Dallas Mavericks: 2011 NBA Finals
The NBA Finals 2013 campaign, "Forever is Big," is the first to celebrate current NBA players who are on their way to becoming legends because of successful Finals moments. In this commercial which begins airing Saturday, we see Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki make an incredible signature fade away jump shot in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
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1. Was the 2011 NBA Finals the most memorable ever?
Tom Haberstroh: Not quite. Most memorable for me was the 1998 Finals with Michael Jordan's final shot against Bryon Russell. Perhaps I was just more impressionable in middle school, but it was such a poetic ending to Jordan's illustrious career. Wait, he played for the Wizards?
Israel Gutierrez: Ever? Like, ever ever? Umm, no. You're not going to remember too many actual in-game moments from that series the way you do John Paxson's game-winner against Phoenix or Michael Jordan's push-off jumper against the Jazz or Jordan's barrage against the Trail Blazers. This is remembered more for the off-the-court rumblings created by LeBron James' inexplicably poor play and Chris Bosh's post-series emotions.
Michael Wallace: No. Not hardly. For me, nothing would top the '91 Finals when the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers met for a transaction in which Magic Johnson personally passed the torch to Michael Jordan. It was also a transition from the most dominant team of the 1980s to the one of the '90s.
2. What was the biggest lesson for the Heat?
|Coop and Nate discuss the Mavs' matchup with the hated Miami Heat tonight at the American Airlines Center.
Gutierrez: That LeBron has to be at the center of what the Heat does. Miami tried to lift LeBron past his slump and win anyway. Succeeding at that would've been the worst scenario for both sides. The Heat wouldn't deem it necessary to rely on LeBron's talents, and LeBron would've probably had a hard time taking ownership of this team the way he has since. As LeBron has said, losing that series is possibly the best thing to happen to this group.
Wallace: That even the best player in the game ironically needed both a severe humbling as well as a major confidence boost to break through on the NBA's grand stage. LeBron James learned many valuable lessons from that defeat to the Mavericks that prepared him for championship triumph the next year against the Thunder.
3. What was the biggest lesson for the Mavs?
Haberstroh: Not that the Mavericks needed confirmation, but that Dirk Nowitzki is a pretty transcendent player. What Nowitzki did in 2011 and James later did in 2012 was reiterate that the "can't win the big one" label is maybe the silliest in sports. With Tyson Chandler anchoring the defense and shooters aplenty, Nowitzki finally had the functional parts to get him over the hump. Yes, Nowitzki evolved as a player too but he wasn't "soft" like many so wanted to believe.
Gutierrez: Just the knowledge that they can indeed be great. For years, that team, with Nowitzki as the main man, was considered too soft and too jump-shot dependent to be champions. After winning that series with stellar execution and ridiculous outside shooting -- not to mention some decent defense from current Knicks Tyson Chandler and Jason Kidd -- Nowitzki and Co. know they can win at the highest level with that formula.
Wallace: That revenge can be one of the sweetest joys in sports. Mavs owner Mark Cuban always felt he had the better team in 2006 when Dallas blew a 2-0 series lead and lost four straight to Miami. Five years later, Nowitzki was as unstoppable in the Finals as Dwyane Wade was in 2006 as Dallas avenged that meltdown against Miami.
Terry scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the Mavericks’ Game 1 loss Saturday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder. But Terry, who prides himself on being a clutch performer, was shut down by Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter.
Not only did Terry go scoreless in the fourth quarter, he hardly touched the ball. He attempted only one shot despite his sizzling shooting up to that point.
“Doesn’t even matter,” Terry said after the Mavs’ practice Sunday. “I bet I get touches this next fourth quarter. I will. That’s all I can tell you. I can’t tell you other than that. And you know when I say it, it’s going to happen.”
Terry carries that kind of credibility after he backed up his big words against the Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals.
After being shut out in the fourth quarter of the Mavs’ Games 1 and 3 losses, Terry’s response was to puff out his chest and challenge LeBron James, who the Heat used to defend Dirk Nowitzki’s closing sidekick in crunch time.
“Let’s see him do that for seven games,” Terry said the day before Game 4.
The rest of the story is part of Mavs lore. Terry scored eight points in the fourth quarter of a comeback win in Game 4. He had eight points in the final 3:23 of the Game 5, including a game-tying 3 and a deep dagger over James. And Terry scored a game-high 27 points in the clinching Game 6.
If Terry talks the talk and walks the walk against King James, you think he’s going to back down from Westbrook?
“Whoever they throw, it doesn’t matter,” Terry said. “We’ll have success.”
Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. The Mavs spent significant time during Saturday’s film session discussing how to get Terry free if the ridiculously quick Westbrook continues denying him all over the floor during crunch time.
“I can do some things to get Jet a little more involved,” said coach Rick Carlisle, who mentioned that the Mavs need to have better balance instead of just going to Nowitzki every possession down the stretch.
“We have to figure out different ways to get Jet in different positions to get the ball to be successful,” point guard Jason Kidd said. “We expect to see that tomorrow. Hopefully we can get him in the right spot and hopefully he’s still hot. He had a great game, and it was our fault that we couldn’t get him the ball in that fourth quarter.”
Westbrook had a lot to do with it, too. Terry promises that won’t be a trend.
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Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.