Yes, part 2 is how this series is being presented because it’s only been 5 years since the teams met in the Finals. There is a core of institutional memory of that series in both organizations that’s interesting. There has been consistent ownership and management and the two players remaining on each side fill important roles. Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki are the home grown superstar/best player in franchise history and Udonis Haslem and Jason Terry compose the emotional core of their teams. Otherwise, though, for both squads, there have been such substantial changes that neither team seems very connected to 2006.
Almost the entire rosters have turned over for these teams. The Mavs are a collection of cast offs, former All-Stars and just past their prime guys who have all coalesced around the goal of winning a title. The Heat are, of course, the model for contemporary team building. Grab as many stars as possible and fill in the blanks around them.
It is that collection of star players, Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, that seems to be the key to this series to me. While Dallas’ players largely get the ball in scoring areas based on ball movement and double teams of Nowitzki, Miami has a more consistent offensive attack. Wade and James are almost always in scoring areas because with a move or two, each guy can get to a comfortable spot with an advantage. There were times in the Mavericks’ victory over the Thunder that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook seemed to be able to score at will. That scoring was predicated on speed and athleticism. Wade and James have speed, athleticism, experience, confidence and great options when they need to pass the ball.
Some of Dallas’ offensive limitations have been masked by their incredibly accurate three point shooting during the playoffs. Miami expects to give up 3 pt attempts as long as they are contested. Miami will be able to slow down Dallas’ offense and force Nowitzki to win games by scoring 50 points a night. Dallas has very little chance of corralling James and Wade; that will be the difference.
Official Prediction: Heat in 6
Gut Feeling: Heat in 5 games. Yes, that means clinching the title in Big D. What a perfect scenario that would be for the most popular villains in NBA history.