals. That’s 10 points below his season average.
When the chips were down, James talked a good game but shrunk from the task. He proclaimed to his teammates, “Play like your backs are against the wall” before Game 5. When the final horn sounded, James scored just eight points as the Heat lost.
James evaded the gravity of this grand occasion by cleverly hiding on the court. Time after time, James opted to distribute the ball like Magic Johnson instead of taking the game over himself as Michael Jordan would.
Instead of posting up on the block against the smaller Maverick guards, “LeBrick” James kept misfiring three-pointers when he should have been attacking the basket.
James exempted himself from being the “King” he anointed himself as being and settled for being the regular player he is during crunch time.
Granted, basketball is a team sport, but if LeBron plays anywhere close to the level he did during the regular season, the Heat likely win the series. Instead, James resorted to being the player he truly is, and that’s someone who simply doesn’t get it done when it matters most.
Does anyone have a logical debate to the contrary?
Part of the reason James bolted for South Beach is he claimed he needed help. He needed his Scottie Pippen to help put him over the top. Even with one of the top three or four NBA stars by his side, James still could not win.
I picked the Mavericks to win the series in six games. Even though the Heat have two of the top players in the NBA on their roster, the Mavericks are simply better one through 12.
Just like in relationships, teams must have chemistry. No matter what the so-called experts assert, one must have clearly defined roles, trust and true respect for your teammates to win.
Even though the Heat made the Finals, they are a team in disarray. There has been too much indecision with this team over who should be the leader, who should take the last shot or whether Pat Riley should coach the team. Also, the lingering effects of The Decision played a role in the team because the expectations were set so high.
The Heat had problems with getting consistent point guard play, and they lack a true low-post presence. James' skill set was supposed to defray some of those issues, but it didn’t. In my opinion, James has done more harm than good.
Perhaps the Heat should seriously consider making some roster moves, and James should be in those discussions. If I were Riley, I would consider trading James—not because he isn't a great player, but because moving him would create better team chemistry.
It is something to seriously consider.
In any event, congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks for displaying the type of team chemistry that was needed to win.
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