There was a sign held up in the crowd on Sunday night in big blue letters by four different fans, each holding one letter. “T-E-A-M” it spelled, and a team is what won the 2011 NBA Championship. One team paid close to three max contracts to try to win an NBA Championship; and the other team built their roster with players who wanted to win it all, and who each knew their roles. Dirk Nowitzki was the player who was their leader though. He had his team’s back whenever anyone needed him. 102 degree fever? Not a problem. Torn tendon in his middle finger? “Child Please” as Chad Ochocinco says. Granted Dirk, who’s one of the most humble players in the NBA would never say anything like that, it’s my job as the blogger to say it for him. He’s a stud, a future Hall Of Famer, and the most underrated player in the NBA.
But as much as Dirk was the Mavs leader, he also got the support from his role players and good friends also. Jason Terry started quietly in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, but turned it up to a different level when they needed him. He drained probably the biggest shot of his career to end game 5, over top of none other than Lebron James, and then ended game 6 with an incredible 27 point performance. Jason Kidd hit big shot after big shot, protected the basketball, and consistently hit the open player as he’s done his whole career. And what about J.J. Barea? He’s generously listed as 6 feet tall, when in reality he’s probably about 5’10 in shoes. But he spent the entire series weaving in and out of the Heat defense, and he was the Mighty Mouse of this team. Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion were just consistent game in and game out. Offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding, blocking shots, they just dominated the inside for the Mavs. Even Deshawn Stevenson and Brian Cardinal played their roles incredibly well. Stevenson hit big shots when they needed them, and Cardinal came in with intensity guarding guys that left the announcers “ooe-ing” and “aww-ing”. This was team basketball at it’s finest.
To be honest, I’m not sure if any team in any situation could have taken down the Dallas Mavericks in these NBA Finals. They were the team of destiny, and were humble the entire time. Dirk Nowitzki has been humble since he came into the league 10 years ago. When Dwayne Wade called out Dirk for not being clutch back in 2006, and saying that was the reason that the Mavs lost; Dirk didn’t respond, he just waited for his shot to prove Wade wrong.
I refuse to blow up this article about the Dallas Mavericks with too much Lebron James talk, but something has to be said. Through game 5, Lebron James averaged 2.2 points in the fourth quarter of the 2011 NBA Finals. He’s been called out for his play, but no one seems to know the real answer of what is wrong with Lebron. He refused to take over in the fourth quarter of any game when his team needed him. He passed the ball off like it was a hot potato, and didn’t have the killer instinct of the Michael Jordan’s or Kobe Bryant’s of the game. Only time will tell if he has that killer instinct, he’s a gifted player and one of the most physically gifted athletes that I’ve ever seen play any sport; but none of that will matter if he can’t dominate during the Finals, when all eyes are on him.
In the end though, a world of congratulations goes out to the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and so many more players, coaches, and fans of the Dallas Mavericks. You deserve to be 2011 NBA Champions.