One of the greatest NBA Finals is in the books, and the Dallas Mavericks finished up business in a manner that belies how competitive of a series it began as. By the second half of game 6, the Mavs were in sync so well that it seemed like the everything that left their hands was dropping straight in, “Pleasantville” style. There was so much to this series that it can’t possibly be summed in just a few sections here.
But here you have it, the CHEAP SEAT’S final word on what all took place between the Mavericks and Miami Heat, and why the name with the brightest lights means nothing if it doesn’t have something behind it.
TRUTH #1-ALL FOR ONE, PLUS ONE: From the outset of these Finals, my word has been that the Mavericks where the better team, however overcoming the high ceiling All-Stars on Miami would be too much of a task. Well the last two games of the Finals proved the greatest truth of the NBA: superstars shine, but the better team always wins. In the course of this series both elements proved true on repeat, with the names on the marquee taking their time shining, but it took the total team K.O. that the Mavs gathered up that in the end made the series look like a major mismatch. This was the best total team win for the ring since the Detroit Pistons took out the Lakers in 2004. Simply put, 10 determined players with a mission will always beat out three high ceiling players every time. When you combine that with an amazing run by Dirk Nowitzki, they had every element needed to take the series. Most importantly, they And while nobody picked the Mavericks coming into the season, and even headed into this series, in the end it makes all the sense in the world why they are where they are now.
TRUTH #2-MIND OF MATTER, MATTERS: Outside of failures to protect leads or close out, the Heat on repeat defeated themselves in another way as well: they continued to feed the Mavericks with more and more reasons to want to beat them. There has been no team that has had a bigger target on its back this season, even the formerly defending champs in L.A. But what became increasingly evident and just became laughable in the end is that the Mavericks not only were not scared of the Heat, they were driven into not even respecting them. What’s the worst part about this is that it was created by the “team leaders” of the Heat in LeBron and Wade. The Mavericks stayed in their ears while they gave them their best shot, and took the slaps across the face like Hulk Hogan going into manic mode. It just made them stronger. Jason Terry, Shawn Marion and DeShawn Stevenson basically told LeBron he wasn’t going to beat them, and in the end, it seemed like they convinced him of just that.
And that plays into exactly what happened in the end: one half talked the walk…and then got walked all over. On the flipside, Dirk Nowitzki, the target of much of the antics and shenanigans around the series said little to nothing and just went to work. He followed that model all the way to the end of his work year and walked right off the floor after washing his hands of LeBron, Wade and their sideshow antics…and didn’t extend a hand to either after defeating them. The example for everything the Heat need to learn was right in their face the whole time, until he was done with them. Then he had no words for them, just a few more trophies and a winner’s legacy to redefine his career. Pay attention kids.
TRUTH #3-WHAT ARE WE WITNESSING? Inevitably, in the end it all comes back to LeBron. Such is his place in the game that he even takes the spotlight from one of the great Playoff performances ever from Dirk and one of the most impressive runs ever to a title by the Mavericks. What was proven without a doubt is that LeBron James is not ready to win right now. His debut trip to the Finals with a team designed from the floor up around him will be characterized by perfect non-attendance in the fourth quarter, a playing up off-court rumors and the largest overall fall off in points production from regular season to the Finals in NBA history (-8.9 points difference). He looked out of it, like he couldn’t bring together all of the skills that have twice made him the best player of the first 82, and worse…it looked like he didn’t know how nor want to even.
This series made me thinking about the part in Superman II when Superman lost all of his powers and got his lunch handed to him in the bar by some trucker guy. Even saw himself bleed for the first time. That’s what we just saw here with LeBron, he got put out on front street, tried to dig down and become the guy he thought he was, only to find out in a hurry he didn’t have it in him…and got flowed for six games in a very aggressive fashion, leaving all questions and no answers.
However, that same situation can play true to what could become, on a few different levels. LeBron can let this series give him the Clark Kent, or worse…Christopher Reeves treatment, and be beaten to crippled by the beating. Or he can gut down, learn something, realize what his potential is and grow up for the final time behind this loss. Superman went back, regained his poise and confidence in his skills and then and handled the guy that knocked him down before. He either will make folks “Witnesses” or continue to be one to everybody else making the name for themselves that he is supposed to be creating for himself.
A guy that wakes up and has his own set of problems, but doesn’t get folded in by them, Clark.
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