Tag Archives: Dallas Mavericks

Loyalty Pays Off for Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks

Chalk one up for the good guys.

It was a battle of good versus evil and loyalty versus betrayal, the final score reads 4-2 in the favor of the good and loyal.

The 2011 NBA Final ended just as you would expect every fairy tale or super hero movie to end — with the good guys on top.

Sunday night, with a 105-95 victory in Game 6, Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat and sent LeBron James back to South Beach to rediscover his talents.

Sweet, sweet victory! Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry celebrate beating the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and becoming the 2011 NBA Champions. (Image via nydailynews.com/ AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The journey traveled by these two teams is as different as day and night and winning and losing.

This past summer, while LeBron James was betraying the city of Cleveland and teaming up with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade to create the most hated team in the NBA, Dirk Nowitzki remained loyal and returned to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks.

LeBron James was possibly the most courted superstar free agent in NBA history. Dirk Nowitzki was possibly the least courted superstar in NBA history. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, the one and only team to reach out to Nowitzki was Dallas.

Heading into the season, everyone expected the Heat to contend and possibly win the NBA title, the Dallas Mavericks on the other hand, were an afterthought.

 

Heading into the 2011 NBA Finals, everyone expected the Heat to dominate the Mavericks and deprive Nowitzki of his one final goal: an NBA championship.

Heading into the offseason, everyone should be scratching their head and wondering what in the world just happened while the other 29 NBA teams ponder why they didn’t even put in a call to Nowitzki.

Was it his ‘soft’ reputation? Or maybe teams felt he was too old to build around? Could it have been his record of underachieving in the playoffs and his inability to win it all?

Whatever it was, Nowitzki proved everyone wrong, including me. I didn’t expect the Mavericks to make it out of the first round. When they did, I thought there was no way they were taking down the two-time defending NBA Champion Lakers. In the conference finals, I believed this was the Thunder’s year and Kevin Durant would shine.

My pick for the NBA Finals was the Heat in five. The Heat were playing too well. Wade, James and Bosh were on a mission and an old Jason Kidd, a soft Dirk Nowitzki and a streaky Jason Terry weren’t going to stand in their way.

Not only did they stand in their way, the Mavericks stopped the Heat dead in their tracks and then decided to trample over them as they raced ahead to hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

The Heat needed the arrogant and self-centered James that starred in “The Decision,” not the insecure and unconfident James that shows up on the big stage. Maybe the series would have ended differently had James performed the way we expected him to, but he didn’t.

Sunday night, Dirk Nowitzki finally won his first NBA championship and was awarded the Most Valuable Player award.

One day, LeBron James may achieve both of those feats, but Nowitzki also accomplished something LeBron James will never be able to do: Nowitzki promised the city of Dallas a championship, and he delivered; James promised the city of Cleveland a championship, but ended up ripping their hearts out on national television.

The summer of 2010 for LeBron James was definitely a rough one. After choking in the finals and acting ignorant, childish and senseless during the post-series press conferences, the summer of 2011 could be even worse. And, to top it all off, James gets to return to the broken-hearted state of Ohio for the offseason. Oh how sweet it is.

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Has Time Run Out on the Lakers?

Dirk Nowitzki pressured by Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in the second quarter of Game 3. The Mavericks went on to win Game 3 98-92 and took a 3-0 series lead on the defending NBA Champions. (Image via John F. Rhodes SportsDayDFW)

After falling to the Dallas Mavericks 98-92 on Friday night, many Los Angeles Lakers fans must be thinking to themselves “Ahh! There are two red buttons! Which one should I press?”

The answer to that question all depends on who you are.

If you’re a diehard Lakers fan that considers themselves a part of the team, that goes through the ups and downs just as the players do, that loses sleep over every missed buzzer-beater and celebrates in jubilation with every made buzzer-beater then press the left button. If you’re a diehard Lakers fan that eats, sleeps and breathes Laker basketball then it’s about time you press the left “Panic” button.

If you’re the classic bandwagon fan that jumps on whichever team is doing the best, that acts like you’re a part of the fan base but runs whenever the teams starts heading downhill then press the right button. If you’re a bandwagon Lakers fan that isn’t emotionally attached the the team, you should definitely press the right “Eject” button to eject yourself off the bandwagon.

The Lakers headed into the season as the favorite in the Western Conference to make it back to the NBA Finals. After all, they were the two-time-defending NBA Champions with Kobe Bryant and a boatload of interior size.

As the Lakers’ season unfolded, some doubts squeezed their way into the heads of the fans, media and possibly even the players. Then, the Lakers went on a ridiculous stretch after the All Star break and squashed the doubts anyone once had. With the end of the season nearing, the Lakers tried to snatch away the #1 seed in the Western Conference from the San Antonio Spurs but failed and tumbled to the finish line.

Heading into the playoffs, the Lakers were still everyone’s favorite despite their inconsistent play. Everyone assumed the Lakers would flip the switch. Even if the switch stalled for a few games, they had Kobe Bryant, arguably the best player in the NBA. The Thunder were a year away, the Spurs were too old, the Nuggets had their “Melo-drama,” and the Dirk Nowitzki led Mavericks were your classic choke artists who were too soft to hang with the Lakers.

With the Game 3 loss in Dallas and the Lakers face a daunting task — to become the first team in NBA history to come back from being down 3-0 in a series — it’s safe to say we were wrong.

  1. The Oklahoma City Thunder are ready to contend this year. The maturation of Russel Westbrook and Kevin Durant has happened right before our eyes. The trade deadline acquisition of Kendrick Perkins makes the long, big and physical on the interior and a true force to reckon with in the NBA.
  2. There was more to the Lakers than just flipping a switch. After Game 2, Andrew Bynum noted “trust issues” in the Lakers’ locker room. It’s quite possible that a few of the Lakers flipped the switch, but the rest of the team didn’t.
  3. Most importantly, the Dallas Mavericks haven’t been choke artists and have proven they aren’t too soft to hang with the Lakers. In fact, the Mavericks have been clutch in the series against the Lakers. Twice this series, the Mavericks have come from behind in the 4th quarter to beat the Lakers. In the 4th quarter alone, the Mavericks have outscored the Lakers 82-55.

If you pressed the “Panic” button, you should be worried about the future of the Lakers. If you pressed the “Eject” button, don’t expect to be back on the Lakers bandwagon anytime soon. With a core group of players over the age of 30, the Lakers aren’t getting younger, and the West is only going to be getting better. The window of the Lakers’ dominance is rapidly closing and being swept by the Mavericks may only kick it into high speed.

Tonight, the Boston Celtics look to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole just as the Lakers did. With the series heading back to Boston and Shaq returning, the spirits of Boston fans must be higher than those of the Lakers. Talk about adding insult to injury.

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