The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat (in Miami) 105-95 to win the 2011 NBA championship, the first for the Mavs franchise. I haven’t looked at a box score yet, so there may be more to come if I can find some time before hitting the road for a bit. I didn’t have a strong rooting interest in this series. I wanted a good finals and felt like the series more than delivered, short of going seven games. It was good fun–like sports should be. A few quick thoughts for now…
I feel best for the two Jason’s. Jason Kidd has been such a great player for such a long time. This was sweet for him. Although the end is near for Kidd, he was still an integral piece of this Mavs championship season even if not this series. Jason Terry was unbelievable in game six after being very good in games 4 & 5. JET took over game six early on Miami’s home floor and hit big baskets to help close out the Heat late in the game.
I thought the series had something for every kind of fan. If you like good guy-bad guy narratives the Heat (love ‘em or hate ‘em) are compelling theater. If you like nitty gritty x’s and o’s this was also a series Hubie Brown could love. Carlisle made some nice subtle calls; not afraid to go deep into his bench to experiment with matchups, unlike most coaches. Even more impressive in my eyes was his decision, after game one, to move Jason Terry off the wing to the middle of the floor (flipping Kidd to the wing) to create space for the P&R game.
As for the Heat, I imagine that many teams in the East must be feeling heartened right now about next year’s playoffs. Predictions of a Miami dynasty notwithstanding, the Heat looked pretty ordinary when they were unable to convert forced turnovers for easy baskets or to consistently hit three point shots. Although the importance of fourth quarter performance is easy to overstate–especially when it is isolated from the rest of the game–clearly Miami has issues at so-called “crunch” time that must be addressed.
I will offer a couple sentences on LeBron, since this series is something of a referendum on him. He’s got some holes in his game (e.g., no serious post-up game, limited mid-range scoring ability, close to worthless without the ball), and rightly deserves some criticism. But if recent history is any indicator, much of the criticism is apt to be way overstated.