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Thursday, October 27, 2011
World Series forecast: A slam dunk?

By Alok Pattani

If the 2011 World Series matchup and the way the games have played out seems familiar, it may be because it is following a similar narrative as that of the NBA Finals from just a few months ago.

THE MATCHUP
The team with home-field advantage is making its first appearance in the championship round since winning in 2006 (the Miami Heat and the St. Louis Cardinals). This team has a superstar who has won multiple MVPs and is generally considered to be the best player in the league at the moment, if not one of the all-time greats in LeBron James and Albert Pujols.

The team without home-field advantage hails from North Texas, is making its second appearance in the championship series, and has never won a title despite being a member of the league for a long time. The Mavericks and Rangers are each making their second championship appearance, the Mavericks not having won 30 previous seasons, the Rangers not having won in 50.

“Team 1” refers to the team with home-field advantage in the series (Cardinals/Heat) and “Team 2” refers to the Texas team without home-field advantage (Rangers/Mavericks).

GAME 1
The game is relatively close before Team 1 pulls away late to get the win. Team 1’s superstar contributes to the victory.

2011 NBA Finals: The Mavericks were within 3 points with under seven minutes left, but the Heat held on for a 92-84 victory. LeBron James finished with a team-high 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists.

2011 World Series: The game was tied at 2 going into the bottom of the sixth inning before Allen Craig came up with a pinch-hit RBI single. The Cardinals held on a for a 3-2 victory. Albert Pujols goes 0-4 but walked and scored in the 4th inning.

GAME 2
It looks as if Team 1 is about to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, but Team 2 rallies for a dramatic win to tie it up. A veteran All-Star helps account for the game-winning score.

2011 NBA Finals: The Heat had a 88-73 lead with seven minutes left, but the Mavericks finished the game on a 22-5 run and won on a layup with 3.6 seconds left by Dirk Nowitzki, who has been with the Mavericks for his 13-year career.

2011 World Series: The Cardinals led 1-0, but the Rangers rallied on two sacrifice flies in the top of the ninth inning. Michael Young, who has been with the Rangers for his 12-year career, had the game-winning RBI.

GAME 3
Despite Team 2 seemingly having the momentum after a Game 2 win, Team 1 regains home-field advantage with a win on the road in North Texas.

The Heat defeated the Mavericks, 88-86 in Dallas. The Cardinals defeated the Rangers, 16-7 in Arlington.

GAME 4
Team 2 takes control of the game late and evens up the series. Team 1’s superstar has a tough game and fails to deliver in the clutch.

2011 NBA Finals: The Mavericks finished the game on a 21-9 run and won, 88-86. LeBron James finished with a playoff career-low eight points, including zero points in the fourth quarter.

2011 World Series: The Rangers took command of the game on a three-run HR by Mike Napoli in the bottom of the sixth inning and won, 4-0. Albert Pujols finished 0-for-4, including a fly out with two runners on in the top of the ninth.

GAME 5
Team 2 takes its first lead of the series with another win in which it pulls away late. Team 1’s superstar has a game that looks pretty good in the box score, but he again fails to deliver in the clutch.

2011 NBA Finals: The Mavericks went on a 10-1 run in the final five minutes and won 112-103. LeBron James finished with a triple-double, but scored only two points in the fourth quarter.

2011 World Series: The Rangers rallied to tie the game in the sixth and scored two runs in the eighth inning, holding on to win the game 4-2. Albert Pujols reached base three times but struck out with a runner on first base in the ninth inning.

WHAT'S NEXT?
The Mavericks went on to win the franchise’s first NBA title. If the World Series follows the same pattern, another Texas team will be lifting the championship trophy in St. Louis.