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Monday, June 13, 2011

NBA Finals 2011. Mavericks vs. Heat

(Article Written by Roberto Ruiz,, twitter @RobertoRuiz33)

This NBA finals series really was an example of good triumphing over evil. Dirk Nowitzki, the star of the Dallas Mavericks, finally won the ring that he has been dreaming of since his 2006 defeat in the finals to the Miami Heat. At the end of the day, the Mavericks won the finals because of Nowitzki's ability to make shots down the stretch. Nowitzki drove the lane and made a game-clinching layup during the last five minutes of what seemed like every game. Meanwhile, Lebron James's star seemed to shrink under the bright lights.

Twice now, James has failed to get the job done in the finals. We are forced to ask whether or not he deserves to be considered among the all-time greats. While at one time this was all but certain, James's performance as of late has forced fans to rethink that status. Even to this day, many writers and fans believe that James is the best player since Jordan. Now we must lump James in with the likes of Elgin Baylor, John Stockton, Charles Barkley, etc. There is one big difference between James and those three though, and that is the fact that James has now turned opaque in two finals appearances. I am sure that James will win at least one NBA title during his career, but this is the one finals that he wasn't supposed to win. Winning this series would have cemented James's legacy, but instead his legacy is now tarnished.

On the flip side, Nowitzki's star has never shined brighter. Coming into the playoffs, many picked the Mavericks to be upset by the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. NBA fans blinked and opened their eyes to a truly great player standing on a podium, hoisting the NBA finals MVP trophy above his head, tears in his eyes, and a look of satisfaction on his face. What more can we ask from a man than to lead a group of aging veterans to victory against a younger, fiercer, more talented Miami Heat squad? In the 2006 NBA finals, Nowitzki left much to be desired because he was often left watching Dwyane Wade take over games in the fourth quarter. This time around, it was Wade and James that did the watching.

Let's be honest, the Heat will be heavy favorites to win the championship entering next season, but tonight was Nowitzki's night. It was Mavs owner Mark Cuban's night, who finally shut his mouth long enough to be able to enjoy the moment. It was Jason Terry's night, who tattooed the NBA championship trophy on his bicep before the regular season even started. It was Jason Kidd's night, whose calming presence finally led his team to an NBA championship. Savor the night, NBA fans, because I know many of you are dreading the time when James gets to hoist the trophy over his head, instead of someone as universally loved as Dirk.

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