The Mavericks will be the NBA Champions - Norm Hitzges, June 4, 2006
It appears to me that the battle for the title in the NBA this year was actually decided in Overtime of Game 7 at San Antonio in the Quarterfinals.
It appeared San Antonio had come back from the dead, rallied and was about to put the Mavericks away leading by 3 with less than a half minute to go. Then Dirk Nowitzki drove, scored, got fouled and hit the free throw and Tim Duncan’s flip at the buzzer missed. The Mavericks then controlled the overtime.
Miami’s a fine team with it’s own superstar in Wade. Shaq’s still an impact player on some nights. But the Heat can be had. The rest of their role players—Posey, Haslem, Williams, Walker, Mourning—all have trouble defending the outside shot.
With all due respect to the Pistons, I don’t believe Miami’s played as a good a team as Dallas in the playoffs so far.
In analyzing this series, there may be 4 key role players for Dallas that you might not imagine could play significant roles. Yes, Dirk, Terry, Howard and Stackhouse must be good to very good for Dallas to win. But, there are others who’s play in roles could tilt the title toward Dallas.
#1—Dampier—First of all he should be well rested after virtually not playing in the Phoenix series because of matchups…But he’ll play 30 or more minutes a night using his strength to defend Shaq. He must remain fairly free of foul trouble.
#2—Harris—In rolling through Chicago, New Jersey and Detroit the Heat hasn’t faced anything like Harris’ quickness at guard. And, realize they’ve virtually never seen him. Given his sparse playing time as a rookie and bench role earlier this season. His lightning quickness could drive the heat crazy.
#3—Griffin—All those Miami role players we mentioned above, give Griffin a chance to play a key defensive role. Spare parts like Posey and Walker cannot be allowed to get on a roll. Griffin will have lots of responsibility in that area.
#4—Van Horn—I know. I know. He looked dreadful vs Phoenix. But Van Horn is still a dangerous 3 point shooter. When he’s on the floor, who does Miami assign on him to stop him on the perimeter? That matchup for a few minutes each game could be a killer for the Heat.
The bottom line? I believe Dallas is the better team from the better conference. And they have home floor advantage. The long wait will be over. This will leave the Rangers as the only major pro team in the area to have never won a championship.