Miami v Dallas (Preview)

As I’ve mentioned before, numerous times, really, I hate the SuperFriends and it is killing me that they made the finals, much less have a chance to win.  But I’ve been over that in my previous blog posts, so let’s move on to looking over these teams for real.

Dallas wins if: Dwayne Wade’s injury is far more than anyone is letting on, Dirk Nowitzki averages 35ppg, the SuperFriends become the not-so-super-frienimies, or through an act of God (not counting that out, by the way).  By the way, my ideal scenario would be options 2-4.  If you haven’t caught my drift, yet, this essentially means I give the Mavs no shot.  And honestly, I don’t know why anyone in their right mind is picking Dallas to win or even push the series to 7.  Don’t get me wrong, I want with all my heart, soul, mind and stren… nevermind… I really want Dallas to win.  I just don’t see that as possible right now.  Dallas has to somehow defend Wade and Lebron for about 85 minutes per game with 15 from Stevenson, 35 from Marion, 35 from Terry, 30 from Kidd, 15 from Stojakovic and 20 from Barea (all numbers estimated off the top of my head).  That means that for an absolute minimum of 5 minutes per game, Wade or Lebron is going to be guarded by one of the following: Peja, Terry or Barea.  How many points will one or the other score during that stretch?  5? 10? 15?  Oh, and that’s assuming Kidd can actually defend Wade for 30 minutes a game.  I am not being fatalistic.

Miami wins if: Lebron and Wade finish what they came to Miami to do and fulfill their promise to be 100% team players.  There are two things in my mind that can stop the Heat now – overconfidence and Dirk.  You want to know something else?  I honestly believe that the former is a greater threat to derail the Heat than the latter, because that’s how great Miami is talent-wise.  I made this analogy before, but think of it this way – once you get in the playoffs in basketball, it becomes like baseball where you only need 3 starters.  Nobody cares how good your 5th starter or spot starter is.  Miami doesn’t have any depth, but they’ve got 3 of the best players in the game on the floor.  That should be enough, unless the curse of greed overtakes them.

Matchups:

Dirk v Miami Heat.  Miami has spent the post-season proving its defense was more than a show.  In the Bulls series, the Heat made Chicago’s offense look stupid all series long.  Rose, the league’s MVP had a Westbrook-esque series (te-he, I went there) going 42/120 (35%) with 19 TOs.  Dirk, however, is slightly different, because he can still thrive without the ability to penetrate to the hole.  The Heat will throw Haslem, Bosh, Anthony and even James at him at times, but I doubt any of them will be able to stop Dirk.  Problem for Dallas is that they don’t need to stop him.  If they can simply slow Dirk down to about 20-25ppg and hamper his ability to swing the ball back out for Dallas’ jump-shooters, then Miami will win.  I predict 25ppg on a hair over 50% shooting for Dirk.

Lebron and Wade v Dallas SGs and SFs.  For Dallas to have any chance at winning, Lebron and Wade have to be contained.  The key to that for any team is to make them into jump-shooting ball-hogs.  Unfortunately for the Mavs, it seems like those days for Wade and James are behind them.  They’re both passing as well as ever, shooting very, very high percentages from the field and creating the most fearsome fast break in history.  Now all Dallas needs to do is contain that… a little.  A side note, there will be times when Lebron will be Miami’s second tallest player on the court.  That’s not good for Dallas who wants to play Chandler and Dirk together a lot.  In those situations, who is going to guard Lebron?

Mavs 3s v Miami’s 3 D.  The stats have been harped upon on ESPN all week, but it bears being brought up again that Miami is not good at 3-point FGs allowed, which just happens to play heavily into Dallas’ strength.  Honestly, I do think this is much ado about nothing since two of the teams that Miami played (Chicago and Philly) ran slashing-type offenses, which Miami defended by crowding the paint.  Dallas doesn’t have that threat, which means that all the Heat have to do is stay at home on the shooters.  Because Dallas rarely dribble-penetrates, I don’t see the 3-point advantage as being too much of a difference-maker.

Depth v star-power.  It doesn’t take an expert to see that Miami will have 3 of the 4 best players in the series, but that Dallas’ bench is about a million times better and deeper.  So which wins out in the end?  Miami’s SuperFriends have been and will be awesome together, so if their bench can keep them in the games, they have a great chance at victory.  For Dallas, Dirk and Co have to make sure they don’t get blown out by the SuperFriends, knowing that their bench has a great shot at breaking the game open on Miami’s dead-man-walking bench.

Jason Terry v underperformance.  Terry has been known to shy away in the big moment, or at least has developed a reputation thereof over the last few seasons.  Fairly or not, Terry will have to play larger than life in this series both offensively and defensively to successfully counter Wade.  He’s going to have a great series for Dallas to have any chance.

Lebron James v pressure.  Name a more scrutinized player, ever.  Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute.  James has been tormented by the media, blamed for everything that George Bush has not, made some stupid decisions (get it?) and become the butt of jokes.  So here’s his chance at redemption in a way.  He’s not going to make anyone forget his jerk move leaving Cleveland, he’s not going to make people respect him or his decision any more, but what he will do is vindicate his game at the very least.  If he wins, nobody can legitimately question his basketball greatness.  Provided, of course, he doesn’t crumble under the pressure in this series.  One more tough-skinned performance by Lebron and we may have to concede that he’s one of the mentally toughest players ever.  I mean, see what media hatred did to Tiger.

By the way, for anyone who cares, even though the game has started, I have not and will not check the score or watch the game until I post this blog.  And now for what you’ve been waiting for:

What I would like to see happen: oh, boy, they really shouldn’t have given me a blog.  Miami drops two at home with the tangible pressure squeezing Lebron to his breaking point, culminating in an angry explosion after a botched call in the second half of game two earning him an ejection and possible suspension for game 3.  Meanwhile, Dirk has two monster games, Wade meekly succumbs to Dallas’ defense and Bosh tries to take over each game and fails… miserably.  In the end, Dallas wins in 5, slaying the giant.  Lebron cracks completely under the pressure and begins a nasty feud with Bosh who ball-hogs to try to restore order.  The season ends for Miami with Wade admitting the team has “trust issues” while Dallas wins its first NBA championship riding the back of Dirk who cements his top-25 status of all time with a 30-9-4-1-1.

What will probably happen because of my luck: Miami cruises through the first two games at home, blowing out the Mavericks in each as Dirk comes up short time and again.  Lebron leaves Miami having averaged a triple-double and single-handedly defending Dirk down the stretch.  In Dallas, the Mavs fold in 5 with Wade and Lebron each submitting 30-10 games.  Terry, Barea, Stojakovic and Kidd look foolish trying to defend Wade and Lebron, as Miami defeats Dallas (again) for the championship.

Actual prediction: Dallas comes up short of stealing either one of the games in Miami and head back to Dallas down 0-2.  No star shines particularly brightly in the first two games, as the status quo dominates the series.  In Dallas the Mavs take game 3 behind a fantastic performance by the German, who notches yet another 40 point game.  But just as it seems that all is going Dallas’ way, Miami stages a furious 4th quarter comeback in game 4 to take an insurmountable 3-1 lead.  Finally, though Dallas wins at home in game 5, a fantastic performance from Lebron in game 6 wins him the finals MVP as he celebrates his first ever NBA championship.

Yours Truly,

Basketblogger

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    • dad
    • June 4th, 2011

    brilliant analysis but you should be playing in it, not writing about it

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