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Monday, May 30, 2011

Dallas versus Miami, the (possible) second time around?

Dallas versus Miami, the (possible) second time around?
n.d. a.k.a. nestor / slick master
04:19 p.m.

Sounds like a rematch, eh?

Well that’s gonna happen if Miami can win on either game 5 or 6.

After all, they want different teams colliding in the finals. It has been the main rivalry (Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers) that they had been seeing for 2 of the past 3 years, with Orlando Magic spoiling the green team and even the most spotlighted LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009. But it will come down in this year’s finale. Another face-off that first clashed in 2006, then will be facing off against each other again.

Dallas Mavericks appeared to be almost over the hump that they are been struggling with. If you remember what the hell happened in the 2006 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, it was Dallas up 2-0 by defeating them 10 points apiece. When the series shifted to the South Florida Beach, Miami had sparked its run while the Mavs were on the verge on claiming game 3 on their hands. Too good to be true, Miami had staggered a big run to win that and the next game, costing the momentum that Dallas had been carrying on, considering that time had been making 4-point plays just to grab that title. Dwayne Wade had something in mind then, so was Shaquille O’Neal. And moreover, Gary Payton had sparked contributions either despite having an issue with Dwayne Wade earlier. Come game 5, and Dallas had its chance slipped away when Josh Howard, by accident or not, had called the team’s last timeout in between the free-throw shooting situation by their opponent. That cost them a lot, considering that inbounds play for the last two minutes will be a better chance to get back in the game. Miami had won the tile though after winning 4 straight games against Dallas. And wade was the MVP of the series. But this triggered the misfortunes that both teams had suffered.

After ’06 finals, Miami Heat’s first regular season game triggered the breakdown, They had been defeated by he Chicago Bulls. 108-66 was the score, and this was a league-record since a team had defeated the Los Angeles Lakers by 15 way back in 1980s. Since then, they had slowed down by injuries, both by O’Neal and The Flash, and the other goes as well such as the veteran Gary Payton whom were forced to retire then after injuring himself in one of the contests. Trades had been executed, sending Shaq to Phoenix in exchange for the Shawn Marion. Well, things didn’t worked out much either. I can’t recall much news on this team until 2009 when Jermaine O’Neal (no relation to Shaq) had been piloted the team in the middle in exchange for the 6’7” forward known as the Matrix. Well, the experiment had been performing well but failed in the first round against Atlanta Hawks. The next time around, they made it to the playoffs and they were defeated by the Celtics in easy 5 games.

This year, they had been banking on the major renovation of their roster, with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, former franchise plates of their respective teams (Cavs and the Tornot Raptors) and Erik Sploestra on his 3rd season as head coach. They went on to win 58 games, the second in the eastern conference.

And the road throughout then, they had dumped the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics on the first two rounds and each in 5 games, with the clincher eventually emerged victorious at home. Apparently oddsmaker had picked out Boston to trash out Miami considering the solid lineup that the Beantown Celtics had over the Heat, and that’s aside from winning most of their match-ups in the regular season 3-1. However on the lone Heat victory, the Celts had changes on their lineup either.

Next, the Eastern Finals Chicago Bulls, which appears to be on the verge of making an unthinkable recovering on a 3-1 deficit. Derrick Rose was named as the MVP for this season, but his team had fallen out behind by almost 10 points per game in their last 3 contests. This came out after their hustle plays resulted into a 23-point blowout victory in favor of them. Should Chicago win game 5, Heat should better watched out for game 6 as the last time that a team had won in the conference finals facing a commanding deficit was the eventual champion Boston Celtics in 1981. They faced Philadelphia and were badly beaten out after game 4 of the series that putted the Sixers to a commanding 3-1 lead. The Celtics however, over-turned everything as they won the next and last 3 games of the series, with Game 7 an epic one at Philadelphia. Ironically, these are the two teams that Miami had beaten out.

Okay, let’s move to the west coast, Dallas Mavericks appeared to be on the right track, having numerous double-digit winning streaks and went on to a 67-15 record in 2007. But they faced the team that had been emerged victorious against them after four contests in the regular season (3-1), the then-revamped Golden State Warriors. Led by the veteran playmaker Baron Davis and the emerging Monta Ellis, the Warriors had answered every point by the Mavs, to the extent that the former defeated the latter in a very big upset fashion. For three of its six games, only one victory was made by Golden State. However that factor was enough to crash them out as the series had shifted to Oakland, the Warriors had been winning then, thanks to their personnel’s energy and the fans. Next thing, they were defeated on the first round of the playoffs every year then. This resulted to critics claiming that Dallas was a perennial choker in the post-season party regardless having a lot of talents on their roster such as Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and the recruited ones such as Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion and Brendan Haywood. This year turned out to be very different though.
Acquiring Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic during the 82 game season, the team had been going under the radar, and they have the #4 seed in the western conference. But since the playoffs was the real show for every basketball fan, dallas then unleashed their force, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in their 5th and 6th games of the first round, and an incredible sweep to the three-peat seeking Los Angeles Lakers, a series where the defending champs had expressed frustrations resulting into flagrant fouls and ejections to Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest. Their star player Kobe Bryant’s injury may have been a factor why they had lost such. However it was also a reminder for coach Phil Jackson that maybe it’s time to go. He had been the main mentor for 11 championships for the past 20 years – 6 by Chicago Bulls and 5 by his last team, the Lakers. And game 6 was a brutal massacre for them as Dallas have made 20 3-point shots, led by the “Jet” Jason Terry whom had nailed 9 out 10 from rainbow country for his 32 points. And no to mention, JJ Barea had been a victim of flagrant fouls by the 3 Lakers.

But the western finals were a different story and the Mavericks had shown no rust had been on them while watching the other teams on a week. Dirk Nowtzki was the star of the show for 48 points and making 24 free throws in its 24 attempts throughout the contest. Their opponent Oklahom City thunder had took Game 2 though, but Games 3 to 5 were all Mavs with 3 and 4 taking out the Thunder’s home court advantage and clinching it out in the 5th clash.

Both teams were a playoff surprises in 2006. And they had done and been doing that gain in this year. The question is, will it be a sweet revenge for Dallas or a sweet first ring for LeBron and Bosh? That will be happening though if Miami clinches out Game 5 tomorrow. However, I’ll break things down should they face each other again.

Dallas had a lot of depth in players, while Miami had been expanding even with Eddie House and Mike Bibby providing long-range firepower and help down the stretch. Actually, Miami has a deeper bench of their own but you have to give credit to the Mavericks for helping out Dirk inside and out. And to ask who’s hungrier will depend on how Jason Kidd handling the ball and how LeBron James had been creating plays. A lot of players were the first times in this contest and only Wade and Dirk were perhaps one of the few people remaining to be matching up against each other again in the second clash.

How will Dallas clinch the title? Just do the things they had been during the time that they defeated Miami on their 2 contests earlier and the ones they had done in the playoffs. Make Kidd and Dirk work on offense, while Terry can also be a key factor on clutch shots, It’s also a battle of the depth, with Brendan Haywood pioneering the second unit it can provide defense, rebounding and inside power, while Peja and JJ Barea can hit shots from the outside so as Caron Butler.

For the Miami Heat, they have to go on the hustle. On some of their games, they were out-rebounded, and it’s good that Udonis Haslem had shrugged off any signs of slowing down. Offensive wise I don’t think they have a lot of problem much expect on Joel Anthony unless he scored significant numbers, Mike Miller providing help in the clutch so was Bibby hitting shots on the break and Chalmers shooting over their opponents.

My prediction? It’s either Miami by 6 or Dallas by 5.

(post script)
May 30, 2011
09:34 a.m.

Apparently, Miami Heat won Game 5 to tune of 83-80, a comeback from a double-digit deficit in the 4th quarter. James had shown his clutch skills like the way he had done when he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Regular-season-wise, Mavericks owns the Heat in their two regular meetings, winning 106-95 at Dallas and 98-96 at Miami.

These two teams had proven out that playoffs were way different than the regular wars. It shows as Miami defeated their heavily rivals Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls, whom both teams had 3 wins apiece over the Heat in their combined 7 meetings. As for the Dallas Mavericks, they were picked as the underdogs for this playoffs once they made to the second round when they faced the then-defending champion Los Angeles Lakers until unpredictably they swept them out.

Now, we’re facing a real different ball game. Coming on ya within the next 2 days!

© 2011 september twenty-eight productions.

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