Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Never Thought I'd Be Typing These Words: Mavs Finals Preview

I just typed up this whole thing about the series and then my internet sh*t the bed, and I'm left with nothing. I hate my life. Actually, I should love it since the Mavs are in the Finals, and I'll be at Game 1. Let's see if I can recapture the magic of my first preview.

Miami has three factors on its side that could win the Championship for them.

SHAQ

Should I say anymore? Well, I'm not going to since I have to leave my house in 30 minutes to go to the game. But I will tell you one thing. People are saying Shaq will get up to play against Damp. Or to prove a point against Kobe. No, Shaq is going to play to win a title. That's it.

DWYANE WADE

Best player in NBA. Wanna fight about it?

EXPERIENCE

Too many guys on the Heat have been too close to winning a title. Not that many guys on the Mavs have that same feeling. You could argue Stack does, but he's never been nearly this close. KVH is the only Mav with Finals experience. And Dirk once made it to the Conference Finals. Payton has been to the Finals twice. Walker's been to the Conference Finals and is a perennial playoff loser. Mourning has been so close so many times.

That's what makes this team so much better than that Laker team with Malone and Payton. It's a group of guys who want to win with the top guy who REALLY wants to win. In LA, he was more concerned with showing up Kobe than winning a championship.

As for the Mavs...

DEPTH

Mavs go 10 deep. Heat go 8, 8.5 if you count Shandon Anderson. The Heat may have the best top 2, but there is a significant drop-off after that. Antoine Walker? Gary Payton? James Posey? White Chocolate? How about Howard, JET, Stack, Devin, 'Quis, Damp, Diop? Do I need to continue.

CONSISTENCY

The Heat rely on guys like Walker, Payton, White Chocolate, Udonis Haslem. Those guys are incredibly inconsistent. I'm not saying those guys are going to suck throughout the series. But there will be games where Walker is just jacking up 3's, where White Chocolate tries to be too dark, where Haslem can't hit a mid-range jumper, and where Payton turns from shadow of himself to shadow of his shadow.

Quick Note: If your championship hopes rely on Udonis Haslem hitting 18 foot jumpshots, good luck.

FATE

Eric Neel compared the Mavs to Sydney Bristow. I should have seen that too. I'm a HUGE Alias fan. I watched all the shows this past semester, and I even hooked up with Jennifer Garner once (before she was pregnant, I have pictures to prove it). My theme for the Mavs in the playoffs has been "Light 'em up Michael Vaughn style." That's fate. And then there's this.

The Mavs have had 2 big winning streaks this season. A 9 gamer in November. And then 13 game marathon in January and February. Who was the last team the Mavs beat before the streak ended in both situations? The Heat. I'm not putting much stock in the victories, but I do believe in fate. And I do think there is something to that.


So where does the edge lie? Well, it's all in homecourt. The Mavs have 4 games, including 1 and 7 at home. In a 2-3-2 format, Games 1 and 7 are the most important. Also, it's nearly impossible to beat a team, especially the Mavs, three straight times, like Miami must bank on doing to hold homecourt. So I wouldn't worry too much if the Mavs drop one at home as long as they win Game 5. Just to ease your mind, look at this:

Miami: 8-1 at home, 4-4 on road in playoffs
Dallas: 6-2 at home, 6-3 on road in playoffs

Good teams win on road. Even if they home-court advantage. Miami plays 4 games on the road, and statistics may tell you that they win 2 games, but they were 1-2 against a beaten Pistons team on the road. The Mavs, meanwhile, have closed out each series on the road. An accomplishment, to say the least.

So, what's my prediction? Well, I'm pretty biased, as I am a Mavs fan, and I do have tickets for Game 7. I hope it doesn't go 7, but at the same time, I hope it does.

Sorry this was so crappy. I swear my first one was awesome. This was just an abridged version of it.

Mavs in 7.

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