I wrote a column last week after the Dallas Mavericks took a commanding two games to none lead in the NBA Finals, stating that the Mavericks already had the series in the bag.
I still believe they do.
I am fully aware that the Mavs are now in a 3-2 hole after dropping three consecutive games in South Beach to the Miami Heat, but I am not shaken in the slightest in my belief that Dallas will still overcome their recent woes – some of which were self created -and some that weren’t.
Let’s review the series quickly.
The Mavs got a stellar performance from “The Jet” Jason Terry and won that game evn though they had extremely sub-par performances from Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard – their two most versatile players.
The Mavs won handily and got better performances from Nowitzki and Jerry Stackhouse. The Mavs also put forth an incredible defensive effort in holding Shaquille O’Neal to a career playoff low, five points.
After the first two games, Dallas clearly appeared to be the deeper, more talented, not to mention, younger and more athletic, team.
Let’s be honest. The Mavs game this game away like it was Christmas day. They thoroughly outplayed Miami and had a 13-point lead with a little more than four minutes remaining in the game. Call it what you want, you can argue all you want that Miami won this game more than Dallas lost it, but this is undoubtedly a game that the Mavs should have won.
So, instead of a 3-0 lead, Miami had a little bit of life going into the next game.
Speaking of the next game, Miami got some newfound confidence and won handily. I won’t even try to suggest that the Mavs even had half a chance in this game. Miami pretty much dominated this game from start to finish. Now that the series was tied at two games apiece, and Mavs super sub, Jerry Stackhouse, would be suspended for game 5, it appeared as if Miami was beginning to gain even more control of this series. The Heat undoubtedly had the valued, “momentum” on their side going into their third consecutive – and final, home game.
This is another game I think the Mavs should have put away when they had the chance. However, it is this game – without Stackhouse – that has reinforced my belief in the Mavs.
Although this is a game the Mavs could have rolled over in, they came dominated this game almost from the start. Howard, found his stroke and Terry was once again, absolutely fantastic. Although Nowitzki struggled offensively at times, he played well down the stretch. However, the Mavs, Dwayne Wade – and the referees – would combine to hand this game over to the Heat, giving them their third consecutive win of the series and a 3-2 advantage heading back to Dallas for game 6.
Without getting into the specifics of everything that transpired at the end of this game, I can unequivocally attest that this is definitely another game Dallas should have won.
However, I am certain that the Mavericks – with the boost of playing at home – and having tasted two bitter defeats to a team I’m sure they believe they are superior to – will only bolster their determination.
I am also certain that the Mavs will put the pedal to the metal in game 6 – and with the return of Stackhouse – return to their winning ways by leaving some of their customary tread marks all over the Heat.
I obviously feel that if this series makes it to the seventh game, that the Mavs will fully overwhelm Miami behind a crazed, championship starved throng of blue-and-white clad fans.
So, there you have it – why I believe the Mavericks are still going to win this series.
If you don’t believe me – and I’m sure a lot of people don’t – I guess we will all find out in due time.