By: Shawn Davis
How many of you out there had the Mavericks leading this finals series 3-2? Are there any hands in the air to answer that? Ok…I will give you mine. Well it’s dawned on me that many of the media brethren have begun to give the Mavericks some credit – which is not surprising – while still highlighting what LeBron James didn’t do. For the record, my buddy Justin picked the Heat in 6 and I went with Dallas in 7 games. I put my pick in this piece because I’m not trying to look like a frontrunner, you know, provided the team from Texas hoists the Larry O’ Brien trophy – but honestly I picked Chicago to make the NBA Finals. I am a Bulls fan.
As the championship duel was finalized, I compared the rosters and went with the Mavericks based on depth (I highlighted that here). As a fan, I mean, what could you ask for in a series? From the second game on, this series is destined for “all time Finals” status as the outcomes have all been decided in the final quarter and/or the final possession. Wow!
This has been an NBA season of hype with the Heat having a WWE-style introduction last summer, the ‘Melo drama, the Celtics, Mavericks, the return of the Bulls, the Lakers’ finally breaking their season-long on/off switch against Dallas, Phil’s retirement, the exciting Grizzles, the Spurs, etc. What if this great season ends with a seventh game?
What bothers me is all the attention that centers on James while the Mavericks are playing the Heat face-to-face with Dirk Nowitzki being the difference in the final frame of every game. I don’t like LeBron apologists, AT ALL, and I am a fan of his but his triple-double was so hollow in game 5 that how could anyone give him a good grade for that performance? He needs to get buckets in the 4thquarter, he needs to be out there making plays as a facilitator but has to hit the attack switch in the final minutes and he hasn’t. It’s just that simple.
Now the video of Wade and James is being put under the microscope; where they basically take jabs at Nowitzki’s sickness (before they lost game 5) as Wade said – in defense – that he did have a legit cough. This really means nothing to me but whatever. Does Miami have anyone of note on their public relations staff? This team just comes across in such a way that makes people dislike them. Yes, a lot of it is overblown but a good portion of the vitriol is brought about because of antics such as that.
I just thought of this: Remember when Wade limped off the floor early in the game after colliding with Brian Cardinal? Yeah, you do. Now with the video of he and ‘Bron joking about being sick now being readily available everywhere, can you imagine Terry hitting another big 3 Sunday night to clinch the title and then limping of the floor…you know, just fooling around? If that happens to come to fruition I would not be surprised at all; hmm…it’s just something that entered my mind this very second. Imagine?
On to the game…
I have no way to call this one because once Wade hit that big 3 that gave his team a four point lead, I felt the Heat would likely hold on to secure the victory but then the Mavericks went into “now it’s our time to snatch another victory away” mode and walked away with the fifth game. This upcoming game has all the drama and storylines – which is garnering nationwide attention not seen since the Jordan era – to keep viewers engaged until the final buzzer. It’s riveting! Actually, I haven’t been so excited about the playoffs since Boston won in all in 08 (Ray Allen is one of my favorite players). Ratings show that the product on the floor is must-see!
If Chandler can continue to give the team production on the offensive end, along with the contributions of Barea and Kidd, this could very well end tonight because Nowitzki and Terry won’t cower in the enormity of the situation. I expect James and Wade to collectively have big games and I think it’s tight in the last minutes (as they’ve been this whole series) with both teams making sure to get good shots at the basket. Just try to imagine what it’s going to be like if this goes to game seven.
They’re some of the best words in all of sports and Miami will definitely like their chances if it gets there (so does history), so if I’m Dallas I end this thing tonight. Since I’m neither I will be watching along with everyone else. Let’s go…