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Mavericks TEAM Beats Heat’s Stars

The Dallas Maverick’s beat the Heat going away Sunday night to capture their first NBA title.  It’s left a lot of people wondering how they did it.  To me, it comes down to one thing, and it’s something I’ve said before.  In crunch time: take a TEAM over a collection of talent.

Now, I’m not NBA guru.  In fact, I’m not a huge fan of the league.  But I can always get jazzed up for sporting events that are great theater, and man was this series just that.  So I watched, as surprised as anyone while the Mavericks struggled with the Heat early in the series, then really ran them out of the gym in games five and six.  I was left sitting there wondering; how in the heck did that happen?

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

I mean, coming into the series the Heat seemed to have everything over the Mavs.  The Heat looked like they had solved their end of game problems.  They also had two of the top ten and three of the top twenty players in the NBA.  Conversely, the Mavs had Dirk Nowitzki, also known as the guy who dies at the end of Die Hard, and basically the Bad News Bears.  Let’s face it.  Jason Kidd is a shell of what he once was, Jason Terry is a nice role player and no one but his mother and Hubie Brown would know J. J. Barea if they were sitting next to him on the team bus.  Seriously, I bet the first day of training camp Dirk asked Barea to get him a towel.  Oh wait, your not a trainer?  My bad.

But you know what the Mavericks figured out a long time ago that the Heat still needs to?  How to rely on each other and play like a team.  Just look at last night.  Dallas’ biggest star and their far and away best scorer was shooting like Muggsy Bogues in Space Jam after the Monstars stole his talent.  Yeah.  That’s right.  I went Space Jam on it.  Side Bar: How good was Bill Murray in that movie?  Come on.  That performance was Oscar worthy. Just phenomenal.

But I digress.  Anyway, Dirk’s throwing up bricks left and right, and what happens?  Jason Terry steps up and goes for 19 points in the first half out of no where.  Who would have thought that Dirk Nowitzki would shoot 1-12 in the first half and Dallas would have a lead?  Nobody, that’s who.  But that’s what playing on a TEAM is all about – being able to rely on others, knowing that if you’re having a rough night, somebody else will pick you up.  The Heat doesn’t have that yet.  Heck.  Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh couldn’t pick up LeBron James, and they’re two of the best players on the planet.

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

The Mavericks got contributions from a bunch of different bench players – guys like Barea, DeShawn Stevenson, Brian Cardinal, Ian Mahinmi.  Yeah. Ian Mahinmi.  WHO IN GOD’S NAME IS IAN MAHINMI?! I don’t know, but he hit a big shot at the end of the third quarter last night. That’s what this Mavs team was all about.  Everybody chipping in and doing their job.  Can you say that about the Heat?  No.  You barely noticed that anyone outside the big three was on the court for the Heat.  And to be honest: if his name wasn’t LeBron James, you really wouldn’t have noticed him either.  It’s such a radical juxtaposition between TEAM and talent.

This team even had the boisterous, obnoxious, ridiculous Mark Cuban buying in.  Five years ago there’s no way that that owner would have been silent throughout this series.  But this year?  Not a peep.  Even last night Cuban did the classy thing and brought Mavericks original owner Don Carter to the stage to accept the trophy.  Then answered one question before directing Stewart Scott away to interview coach Rick Carlisle or Dirk Nowitzki or Jason Terry.  It was the kind of selfless, classy action you wouldn’t have seen from this owner a few years ago.

That’s what I’m talking about, a TEAM from top to bottom.  I said it when Butler made their run to the NCAA Basketball final this year:  Give me a team of savvy, veteran players with great chemistry over a thrown together talent laden team any day.  Dirk.  Terry.  Kidd.  Barea.  Chandler.  These guys know how to play together.  Say what you want, the Heat struggled to find that all year and still haven’t.  That’s why the Mavericks won.

Congratulations to Dirk, Jet, Kidd and all the Mavericks – as well as Mark Cuban who earned a lot of fans Sunday night.  The Dallas Mavericks, the best TEAM in the NBA.

 

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