Many months ago, I went out on a limb and stated that the Miami Heat would not win the NBA championship. Well, they got very close. They got extremely close, but in the end my analysis was correct. The NBA is not about getting close. America is not about getting close. We love winners. We love Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson because they all won championships.
The Miami Heat simply could not close out games. It is a fourth quarter that is critical in the NBA. Everybody is talented. Everybody can get hot. It is when the opposing team turns up the defense and contests every shot. This is crunch time. During crunch time you have five very talented basketball players who must work together with the precision of a Swiss watch. In spite of the pressure, in spite of what the other team is trying to do, these five guys have to perform together. This is where the Miami Heat failed.
I’ve talked about the formula to win in the NBA. Briefly, for those who haven’t read my post, you need to have a superstar, a sidekick, a rebounder, a ballhandler and a three point shooter. Think of the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan. Think about the LA Lakers with Kobe Bryant. The San Antonio Spurs never really fit this model. They have three superstars (who are now aging) who could play the role of the superstar and the sidekick interchangeably. The chemistry between Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is almost unparalleled in the NBA. Now, when you compare this formula to the Miami Heat, several questions arise. Who is going to be the superstar? Who is going to be the sidekick? I thought the key to the Miami Heat success would be Lebron James. He would have to play the role of the sidekick. He would have to be Scottie Pippen. Dwayne Wade would have to be the superstar. Chris Bosh would have to be the rebounder. In the playoffs, Lebron James seemed to be the closer. He seemed to be the superstar, leaving Dwayne Wade standing around looking for something to do. This is where the Heat failed. (I also think that Dwayne Wade was hurt. It is more than his hip. He just simply couldn’t push it or didn’t push it like I expected.)
On the Dallas Mavericks side of the ball, everybody knew who the superstar was. When Dirk Nowitzki began the game shooting poorly, it was Jason Terry’s job to step up. Jason Terry knew his role. He played it to perfection. I thought that Shawn Marion was one of the keys to the series. He played incredibly strong defense. Jason Kidd played strong defense. Surprisingly, the energy and speed of JJ Berea was one of the keys to the Mavericks winning the series. He played incredibly well in games four, five and six.
So, the Dallas Mavericks are NBA world champions. I just love seeing that after watching the Mavericks fall flat multiple times. There were times it seemed that they had the talent but didn’t have the heart. I remember watching those teams in the mid-1980s: Sam Perkins, Mark Aquirre, Rolando Blackman, Dale Ellis and Derek Harper. The 1987 – ’88 Mavericks lost in game seven to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a crushing defeat. It would take the Mavericks another 10 – 13 years to put together a team to challenge the NBA and go deep into the playoffs. For the last 10 years, the Dallas Mavericks have made the playoffs. They have had three different coaches and multiple different players. They finally figured out how to win in the postseason. Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks (I hope the Dallas Cowboys were watching and learning!)