After a decent sized break and a large amount of hype, the 2011 NBA Finals are set to tip off between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. You can catch Game 1 of the series at 9 pm ET on ABC, live from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. We'll have live coverage and analysis of the game right here in this StoryStream. Obviously, we have some great coverage of the Finals across SB Nation's 300-plus blogs, with plenty of stuff for Mavericks and Heat fans alike.
Over at SB Nation Dallas, they're pretty optimistic about the Mavericks' chances to beat the favored Heat. Despite the prowess of the 'Big Three,' the Mavericks have Dirk Nowitzki and some solid depth.
There is something very special about this Mavericks squad. Unlike the predestined path the trio of the Heat decided to embark on, the Mavericks decided to let destiny take its course. And it has in ways they could not have imagined. This was not supposed to happen. But is has and with it went all the stereotypes. Soft, chokers, playoff failures. All gone. Spearheaded by the remarkable play of Dirk Nowitzki and the impervious Jason Kidd, the Mavericks have earned their shot at redemption.
They go on to predict that the Mavericks will win in six games, a rather bold statement.
Over at Mavs Moneyball, they see J.J. Berea as a possible key player for the Mavs. All of the focus is on Dirk at the moment, which could open up some opportunities for a player like Barea, who is good at both driving to the bucket and making outside shots.
Dirk will draw doubles and will drive and kick, but the other key player will be JJ Barea. He's had a great postseason so far, and though he's been criticized for calling his own number a little too often, many people don't realize he's a key factor to getting the open looks from deep. Despite his faults, JJ penetrates, and does so frequently and relentlessly. He's a exceptional finisher inside for his size, but once the defense collapses a little bit too much, or the lane clogs with help defense, he knows how to find the open man.
The folks over at Peninsula Is Mightier are certainly aware of the seemingly worldwide backlash against their team and the number of people who will be rooting against their team in the Finals. To that they say, simply: Haters gonna hate.
There are going to be a lot people out there rooting for the Mavs during the finals, and speaking out for Miami fans everywhere all I can say is ‘WHO CARES'?! We've been taking crap from haters all season and now well into the playoffs, and it hasn't slowed up the Heat or their followers, bandwagon or not. Now every spotlight will be focused squarely on Dwyane Wade, LeBron and the rest, and as we've seen throughout the postseason, that seems to be when they shine their brightest.
Sometimes, I feel like the only person on the planet simply hoping for quality play and no injuries. Once again, tip-off is just after 9 pm ET.