Miami puts the heat on Dallas
The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks will face off against each other in a best of seven series for the right to be called NBA champion. The series began Tuesday, May 21 in Miami, with the Heat winning 92-84.
The Miami Heat was the second seed in the Eastern Conference, behind the Chicago Bulls and ahead of the Boston Celtics. The Heat came to prominence this summer when they signed superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, as well as resigning star shooting guard Dwayne Wade. The combination of these three players took a while to unite, but eventually found their stride at the right time, finishing the regular season at 58-24.
The Dallas Mavericks were much more under the radar for the entire season. The Mavericks are a cast of support characters, all designed to play a team-oriented style revolving around talismanic power forward Dirk Nowitzki. They came into the playoffs as the third seed, with a record of 57-25.
The Heat beat the Philadelphia 76er’s in the first round, Boston Celtics in the second round, and the Chicago Bulls in the Conference Finals, all by a score of 4-1. They have yet to lose a game at home in the playoffs.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, took six games to top the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. They then proceeded to sweep the defending champion LA Lakers. This sweep showed the Mavericks ability to top high-caliber teams reliant on a few players. In the Conference Finals, the Mavericks contained Oklahoma City Thunder stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook en route to a five game thrashing.
The Mavericks swept the season series between the two teams. They have not played since December 20, though, and the Heat significantly improved as a team since then.
This series is a matchup between two different kinds of teams. The Heat is based on individual performances, while the Mavericks were second in the league in assists and work as a team. There is no doubt that Miami has a much more talented starting five, but the Mavericks’ bench is much stronger, with players such as J.J. Barea and Peja Stojakovic providing significant contributions to the team.
This series will come down to the offense of Miami versus the defense of Dallas. The Heat has three dynamic scorers in Chris Bosh, Wade, and James. It is impossible to stop all three options, but if Dallas can contain two, they will be halfway to the win. The Mavericks work well as a team defense, but are not designed to shut down three stars.
Dallas has been proving people wrong all post-season long, but it’s expected that Miami’s star power will overwhelm Dallas and Dirk Nowitzki in six.
Henry Shepard is a reporter for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com