|Written by Michael|
The Heat showcase some of the best talent in the league right now, while Dallas fields a team of veterans who never seem to lose their cool. The stage is set for one of the most interesting NBA Finals in recent history, and the stakes for the players on each team could not be higher.
In the underdog position, the Mavericks are not expected to win either the series or the first game. The Heat are -4.5 point favorites in Game One, with the total sitting at 188. The Heat are also the favorites to win the entire series as -180 favorites, with Dallas at +150. Most basketball commentators and experts think that this will be no easy series, though, predicting a six or seven game battle between the two. Miami's home-court advantage gives them a slight edge overall.
It is debatable whether LeBron James or Dirk Nowitzki have been the more impressive forces in the postseason – both have been playing brilliantly throughout the playoffs. Nowitzki has been on fire from all over the court, drawing even more comparisons to the legendary Larry Bird. And James has simply taken over games for the Heat, single-handedly scoring most of his team's fourth quarter or overtime points, while shutting down some of the league's best players with his suffocating defense.
James has been seeking a title ever since he came into the league, and after acquiring a couple seaon MVP titles and making a few trips deep into the playoffs, left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in order to join fellow star players Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After predicting that the trio could win “not six, not seven” NBA Championships, this will be their first chance after eliminating the 76ers, Celtics, and Bulls earlier in the playoffs.
But Nowitzki and Jason Kidd are also title-less, despite playing in the NBA for over a decade each. The big German's Mavericks had a 2-0 lead over the Heat in 2006, and then blew four straight games, essentially handing the championship to the younger Miami team. This may be one of Nowitzki's final chances to win a title, after leading the Mavs to eleven straight 50-win seasons. But Dallas has been playing well, knocking off the Trailblazers, Lakers, and Thunder to get to the Finals.