The Dirk Grande Finale? Or A Super-Finish? (Finals Overview)
No Country For Old Champs
- The three teams which accounted for more than 75% of the titles won over the last decade (Spurs, Lakers, Celtics) were all gone before the Conference Finals. The Spurs were the only team that didn't get out of the first round, while the Celts and Lakers were exposed as too old and possibly in the case of the Lakers, not quite as intimidating as previously thought. Memphis more than made its case for a permanent seat at the table out West, while we're wondering if Westbrook and Durant are either The Next Great Thing together or if it's a "this team isn't big enough for the both of us" type of deal.
The Regular Season MVP Award Is Just That...A Regular Season Award.
- While this hasn't been a situation akin to 1995 where Olajuwon seemingly went out of his way to embarass, humiliate and eviscerate David Robinson...facts are facts. Derrick Rose got more out of his team than he was really meant to. Thibodeau to his credit, got more out of them than he was supposed to in his first year. But now it seems like against a Two Man Band from South Beach, they seem all kinds of out of sorts. They can't close games the way they did in the previous two rounds and Miami's closing out with frightening efficiency. If there's any disappointment on either Wade or LeBron for netting any legitimate MVP consideration, they seem to be taking it out on Chicago in this series. In any event, since I don't forsee a three game losing streak in Miami's immediate future, looks like D-Rose gets to join a very long list of MVPs that won't add NBA Champion to his resume in the same year.
The Rise of Dirkzilla
- Anyone who has read my stuff for a while, knows I haven't held Dirk Nowitzki in the highest regard. I believed that he wasn't a guy you could build a franchise around, definitely not a guy you could win a championship with. I reamed him when he won MVP in 2007 over Nash, even went as far as to say Nash was de facto MVP which was augmented by Dirk's egg that was laid against Nellie and his Warriors. (Ironic how the last two #1 seeds to lose in the first round are out of Texas.) I initially didn't have Dallas beating the Lake Show. But then Dirkzilla appeared, eviscerated the Lake Show's vaunted frontline and now he's making OKC look too young and too green to run with the former Western Conference Champions.
Dirkzilla is finally showing signs that he is without question, the toughest one on one matchup in the Association. Whenever he wants his shot, he'll get it. However he wants to do it, he'll get it done. He and Jason Terry are the only holdovers from 2006 & 2007 respectively. Which leads me to my final point...or more like equation so to speak...
Dirkzilla > South Beach Superfriends
- Yes, it's just that simple. The NBA Finals is not going to be the forgone conclusion that most believe with the Superfriends putting Dirkzilla down and claiming the first of their many titles. Oh no. Dirkzilla is far superior than Bosh Spice or any other big dummy that's sent his way to be cut down like a piece of grass. Marion should do a reasonably good job of running with LeBron and I'm just guessing that they'll throw a plethora of bodies at Wade. Okay, let me put it another way...
If any of the Big Two Plus An Occasional One are off, who's coming off the bench to lift them? Or even better still, who has in this postseason? Flip that around to Dallas and there's quite a few candidates. There's the aforementioned Jason Terry, best Sixth Man left in this postseason. There's Jose Juan Barea, or as I'm calling him, Homeless Man's Tony Parker mixed with Ginobili. Oh and y'all remember Peja Stojakovic? Sharpshooter that was a key cog in Sacto's runs 9, 10 years ago? He's coming off the bench now, just ask Los Angeles about him. And what's nuts is, there are probably a couple of names I'm forgetting. Dallas has a bench full of capable bodies, while Miami's got a bunch of dead weight that to this point, haven't been able to really be properly exposed as it were. Thanks due in part to all the heavy lifting that LeBron, Wade & Bosh have done.
In about two weeks, that ENDS. Dallas is the overall, complete unit that can and will expose the flaws in Miami's half-ass plan. "If it's so half-ass, how come they're 4 wins away from the Championship?" I'll tell ya how...
A) AAU Philly wasn't much of a threat.
B) (Probably biggest of them all...) Boston gave away its hold on the conference when it sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson away for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. And if anyone needs any more evidence of how important he was, just ask Boston's G-4 unit how their time off has been. When all were healthy in the postseason, they NEVER LOST A SERIES.
C) Chicago took over for Cleveland as the "not quite ready for prime time players". Which is a shame really, because I seriously thought they'd be the team to put Miami down. But once Miami locked in on Rose and forced others to do something, others did little to nothing. Or when they did, as Boozer and Deng have the last two games...they couldn't stop shooting themselves in the foot and costing themselves games late that they normally win going away.
Miami to this point, has gotten by on a young practice squad, a team that was exposed as being too old for the yard anymore and now the conference's "best" that came up lame when it needed to man up the most. Bosh is still at best, the most overpaid cat in the Association not named Joe Johnson aka Allan Houston 2.0 (yeah, I went there). As insanely talented as LeBron is, I respect him to the sum of ZERO for taking the easy way out. For all of the "mental notes" he has taken, guess what Bron Bron? You're coming up on a big seven footer that's about to have your boy Bosh for breakfast with a little Haslem Ham on the side. You're coming up on a big German who has suddenly developed a nasty streak that not even I, who has been a huge Dirk basher since 2006, could see coming. And what's more, his unit's more motivated by past failures than your crew is. Kidd's haunted by two failures in the Finals in 2002 and 2003 respectively, not to mention the subsequent meltdown in 2004 that cost them another trip back. Peja's exorcised his Laker demons, now seeks his first ring EVER. The Matrix looks to get a ring on his finger to make up for all the years in Phoenix in which he fell oh so short. Oh and the two most important Mavs of them all? The only two holdovers from their last trip here are just motivated by two simple numbers.
2006. 4 straight losses after having a 2-0 series lead.
Dirk is so focused, if he could've cut out on Doris Burke earlier than he did, I believe he would have. And ya know what? Len Cosell LOVES IT. Hence why Len Cosell has dubbed Nowitski, previously No-win-ski, Dirkzilla. Just like Godzilla, Dirk's taking no prisoners. And that's why in a postseason where very little has gone as Len's predicted, I'm placing it all on Blue. Mav Blue. Cubes over Riles. Carlisle over Spo. Dirkzilla & The Blue Wrecking Crew over The South Beach Superfriends. Come on, we gotta have the good guys win out in the end. Right? RIGHT?!
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