The NBA Finals kicked off on Tuesday, May 31 in Miami, Fla., and basketball fans have waited for this moment for the last seven months.
The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks are currently playing a best-of-seven game series to determine who will be NBA champions for the 2010-11 season.
Fans across the country are expecting an excellent series to be played as the Heat’s ‘Big Three’ – superstars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, along with Chris Bosh – face off against Dirk Nowitzki and a veteran-heavy Mavericks’ team. The two teams met in the NBA Finals in 2006, and the Heat won it in six games.
The Heat, led by head coach Erik Spoelstra, is heavily favored to win the NBA finals because they have home court advantage throughout the series and have a lot of momentum on their side. They have gotten through the playoffs with little difficulty and the trio of James, Wade, and Bosh has played extremely well as a unit. They won the Eastern Conference title in four straight games, defeating the Chicago Bulls.
The team is cast as the sport’s ‘bad boys’ because James generated a lot of controversy in the off-season by announcing on ESPN in a nationally televised special dubbed “The Decision”, that he had signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent.
In turn, James spurned his former team – the Cleveland Cavaliers – as well as the state of Ohio, where he grew up and learned the sport.
Many felt that James’s televised special was an example of the modern athlete’s arrogance and that turned fans against him – and the Heat.
They struggled in the early part of the season and faced hostile crowds on the road; however, they started to improve and dominate their opponents.
The Dallas Mavericks are perennial contenders for an NBA title; however, they have not been able to win a championship yet.
Led by head coach Rick Carlisle, future Hall-of-Famer Dirk Nowitzki and featuring veterans Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, J.J. Barea and Peja Stojakovic, the Mavericks have played extremely well in the playoffs. They easily finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games during the Western Conference finals.
In the regular season, the two teams played each other twice. Dallas won both games as they used a strong defense to beat an athletic Heat team. The difference between the two teams is that Dallas has a fairly deep and experienced bench; while, Miami -- outside of the trio of James, Wade and Bosh – does not.
However, things have changed since the two teams last met.
Miami has an explosive offense and their defense at the moment is far superior to Dallas. In the end, the trio of James, Wade and Bosh will be too much for the Mavericks to handle.
Prediction: The Miami Heat wins the best-of-seven game series and the NBA Championship in six.