By Will Robinson


The 2011 NBA Finals are kicking off tonight with the Dallas Mavericks tipping off in Miami against the Heat. Even though barely any players from the 2006 Finals remain, this will be considered a rematch of the controversial series. Here is a position by position breakdown for the starters, as well as looking at the bench as a whole, along with my final prediction of how the series will turn out.

Point Guard

Jason Kidd vs. Mike Bibby

Up until two months ago, this would have been a draw, but a reinvigorated Kidd has played very well in the playoffs. Kidd is playing the Dallas point perfectly. He knows he must defect to Dirk Nowitzki and he knows where to find his teammates in their prime spots. Even though I have mad love for Bibbs, he is a shell of his former self. I cannot stand watching him play; he’s horrendous. And Mario Chalmers off the Heat bench is not much of an improvement, and they split point guard minutes evenly (22.5 mpg for Chalmers; 21.9 for Bibby in the postseason).

Advantage: Dallas

Shooting Guard

DeShawn Stevenson/Jason Terry vs. Dwyane Wade

Not very close with Stevenson. Wade is a top three player in the NBA, even though he may be banged up. Stevenson does not play starter’s minutes – those are reserved for Jason Terry. Terry pulls this matchup way closer with his shooting off the bench and 35+ mpg in the playoffs. Terry is a better pure shooter, but Wade is so good at getting to the basket and dishing out if need be. Wade wins this one.

Advantage: Miami

Small Forward

Shawn Marion vs. LeBron James

Just like the two guard, Miami takes this one without a sweat. LeBron is the best player in the series for the first 44 minutes (look how he defected in crunch time) and is miles ahead of Shawn Marion at his point in his career. With that being said, the Marion-Kidd tandem worked wonders double teaming Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Finals, as Durant was completely dominated. Marion will have to play well on LeBron – not that he could stop him, but he needs to go all out like he did last round. Marion should not give LeBron many problems while James guards him.

Advantage: Miami

Power Forward

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Chris Bosh

Nowitzki has played like a man possessed this postseason, particularly when the Mavs needed him most. Dallas rode Dirk’s hot hand to a comeback in the deciding game in the WCF, as well as a sublime Game 1. Bosh has quietly been good in spurts for Miami, but he has never been on a stage like this before. He was nervous for Game 3 in the second round: how will he do when he goes to Dallas for Game 3? I think Dirk will abuse the Bosh matchup on offense, but Bosh could put up some nice stats. Nowitzki is no Tim Duncan when it comes to his defense, so this is a pivotal matchup for Miami to work.

Advantage: Dallas


Tyson Chandler vs. Joel Anthony

Chandler’s tough interior presence and effectiveness transformed the Dallas team who used to boast Erick Dampier or Brendan Haywood as the starting five into a team to be reckoned with. Joel Anthony, though he was the butt of many jokes when the season started, has played great defense in the playoffs. His offense isn’t terrible, but they don’t rely on him to put up double digits per game. Anthony could be placed on Dirk to try and slow him down, and if Bosh is in the game when this happens, it would be a great mismatch for Chandler.

Advantage: Dallas

Bench (top three players)

J.J. Barea, Jason Terry (also counted as a starter), Peja Stojakovic, Brendan Haywood vs. Udonis Haslem, James Jones, Mike Miller

Barea’s destruction of the Lakers in Round 2 was insane; they had NO answer for him. His ability to work off Dirk’s screens at the end of games is ridiculously effective, and that’s the reason he is seen during crunch time. Terry, as I touched on earlier, plays starters’ minutes and can get hot from outside. If that happens, that’s a great asset for Dallas’ offense. Peja can still hit the threes that made him famous in Sacramento, and he’s shooting a solid 39% in the playoffs. Haywood is eh. On the other side, Haslem, who had missed most of the year, played very strong in the Eastern Conference Finals. Miami’s chief weakness was the lack of solid bigs, but with Haslem back and Anthony playing good defense, Haslem is valuable off the bench. Jones is a good spot up shooter: find him in his spot, and he’ll knock them down. Miller, who was injured for about half the year, struggled. A lot. He was great in Game 4 against Chicago, scoring 12 points in 26 minutes off the bench. He still needs to show that he can stay consistent and be a valuable swingman off the bench.

Advantage: Dallas


I think this will be a close series. There has been talk that the series represents what is good in sports (Dallas’ team work) against the bad (Miami’s teaming up stars and this). Miami has come on strong as a team, but I’m still pissed the way they teamed up. Come on. Anyways, with all that being said, I think this will be a good series. It will depend on who can perform well within their matchups and do more than expected. With all of that being said, I like the Dallas Mavericks to win this on Miami’s home court in six games. I think there will be a lot of back and forth between the teams and coaches, stars will rise one game then fall, trading wins. Dirk is extremely motivated to win a Larry O’Brien trophy, I think he continues to play otherworldly. Plus, as I mentioned, I’m still mad about the Heat. Go Mavs!


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