NBA Finals Preview
by Matt Hundley | University of Missouri
The NBA is down to its final two teams, as the Dallas Mavericks take on the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals tonight. Both of these teams have had similar roads to the Finals, struggling in early games but coming through in the clutch to win the series. Dallas and Miami have two of the better offenses in the league, but the question is which superstar will take over and lead his team to a championship? Let’s take a look at some of the top storylines leading up the championship series.
1. The Big Three.
Since the day of Lebron James’ decision, Miami has been the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference. With superstar Dwayne Wade already committed to Miami, the Heat added the best overall player in the game in Lebron James. Later on, Chris Bosh signed on with the Heat and Miami had three legitimate superstars at the top of its roster. These are some of the top scorers in the league, and when all three are on top of the game the Heat are unstoppable. The team struggled early in the season, but heated up in the playoffs when it counted thanks to stellar play from Bosh, Wade, and James en route to the Finals. Dallas is going to have to shut down at least two of these scorers to have a chance in this series, a task that is hard for even the best defenders in the league.
2. Déjà vu?
In addition to this being a matchup of two of the best teams in the league, this is also a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals. In that series the Mavericks took a two game lead in the Finals, before losing four straight games and the championship to Miami. Those four games were filled with controversy, however, as most people believe it was one of the most poorly officiated series in NBA history. Dwayne Wade took over that series, winning MVP honors, and he will look to do the same again this time around. There will be a different look this year, however, as Wade now has James and Bosh in Miami, while Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry have a totally different supporting cast in Dallas. 2006 will certainly be in the back of the minds of fans and players alike, but it should not play a big factor, as these are two very different teams than they were five years ago.
3. Dirk on a mission
Dirk Nowitzki is one of the best superstars in the game and arguably the best foreign player in NBA history. One thing that has thus far eluded him however, is a NBA Championship. Nowitzki has come close with some great teams in years past, but he has never been able to close the deal and win a title. Now Dirk has a veteran supporting cast that is ready to win a championship. Jason Kidd, Peja Stojakovic, Shawn Marion, and Jason Terry have all been right where Dirk has, on the edge of a championship, and they are ready to finally take the next step and win the big prize as this may well be their last chance. Redemption is key for this team, and all of these players will hope to accomplish the ultimate redemption by winning the championship this season.Matt Hundley is a NGJ Sports Correspondent and a student at the University of Missouri. He is interested in pursuing a sports journalism career.