Five years ago, the Miami Heat needed six games to win their first NBA title. Now, the Dallas Mavericks can return the favor in the sixth game of the Finals in South Beach if they can find a way to beat the Heat on their home court.
The story of the 2011 Mavericks is definitely going to be one that goes down in history one way or the other. Either Dallas will be going in the history books because it finally won its title, or because it choked away the best chance that it ever had at claiming glory. It’s clear that the window of opportunity is shutting on the Mavericks, as Dirk Nowitzki isn’t getting any younger. You can feel the importance of all of these NBA Finals betting battles for Nowitzki and company. It is apparent that Nowitzki isn’t feeling 100% due to illness, but he is getting through it all and playing his best ball in the fourth quarter of games, the quarter in which he normally struggled at the end of seasons. Nowitzki scored 29 points to lead all scorers in Game 5 of the Finals, and he shot 9-of-18 from the field. This was also the awakening game for Jason Terry, who scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and finally really played the role of “The Jet” that we saw against the Los Angeles Lakers. Jose Juan Barea scored 17, while both Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd had 13. The 112 points was one of the best offensive showings that this team has had in the playoffs, and the defense forced 18 turnovers to boot to seal up the ‘W’.
Meanwhile, the weight of a title hanging right there for the taking is apparently getting to LeBron James once again. The one chance that he had at a title before this was in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the San Antonio Spurs didn’t even yield one game. LeBron was a lot younger at that point though, and no one expected him to carry a lousy team that far anyway. Now, expectations are getting to him, and you can tell that they are starting to weigh on him. James scored 17 points in Game 5, marking the third straight lousy scoring game that he had in Dallas in this series, and it really erased the fact that he had a triple-double on the night with 10 boards and 10 assists as well. Chris Bosh continues to play well, as he scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds in the Game 5 loss. All eyes are on Dwyane Wade, though. Wade scored 23 points and had a great fourth quarter in spite of the fact that he has been knocked around quite a bit in this series. All of these injuries aren’t going to keep him out of the lineup in Game 6, but they might limit “Flash.”
Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks Pick: Dallas has to have this game. This is the one that it can’t let get away, because it probably isn’t winning a Game 7, especially if LeBron and company really get going from the field. The Mavericks are good enough to get the job done, as they proved in Game 2, and they’re going to finish off their first championship on Sunday night in South Beach. For your NBA Finals picks, go with the Mavericks +6.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.