Monday, June 13, 2011
Dirk shines again in 4th, brings home title
By ESPN Stats & Information
For the first time in NBA history, the Larry O’Brien Trophy is headed to Dallas.
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat 105-95, becoming the fourth franchise in the past 20 postseasons to claim their first NBA title (2006 Heat, 1999 San Antonio Spurs and 1994 Houston Rockets).
They became the fifth team to win the NBA title as a No. 3 seed or lower since the current NBA playoff format began in 1984.
Jason Terry led the Mavericks with a game-high 27 points off the bench, scoring 19 in the first half.
Terry tied for the most points off the bench by a player in a series-clinching NBA Finals win since the NBA-ABA merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Manu Ginobili had 27 points when the Spurs beat the Cleveland Cavaliers (and LeBron James) in 2007.
Despite shooting 9-of-27 from the field in the series clincher, Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points including 10 in the fourth quarter.
Such efforts down the stretch, in addition to his overall performance for the series, earned Nowitzki the NBA Finals MVP. Nowitzki is just the fourth player born outside the U.S. to win the Finals MVP.
Nowitzki entered this postseason having scored 22,792 points in the regular season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the fourth-most by a player at the time of his first NBA title, trailing only Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, and West.
LeBron James led Miami with 21 points and Dwyane Wade added 17 points, but the two combined for 11 of the Heat's 17 turnovers.
For the series, James and Wade combined for 62 fourth-quarter points. Nowitzki, by himself, scored a total of 62 points in the fourth quarter of the series.
While James had a better showing in the fourth quarter in Game 6 than in previous games, his overall scoring was still well below his standards.
He finished with a 17.8 scoring average for the series, 8.9 points worse than what he averaged during the regular season (26.7).
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 8.9 points per game differential is the largest dropoff from the regular season to the NBA Finals in NBA history (among players who averaged at least 25 PPG during the regular season).
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle improves to 11-3 all-time in potential series-clinching games, the best record in such games in NBA history (min. 10 games).
Carlisle joins Pat Riley (1982 Lakers) as the only coaches in the last 30 seasons to win an NBA title in their Finals coaching debut with a team that had a worse regular season record than its opponent.
And at 38 years old Jason Kidd became the second-oldest player to start in and win the NBA Finals. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was older. He won in 1987 and 1988 with the Lakers at ages 39 and 40.
Kidd and Nowitzki become the fifth and sixth players in NBA history to win their first NBA title after already making 10 or more All-Star teams.
The others? Jerry West, Kevin Garnett, Oscar Robertson and Elvin Hayes.