Tonight is The Miami Heat host the Dallas Mavericks in game one of the NBA Finals. No, you didn't accidentally stumble upon a post from 2006. Five years later these two teams will meet in the finals again, but that doesn't mean it will be a rerun. These teams look pretty different in 2011.
Sure, Dirk Nowitzki is still trying to win his first ring and Dwyane Wade will try to bring it home again, but the supporting casts are largely different. Nowitzki and Jason Terry are the only two players that remain on Mavericks five years later, and Miami - well we all know about this Miami team right?
In one of the most controversial moves in NBA history, LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in the off season to come play in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh making the Miami Heat a sort of dream team. That is, a dream team if you are into a team with three super stars and not much depth. While I am sure they are very loved in South Florida, the rest of the country (minus the band wagoners, you know who you are) takes great pleasure in rooting against what sometimes seems like The Leigon of Doom.
This is a far cry from the 2006 Miami Heat who called themselves Fifteen Strong.
But other things have changed too. Jason Kidd is a Maverick now. At 38, he is also the oldest guard to ever start in the NBA finals. (Miami's Juwan Howard is also 38.) Kidd has been a star in the league for 17 years and he would love to win his first championship this year.
Then again, so would LeBron James.
There has been a lot of talk recently that James is the best to ever play the game. Even Scottie Pippen thinks so.
Michael Jordan is probably the greatest scorer to play the game... But I may go as far as to say LeBron James may be the greatest player to ever play the game because he is so potent offensively that not only can he score at will but he keeps everybody involved... No guy on the basketball court is not a threat to score with LeBron James out there. Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he’s also doing it on the defensive end which really makes him the complete package. He’s able to get in those passing lanes, shoot those gaps and create transition opportunities where he is pretty much unstoppable.”
That is some high praise from a man who won six rings playing alongside Michael Jordan.
I never thought I would say this, but I'll be rooting for Dallas. I think I still have a bitter taste in my mouth about the way the Miami team came to exist. I like a league with parity. I support team work and a team spirit. I loved LeBron in Cleveland, but in Miami he still seems wrong. It was like the year Brett Favre played for the Jets or seeing Joe Montana playing for Kansas City.
So who takes this series? I'm not sure. You have got experience and talent on both sides of the court. The spread for game 1 is at 4.5 in favor of The Heat at home. I don't know who will take home the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, but I think we can expect some amazing basketball and I will be surprised if this series doesn't go at least six games.
What are your predictions?
Miami Heat Image Credit: Sun-Sentinel/ZUMApress.com
(Editor's Note: It's not all about the big boys. Don't forget the WNBA season, which tips off this Friday with the Los Angeles Sparks hosting the Minnesota Lynx.)
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