NBA Finals exceeding expectations

It’s been 11 months since LeBron James’ famed “decision”.  At the time of it, the Miami Heat were instantly locked in as NBA title favorites.  However, a month into the season, they looked out of sync managing to be only two games over .500.

But did anyone really think the 3-headed monster of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh would be mediocre the whole season?  The NBA is a prime example of where talent almost always wins out.  So in the end, it’s not a surprise at all the Heat are in the finals.

The Dallas Mavericks are just as deserving of their spot in the title fight as Miami.  Dirk Nowitzki will always generate points in multiple ways.  He may be the purest scorer we have in the NBA.  But it’s defensive minded players like Tyson Chandler and Shawn Marion who have really given the Mavericks a lift late in the season and into the postseason.

There is no question Nowitzki has carried this team in the playoffs.  He’s actually carried the whole organization the past decade.  Even with exceptional performances by J.J. Barea and Jason Terry against the Lakers, the mainstay has always been Dirk.

 What makes this series so intriguing is we undoubtably have the two best teams in the NBA.  Dallas emphatically knocked off the two-time defending champs in L.A. by sweeping them.  The Heat ran through perennial Eastern Conference Champion Boston and literally shutdown MVP Derrick Rose of the Bulls.

It’s not a shock that LeBron James is stealing headlines in this series.  It’s just how he’s doing it.  Most of the vibe is that James has taken his foot off the pedal in the fourth quarter of the finals.  Ok, I guess I buy that seeing he’s only scored a combined 9 points in those quarters.  His defense, which is top-notch in this league, even failed him in game four.  ESPN’s Rick Bucher went so far as to call him a “glue guy”.

People, relax.  Not only is the criticism unwarranted, it’s downright laughable.  There’s a reason James hasn’t had the ball in critical stretches for the Heat.  Dwyane Wade.  There is not one player on Dallas that can match up with him.  Jason Kidd is 38, and Jason Terry has never been known as a defender.  On top of that, Shawn Marion, the man in charge of containing James is an excellent on-ball defender.  LeBron has yet to score more than 25 points against Dallas this season.

This series has had every bit of entertainment.  It feels like the Heat have been “freely dunking” on the Dallas.  We’ve already had a comeback for the ages in game two.  Nowitzski willed his team to a game 4 victory despite a body temperature of 101.  How about three straight games decided by three points or less?  A feat which hasn’t happened in the NBA finals since 1948.

This is the first NBA finals in a long time I have sat down and watched every single game wire to wire.  If things keep to form, something tells me this trend will continue.

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