True Hoops

True Hoops

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Destiny vs. Free Will......

......Also know as the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Miami Heat.

We are here. The beginning of the end starts tonight.
But before the Finals commence, can we for a second marvel at how the journey just to get here for both of these teams couldn't have been more different.

For the Mavericks, they have spent their whole season under the radar. No one really thought they would be here. Right? To find them in the Finals is surprising to say the least. And yet now that they are here it's as if it was meant to be. A magical ride for a team on a mission to finish what they started 5 years ago. Yes only two players actually remain from the '06 finals team, but still, how many veterans do they have that have waited their whole career for this opportunity? Some for the first time, some for perhaps the last time.

As fate would have it, they now face the team that beat them the last time they were in the finals.

And for the Miami Heat, this whole season has been anything but under the radar. Not with their own Heat index. The fact that they are here isn't that surprising, is it?
Right after the Decision, a majority of analysts picked them to reach the finals. Of course along the way they had their bumps, and perhaps many people wished that they wouldn't get here. Oh well.
They are right where they are supposed to be.

Can't we just stop now and enjoy the journey that both of these teams took to get here?
No. We can't.
One team has to win. One team has to lose.

Yet despite what you have to say about these teams, doesn't this series really come down to individuals? Two individuals at separate stages in their careers. And two individuals who made different choices to get back here.

Ah yes. Choice.
The problem is choice.

Dirk chose to stay, for better or worse. He rode it out.
Winning a championship now would be the sort of story-book ending we would like to be read. An ending that would close an era of the NBA

However, LeBron chose to leave. He joined his friends to form a super team.
Winning a championship now would be an ending of his own authorship. An ending that could change the future of the NBA.

The Miami Heat are a force, that was engineered by design. We are starting to see their prowess with their run through the eastern conference.
The Dallas Mavericks are a study in perseverance. They have been beaten and doubted and written off, countless times. Yet here they are.

So, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Well, let me ask you a few questions......

Who wants it more?
Dirk was desperate to "get another shot on the big stage."
Jason Terry had a picture of the NBA championship trophy tattooed on his arm before this season.
Kidd is still ballin' at 38!
Marion and Peja always lost to the Spurs and Lakers, respectively.


LeBron became the villain for this.
He left his home state and put his reputation and legacy(?) all on the line.

Who needs it more?
Dirk and Kidd are already hall of famers, do they need this to elevate their stature?
Jason Terry had a picture of the NBA championship trophy tattooed on his arm before the season. What would he do if he doesn't win it?


Vindication for LeBron's Decision.

Who Deserves it more?
The Mavs have paid their dues.
Dirk: up 2-0 in '06, 67 wins and MVP in '07 - then lost in first round.


I have never seen anyone so vilified as LeBron this season.
How much vitriol has he faced?
And for what? Admitting that he needs help?
What does that say about our society?
And still, look at everything he has done in the face of that.

What will be the difference?
Perimeter defense.
Who would have thought Jose Barea could be a deciding factor?
Well, Dirk too.
Will the Heat be able to play straight up defense on Dirk and Barea?
When the Mavs are at their best, they are shooting the lights out from the three point line.
A majority of their shots from three come on drive and kicks to the open man when the defense helps on penetration.
Who do the Mavs have that can create for themselves?
Of course Dirk. But believe it or not Barea has been a difference maker in several games this post-season by his ability to get in the lane by himself or off screens.
The Heat CAN NOT leave Terry or Peja, or - heaven forbid - Dirk open to shoot.
It will not be a good look if they do.

How will it end?
Miami in 6 games.
I believe in destiny/fate. But I also believe the choices we make help shape them.

It helps when Miami has the two best players in the world as well as a top big man.
It also helps that Wade and James are two of the best perimeter defenders in the league.
If they were able to hold Derrick Rose relatively in check, my guess is they can handle the likes of Jose Barea and Jason Kidd.
Dirk will get his, but usually 1 superstar doesn't beat 2 superstars and an all-star.
Although, I should caution, beware of the team of destiny.
Sometimes rules of reason and rationale don't apply to them.

I know what it's like to root for a team to finally get over the hump. I was a Knicks fan growing up during the Ewing era. We never were able to win it. Isn't this Mavs team something similar? I mean Patrick Ewing was the best 7 foot shooting guard in the NBA until Dirk. Ewing was a great player but never really had the help around him, like Dirk.
And because of that, part of me would like to see Dirk win.

But, there is a black hole in the NBA right now. With the demise of the Lakers and Celtics, everyone is fighting for the new supremacy. Who is better built for that than the Miami Heat? This Finals is about moving forward and will go a long way towards the Heat holding the crown for years to come.

Magic and Bird.
The Pistons.

We have now entered the LeBron era.

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