Lets start again with full disclosure. You have heard this before, but here at The BadaSSitude Blog, for the 2011 NBA finals, we were rooting for the Dallas Mavericks (ordinarily, we root for the Wizards – so you understand our pain). And it was not because we particularly disliked the Miami Heat. We remember the Dallas Mavericks from way back – we were particularly fond of the 80’s teams with Sam Perkins, Mark Aguirre, James Donaldson, Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman, the troubled and enormously talented Roy Tarpley, and Brad Davis, that always seemed to promise so much but never quite got there.
In recent years, we began to fear that these today’s Mavs might be consigned to the same place in history as the teams from the 80’s. A great collection of talent that could score and entertain, but when it really counted, could not get it done. Then came the 2011 playoffs. First it was Portland, then the Lakers. Then we took notice. Then it was the Oklahoma Thunder. Mhhhh, we thought, finally this just might be it.
Back in the East, Miami was finally beginning to look like the ad they had rolled out at the beginning of the season. Many of us thought the light had finally turned on for Lebron James, and the most hyped up threesome in Basketball this season was finally living up to expectations. Miami was headed for the finals and it was looking, particularly in the Chicago series, that Dallas might be getting set up for another sad finals. But apparently everyone forgot to tell Dallas that they were supposed to let Miami just run all over them.
In Game 1, it looked like Miami might just walk all over Dallas. But a basketball guy might have noticed that it looked as if the Dallas coaches had more shit in their back pocket than the Miami Heat. In game 2, (at least as far as we were concerned) Dallas sandbagged the Heat and, in the fourth quarter, came back from 9 points to win it. Series was tied 1 – 1. In game 3, again Miami were up big in the fourth quarter and it was only a bare miss by Norwiski that let Miami off the hook. You began to get the sense that Dallas was figuring out the Miami Heat with every game, and very shortly, they would not need to come back from behind to win this thing. In game 4, again, Dallas sandbagged the Heat, came from behind and beat their ass.
What was more remarkable in these finals series, was how unremarkable Lebron James performance was. It was clear to all watching, that contrary to the bill of goods we had been sold, it was Dwayne Wade and Co, not Lebron James and Co at Miami. Lebron James took a lot of heat, and continues to take a lot of heat for not performing like the anointed star of the NBA that everyone wanted him to be. We don’t think he should have taken the heat he did.
We are increasingly convinced that everyone is asking of Lebron way, way more than he can and/or has the ability to give. Lebron James has more physical talent than most – probably one of the top 2 or 3 players in the NBA. We think though, that that is all he has. Increasingly we are persuaded that Lebron James does not have the mental makeup and attitude, the “want to” that made stars like Magic, Bird, Thomas, The Dream, Jordan, Kobe, Iverson, Reggie…. Those were guys who, when it counted, and when you needed it, could take over the game, put the team on their shoulders, and take it home for you. We are increasingly persuaded that Lebron James does not have the ability to take over a game at will. He is a Scottie Pippen with better physical tools and talents (no wonder Pippen thought the world of him!).
With less talent, other than Norwiski, Dallas had more guys with that “want to” that makes players great. And it showed. By game 5, the didn’t need a fourth quarter comeback. We made the case that, like a fighter, Dallas had figured out the punches they needed to throw and at that point, and for all intents and purposes, it was curtains for the Heat. We were proved right in Game 6, when, after a see saw first half and inexplicable coaching decision by Miami, the Dallas Mavericks comfortably won their first NBA Championship. We congratulate, Dallas Mavericks one and all. From one tech geek to another, congrats to Mark Cuban.
I wonder how good the Bullets – sorry, Wizards – are going to be next season…..