Just in case you hadn’t heard, the NBA season concluded Sunday when the Dallas Mavericks pulled out a 105-95 win over the Miami Heat, winning the series in six games. The game seemed like it was the Mavericks to win from the start, the most glaring evidence of this being the fact that Dirk had a miserable first half shooting but Dallas still had the lead. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, with Terry playing the way he was in a positive way, and LeBron and Dwayne Wade playing the way they did in a negative way, the fate of both teams was as good as sealed.
This series was significant for a myriad of reasons that go far beyond the simple fact that it was for the NBA’s biggest prize—the Larry O’Brien trophy.
this series was significant because it represented much more than just the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference; for many, this series was a battle of “good” versus evil, a battle of team play versus individual play, a battle of integrity versus cockiness, a battle of long term building versus quick fix success. This series pitted traditionalist fans against new wave fans. To say this series was polarizing would be an understatement.
In the end, the traditionalist, team oriented fans won out as the Dallas Mavericks thwarted the “evil” Miami Heat, breaking the record for most celebrations by fans with no real affiliation with the winning team.
That’s how the series played out for many, however for those that remained impartial, the series was great; it featured some performances for the ages ( Dirk and Wade), some sentimental stories ( Kidd and Dirk’s first championships), big comebacks and some great defensive games. However, I can’t help but feel like it could have been so much more.
It was good to see Dirk win, but the way it ended left something to be desired; and that of course would be LeBron James. If he performs to the upmost of his abilities then this series features an all time great shootout between two of the league’s best superstars, and that’s not even considering Dwayne Wade in that scenario.
Instead, watching LeBron in the last two games of that series was painful. He passed up shots, took bad ones and differed to players with half his skill level. Maybe it is a result of him playing an inhuman amount of minutes all season, maybe it is something else but if LBJ raises his level of play, there is a good chance that we would have witnessed an all time classic series.
That is not to take anything away from the Mavs, they were the better team in pretty much every facet of the game and they deserved that title. For Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, this title will be the cherry on top of their hall of fame careers. The Mavericks improbable playoffs run will go down as one of the best sports stories of the year, and one of the most surprising since the Pistons won the title in 2004. The significance of the series should end there; however, unfortunately it does not.
I try not to think about it, but this could be the last glimpse of NBA basketball we get for quite some time. The looming threat of a lockout makes this whole season a great deal more significant. For teams like the Spurs, Celtics, Lakers and even the champions a prolonged lockout could mean the end of their status as contenders in the league. The sad reality is that the Mavs could be reigning champions next season, without even playing another game.
So, NBA fans enjoy these memories for as long as you can; re-watch the Finals as many times as NBA TV will show it because we just don’t know when we will catch a glimpse of NBA basketball next.