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5 Things I Learnt from the NBA Finals 2012

So, the Heat ‘so-called dynasty team’ finally won their first NBA title behinid their big 3 of LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Whilst I personally dislike Miami, I felt there are some stuff that we can learn from their victorious exploits in this year’s Finals as they dismantled the Thunder in 5 games.

These are 5 things I learnt from the NBA Finals 2012:

1. You need to RALLY to win. The Heat trailed in three of their series during their Championship run before rallying to win them. As Mater would say “That’s a no-quit attitude right there!”

2. Road Wins are key to successful and deep playoff run. OKC’s home advantage was taken from them in Game 2 and they never recovered from there.

3. Strong bench support always helps. Last year, the Heat were over reliant on their Big 3. This year, I was surprised to see their bench stepping up to assist their team. Instead of watching the Thunder’s highly touted bench taking advantage here, we saw strong support from Miami’s bench with solid contributions from Chalmers, Battier, Miller, etc.

4. With Experience comes Maturity. Although many did not see it, I think the Finals really got on the nerves of the young Thunder side. Miami managed to learn from their failure last year and turned it into motivation. If OKC can pick up and learn as well as Miami did, we may possibly see a potential rivalry between these two young, athletic sides for the next couple of years…

5. East still sucks. Sadly, Miami would probably get many, many more chances to add on to their Championship in years to come because the competition in the Eastern Conference seriously sucks! With ageing Boston on its way down and Chicago over-reliant on Derrick Rose, no other team comes close to the level of the Heat. Compared to the West where the competition is always open, it looks like Miami is set to play whatever bruised and battered champ coming out from the West every year…

Still Savouring…

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Yeah, baby! WE DID IT!

3 weeks after the monumental NBA Championship victory, I am still savouring this…

Go Mavs! :-D

Remembering Victorious Vindications!

It has been 4 days and I am still basking in the celebrations of Dallas securing their first ever franchise NBA Championship. You would really need to follow the struggles of this franchise to truly feel and understand (a little) of what they are really feeling right now.

A bunch of battle-hardened, ageing veterans which had been collectively carried around the ‘no-hoper’, ‘choker’ tag for half a decade, had finally exorcised the ghosts of 2006 and are now Champions. I’m just tearfully happy for Dirk and Kidd who are both now officially OFF the ‘list of NBA’s best who have never won a Championship’. Everything still feels unreal at times, and I must admit I shivered in anxiety in the final 12 minutes of Game 6, listening to the play-by-play being streamed over online radio.

In remembering the incredible classic of a Finals that Dallas and Miami served up over six games, where both teams had a very even chance to win every single game going into the 4Q, here are the recaps:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYr-xMNTd-0

Game 1

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y_SHyVpS-k

Game 2

Game 3

Game 4

Game 5

Game 6

 

All Video Credits/Source

Simply MAV-ellous!

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Two of them were the only survivors of their last appearance on the grandest stage where they were a part of an embarrassing meltdown and lost. One of led his previous team to the biggest stage twice, and still lost. Two others came one step short of the NBA Finals. They also had a coach who took two different teams into the Finals, but still fell short. No one else on the current team had won it before.

Individually, they are talented and experienced, but have always come up short. Collectively, they have put together an incredible run this season, despite all criticisms, ending it with a sensational first-ever Championship.

Sounds like a fairytale Hollywood script? Not anymore. The Dallas Mavericks achieved just that a few hours ago when they beat the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 on their own floor to win the series 4-2. Ironically, it was the Heat who beat the Mavericks 4-2 in 2006, clinching win no. 4 on Dallas’ home court, the last time both of these teams landed in the NBA Finals. I guess I was right when I said it before Game 1 began…this is the NBA: Where Redemption Happens…

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This entire season was about resilience. And the Mavs sure had plenty of it, especially in the playoffs. When they were matched up against the Miami Heat in the Finals, they were clearly the underdogs. The Heat is a team that was customised to win it all this season. When LeBron James and Chris Bosh made that decision to join Dwayne Wade to pursue Championship rings, the world of basketball shivered with fear. Seriously.

Many were expecting the ageing legs of the veteran Dallas team would not be able to keep up with Miami, but boy did they do it. And then some. After dominating Game 1 in Miami, the Heat began to think this would actually be their season.The in Game 2, with 7 mins remaining in the 4Q, Miami took a 15 point lead, and things were looking gloomy for Dallas. Then Dirk happened. Leading the way, the Mavs furiously rallied to win 95-93 and the series was tied.

The classic went back to Dallas for Games 3-5 and Game 3 seemed to take off where Game 2 ended. Miami dominated again in 3Qs, but allowed Dallas to shine in the 4Q again, but this time the Mavs fell short as the Heat squeak out a 88-86 victory. Down 1-2, Dallas managed to manufacture yet another rally in the 4Q to win 86-83, capping one of the closest 3 consecutive games in the finals EVER. And to top it off, Dirk actually played with a high fever throughout the game. Series tied again 2-2

The it came down to Game 5, where stats showed how important this game was. The winning team in Game 5 had quite a good wining percentage to win it. Although LeBron scored a triple double, it was Nowitzki taking over in the fourth…again! Securing a 112-103 shootout, the Mavs were suddenly one game away from the Championship, but they still had to travel back to Miami to finish the job. Dallas leads 3-2.

Game 6 was such nailbiter everyone expected. Both teams held leads and lost them. Miami started to crack under pressure as they missed shot after shot, be it free throws or 3PT shooting. Although Dirk started poorly, it was the deep, deep Dallas bench that kept the game tight and close. The Mavs silently pulled away and eventually prevailed 105-95. Incredible stuff.

Dirk Nowitzki deservedly won the Finals MVP, remarkably so since he performed extraordinarily in all 4Qs, scoring an almost impossible 62 points only in all 4Qs for the all 6 games. I don’t think I have seen anyone scoring double digit 4Q points in all Final games. Hail Dirk…Mr Clutch, for finally winning it. Jason Kidd finally got one too. After coming up short with New Jersey, this 38-year old veteran wil become the oldest starting point guard to win a championship. As with Jason Terry, another veteran who was part of the disastrous Miami team in 2006, showed much heart in stepping up his game and carried the team in the decisive Game 6 for 3Qs before Dirk took over again.

At the end of it, I believe Dallas won it all simply because they had more hunger after their previous failures and also more experienced in handling the pressure of the Finals. Even before the Finals, Dallas has shown they had been resilient in beating the young and athletic Portland Trailblazers, ruthless in dismantling the Lakers and steady in overcoming the young Oklahoma City Thunder.

There were so many games throughout the Mavs’ playoff run that they rallied and rallied and eventually pulling out a victory. And if there was one turning point of Dallas’ championship run, I would pick Game 4 vs Portland where the Trailblazers overcame a 23-point 3Q deficit to beat the Mavs 84-82 to tie the series 2-2, sowing more doubts in the hearts of Dallas and accentuating their choker tag further. Not the Mavs of this season. They bounced back to win the next two games to beat Portland 4-2. The way the Mavs bounced back from that heartbreaking game 4 vs Portland gave me confidence that the Mavs were definitely for real this time round.

In my parting shot, all I wanna say to Dirk, Kidd, Terry, Marion, Chandler, Barea, coach Carlisle and the rest of the Mavs team – THANK YOU for an unforgettable and amazing season and congrats on winning that elusive NBA Championship. I’m just so happy for everyone on the Mavs roster who finally won a Championship ring. Your journey here has been nothing short of inspirational to me.

Here’s the mini movie of Game 6 that I will forever remember…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwZXZcyr460

Go Mavs!

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Where Redemption Happens…

In true fairytale fashion, the NBA Finals will pit two teams who last arrived in this same position 5 years ago, when they also met – who else, but each other. In 2006, Dallas took a 2-0 lead and was heading for victory in Game 3 when the epic collapse happened. Dirk and Co. never recovered and the Mavericks wilted in the next 4 games to give the Championship to Wade’s Heat.

Fast-forward to the present, Wade has recruited two other superstars in LeBron James and Chris Bosh to help them cement themselves as a legacy for years to come. Dallas only features two stalwarts from their 2006 ‘epic fail’ in Dirk and Jason Terry. Since then, they have built their team around a host of veterans in Kidd, Stojakovic and Marion who have all come close but have never won the coveted ring. They even brought onboard a coach in Rick Carlise who has also been to the Finals twice but again fell at the final hurdle.

In the Eastern conference Finals, the Heat’s big trio proved too much for league MVP Derrick Rose to handle, and proved too dominant in manhandling the Bulls 4-1. Bosh was the surprise star for at least two of the 5 games, and it remains to be seen if Chandler can handle his hot form in the Finals.

It was the familiar story in the West when Dallas once again relied to Dirk Nowitzki to carry them into the finals. After exploding for 48 points in Game 1 where he only took 15 shots and made 12 (talk about efficiency), Dirk continued to relish in the Mr Clutch tag by scoring in double digits in the 4Q of all 5 games! The series clincher perhaps was the “5 minute miracle” in Game 4 when Dallas rallied back from 15 points in the final 5 minutes to beat OKC and take a 3-1 lead back home.

Whilst Dallas has an impressive record against Miami overall, this matchup would simply be intense based on the fact that both teams are the hottest heading into the Finals. Both teams have posted a near-excellent 12-3 post season records and both teams have managed to transfer their league leading road form into the playoffs. With Games 1 & 2 to be played in Miami, Dallas would have to steal one of these to stand any chance. In the history of NBA Finals, the team hosting Games 3-5 have never held home court before, and with Miami’s impressive road form, the Mavs would more than likely to drop one here, which means they would have to clinch the Championship on Miami soil – either in Game 6 or 7.

I’m boldly predicting this one to be a classic. LeBron and Dirk would typically cancel each other out. So I figured the key to the series would be how deep the bench is if the series is going to be a long one. Kidd and Barea may own the matchup at point guard but it is in the positions of shooting guard that the Heat have Wade. Miami can clinch it with a short series, but Dallas will have a chance if they can wear down Miami’s all-star trio with their ever-reliable bench. With that, I see the Mavericks redeeming themselves from the ghosts of 2006 with a tense 4-3 victory. Game 1 starts TODAY (US time). Woo Hoo!

Playoff Prediction Record:

Playoff Prediction Stats for Conference Finals: 2/2 (100%); Dead-on: 1/2 (50%)

Overall: 11/14 (79%); Dead-on: 3/14 (21%)

 

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