Heat Vs. Mavericks, 2011 NBA Finals: Miami Seeks To Follows Lakers' Example

In the strictest sense, the 2011 NBA Finals, in which the Miami Heat trail the Dallas Mavericks 3-2, have been exactly like the 2010 NBA Finals.

In 2010, the team with home court advantage -- the Los Angeles Lakers -- split the first two games at home. The Lakers' opponent, the Boston Celtics, dropped Game 3 at home to concede a 2-1 deficit, then stormed back to win the next two at home and take a commanding 3-2. The series shifted back to L.A.

In 2011, the same sequence occurred: Miami split the first pair against Dallas, beat the Mavericks in Game 3 in Big D, and watch the Mavs go back-to-back for a 3-2. The series now moves to Miami with the Heat down two match points.

The Lakers were able to bounce back and win the Finals at home; L.A. blew Boston out in Game 6 and outlasted the C's in a tight, swampy Game 7. Miami hopes to do the same, though no game in this series has been particularly easy for either team. Each of the five games has been a down-to-the-wire affair; winning those consistently is a challenge. That's what has made Dallas so daunting this postseason: they have been doing it all spring long. Miami, too, won an inordinate number of close games in the earlier rounds. They need two more at home. Very recent history is on their side.

For more on the championship series, follow our 2011 NBA Finals hub. For more on the Heat, visit Peninsula Is Mightier. For more on the Mavericks, visit Mavs Moneyball and SB Nation Dallas.

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