Home > Basketball, The Final Buzzer > The Final Buzzer – NBA Finals Mega Preview (29/5/11)

The Final Buzzer – NBA Finals Mega Preview (29/5/11)

Another ridiculous round of playoff basketball and we finally arrive at the NBA Finals! 16 teams started and now only the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat are still standing. These two teams are your 2011 NBA finals teams. The stars aligned (not for me though- R.I.P Phil Jackson Laker era,1999-2004, 2005-2011) and we now get a 5 year on rematch of the 2006 NBA finals. Will the result be the same? Who is currently the more unstoppable force, Dirk or LeBron? Can Dirk redeem himself from the last time they faced each other in the Finals?

Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat

Season Series: Mavericks 2, Heat, 0

After sweeping the Lakers (why did I have to mention the Lakers…it still hurts), the Mavs were brutal, efficient and also I bit lucky against the Oklahoma City Thunder to comfortably take the series 4-1. Dirk had a monster 48 points in game one (Durant had 40 but nobody cares because Dirk scored 48) and had 40 points in their game four overtime win which effectively ended the series. The Thunder found, much like the Lakers and Blazers before them found that Dirk is playing at an unreal level right now. No one could stop him. Ibaka? Nope. Perkins? Pfft please. Collison? He tried. It was the same with anyone who Scotty Brooks threw at the big German (the only person who didn’t get a chance to guard Dirk was Nate Robinson. Scotty Brooks should’ve throw Nate in there just for comedic value alone). But Dirk wasn’t alone. Shawn Marion rediscovered his inner Phoenix Sun self with some turn back the clock performances and had 26 points in the game 5 clincher. Jason Kidd was fantastic and clutch and returns to the finals for the first time since 2003 when he was wearing a New Jersey Nets uniform and played with household names Kerry Kittles, Brian Scalabrine and Tamar Slay! I bet you’re wondering who Tamar Slay is? I don’t know either. That’s how long it’s been! The last time Jason Kidd was in the finals, Manu Ginobili didn’t have a bald spot! The Mavs effectively ended the series when they came back from 15 points down in the last 5 minutes to force overtime and out execute the Thunder. It was a meltdown of huge proportions:

But they shouldn’t feel so bad, because over on the other side of the country the Chicago Bulls would have a meltdown of epic proportions when they blew a 12 point lead with 3 minutes to go to LeBron, Wade and the Heat. But more on that later. Back to the Mavs, they deserve all the credit that’s being given to them because they were simply awesome. Except for Brandon Haywood. His most memorable moment was when Kevin Durant put him on a poster:

Insane. Also I must give credit to JJ Barea. Not only is he playing huge for someone who’s only 3 foot 6, but have you seen his girlfriend?!

Is he actually a leprechaun with a pot of gold? Should the Celtics try and sign him in the offseason?

So the Mav’s enter this series in blistering form but without home court advantage. This shouldn’t matter, the Mavs have been the NBA’s best road team this season and have won games on opponents floors all playoffs. Dirk gets his opportunity to cement his legacy as one of the best big men to play the game. Do we start calling him the German mamba? Because he’s been so deadly throughout the playoffs it’s really quite amazing. The only other player still on that’s Mavs team from 2006 is Jason Terry. He’s provided a much needed spark and scoring of the bench these playoffs and always seems to make an important shot. He’s going to be crucial off the bench in this series.

And speaking of Jason Terry, did you know that he got a tattoo of the NBA Finals trophy  on his bicep before the start of the season? WTF!? And now he’s saying he knew all along they were going to make it to the finals. Of course it’s easy to say that in retrospective when you’re already in the finals! Was it extreme confidence or extreme narcissism?

When matched up with the Heat, expect Dirk to have his way against Bosh. In fact, expect Dirk to have his way with everyone who attempts to mark him. I don’t even think LeBron can mark him because Dirk is taller and has such a high release point on his jumper. Quick point guards have tried to abuse the Heat PG’s but that hasn’t worked out as expected. Rondo couldn’t (well granted, he dislocated his elbow) and Rose was overwhelmed (because he couldn’t get any support and would often try and avoid contact instead of draw the foul). So maybe a slow PG can be effective? Expect Jason Kidd (who has developed into quite an outside shooting threat) to influence the game on all levels. Offensively, he’ll look to set up his shooters and feed Dirk in his spots, and on defense he might be matched up against Wade. Kidd gets away with a lot of jersey pulling and small push fouls (ask Kobe…I’m over the Lakers loss I swear!) and we will see if he can get away with it against the Heat. We’ll also see if he can get away with travelling…

Defensively, expect the Mavs to use a lot of zone so LeBron and Wade can’t iso against their man effectively. There’s no real lockdown defender who will lock down either of those two. Shawn Marion will probably be matched up against LeBron. And although Marion’s playing like its 2005, there’s a huge difference guarding Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

And where the hell has Mark Cuban been!? He no showed during the Laker series and wasn’t extremely vocal when they won. Maybe he’s saving all his insults for the finals? Maybe he damaged his vocal chords and can’t talk? Maybe he has bad breathe?

If Dirk remains as unstoppable as he’s been over the last couple of weeks, and the Mavs continue to get production from everyone on the roster (aka everyone hitting their shots when a quadruple teamed Dirk passes it to them) then they have a very good chance at winning the whole thing. This squad is better than the 2006 version that lost to Shaq and Wade’s Heat. 2011 Dirk would crap on 2006 Dirk. 2011 Dirk is one badass German mo fo! Not Hitler bad (too soon? That’s a bad joke, I apologise to my Jewish readers) but a nobody-can-stop-me-from-doing-what-I-want-to-do badass (well that sounds like Hitler as well…ok I’ll stop now).

Ok lets just say he’s just a much more confident player with a better understanding of the game in 2011 than he was in 2006. If he can’t win here, then I don’t know if he ever will. Winning this title to Dirk places him above Malone and Barkley on the power forwards all time list. His entire legacy is at stake. Winning an NBA title would make him more popular in German that the Hoff!

Such an “entertaining because it’s so terrible” music video. But it’s crazy how popular the Hoff really is in Germany. He’s basically a god over there. If he predicted the end of the world instead of that old guy, then perhaps more people would’ve taken it more seriously. Germany certainly would of.

Before talking about the Miami Heat I just want to point out one thing.

This is the first time since 1998 that the NBA Finals won’t have Kobe, Shaq or Tim Duncan in the finals. This is crazy! At least one of those 3 players has been in every NBA finals series since Michael Jordan last played for the Bulls! 12 YEARS! Do you know the last time Kobe, Shaq or Duncan weren’t in the NBA finals:

  1. Bill Clinton was President of the United States
  2. Bill Clinton caught having an affair with Monica Lewinsky
  3. Will Smith’s ‘Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It was a #1 hit in the US
  4. Nobody knew who/what a Kardashian was
  5. Titanic won 11 awards at the Oscars that year
  6. MTV was a music channel
  7. Angelina Jolie didn’t have any children
  8. There were only 150 Pokémon
  9. Google is launched
  10. Kevin Durant was 10

Ok now onto the Miami Heat. LeBron and Wade did their thing (including leading the Heat back from 12 points down with 3 minutes to go to close out the Bulls series in Chicago) but it was Chris Bosh who was the difference maker in this series. He outplayed Carlos Boozer who had a couple of solid games but wasn’t the force that Bosh was. I thought if Boozer could outplay Bosh then the Bulls would have a decent chance at winning. He didn’t outplay Bosh and the Bulls didn’t win. Derrick Rose struggled because he was getting no help from his teammates. This meant the Heat could double him off the pick and roll and force the ball out of his hands. Derrick Rose without the ball is like an old man without Viagra. It just doesn’t work.

Anyways, back to Bosh, he had 30 points in game one, 34 in game three, and some big baskets to help close out games to kill the Bull chances. Even though he had a big series, I still like calling the Miami ‘Big Three’ “Two and a Half Men”. It’s so perfect. I’ll give you a clue as to who the ‘half’ is. It’s not LeBron or Wade. He’s going to be matched up against Dirk. He won’t be able to stop Dirk but if Bosh’s continues his strong offense, then it might wear down Dirk one the other end. Of course I’ve said that every round so far in these playoffs and Dirk’s playing better than ever.

Wade and LeBron have been very impressive and have only gotten better and more comfortable playing with each other. When Wade was terrible, LeBron carried the team. When LeBron was taking too many jumpers and couldn’t get anything going, Wade was there. It really is a pick your poison. Especially when LeBron is making jumpers and 3 pointers like he was against Chicago. If he missed any of them, people would be talking about how he settles for jumpers too often and that he should drive to the hoop more. But seeing as he’s made the shots, everyone is marvelling the transformation that he’s taken. Scottie Pippen even went as far as saying he could be better than Michael Jordan. That led to my favourite NBA playoff moment so far with Stephen A. Smith talking about whether LeBron could be considered better than Jordan:

“Blasphemy!”

 “You just got caught!”

Oh Stephen A., you are truly in a class of you own!

I don’t think LeBron will be better the MJ. MJ is in a class of his own. But because the comment comes from Scottie Pippen, people are actually buying into this (ESPN definitely is. Shame on them for the publicity stunt).

Here’s a thought, why don’t we hold the Jordan comparisons until he wins a championship…or the multiple titles he promised when he first arrived at Miami. Or at least until he wins a Finals game?

Also, he’s playing with Wade and Bosh! Teams are afraid to send the double team because he’s playing with another top 5 player in Wade and an All Star in Chris Bosh! Someone on ESPN.com tried comparing LeBron and Jordan when they were both 26 to see who the better player was. Jordan ended up having the better PER but the writer still argues that because LeBron plays with Wade and Bosh, that the argument is there for LeBron to be the greatest player. Check out the article if you can be bothered. If LeBron was better the Jordan, then he wouldn’t need Wade and Bosh would he?

Now back to the Finals, Shawn Marion will be matched up with LeBron, but I don’t think Marion stands a chance. So expect to see the Mavs utilize their zone defense. This helps take away from the Heat’s iso plays for Wade and James.

Wade struggled a little against his hometown team and there are suggestions that he’s injured. Miami say he’s just tired. I guess we should believe them because teams are 100% completely honest aren’t they? Remember when the Celtics said Kevin Garnett was fine and was only going to be out 2 weeks? Turns out that was more like 4 months and it cost them a chance at defending their NBA title…What’s weird with Wade is how many dunks he botched. See some here and here.

Hey we finally saw Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem in the playoffs! It’s about time guys. Better late than never! I guess it’s safe to say Haslem’s recovered from his foot injury…

If these two guys can provide like they did against the Bulls, then it adds depth to the Heat (which they didn’t have) and makes them so much more frightening. Their defense is suffocating, they’re closing out games and they have homecourt advantage.

Both teams are playing some great basketball, have had some huge and impressive comebacks in the Conference Finals and have definitely earned their place to fight the NBA Championship. After the Lakers were eliminated I didn’t really care who won. I just wanted to enjoy the rest of the playoffs. The only thing I said was “A.B.M”: Anyone. But. Miami. There’s definitely an “us against the world” mentality from the Heat and if they can use that to help them win the title, then kudos to them. But I would like to see Kidd and Dirk get their first championships. And the way it’s worked out that their opponent is Miami, with LeBron, Bosh and Wade joining forces and the whole “5 years on” from the last time these two teams faced in the finals. Dallas hates Miami. They feel like they were robbed in 2006. They’re probably right. Dirk is on a mission and it seems only fitting that the only thing that stands in his way is the team that bullied him into submission and basically created the ‘soft label’ that hangs over the Maverick franchise. Seems perfect…is it too perfect? That’s for the NBA conspiracy theorists to decide.

I think the Mavs will win this series. But part of that reasoning is because I don’t want the Heat to win.

Prediction: Mavericks win 4-2

There you have it. Enjoy the NBA Finals! The two best in form teams in the NBA right now are in the finals and it should be an awesome series to end an awesome season!

And that my friends, is The Final Buzzer.

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  1. June 20, 2011 at 5:34 am

    I’m coming from Germany therefore we are incredibly happy with Dirk Nowotzki. A German is a really star inside the best basketball league around the world. Everyone is excited how the Us americans celebrate “all of our” Dirk. This is probably much less recognized in the united states.

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