‘The Good Guys Won’ The Dallas Mavericks are the 2011 NBA Champions
We are nearly a year removed from the decision, and the Miami Heat have as many rings as they did last summer. As easy as it would be to pick at all the flaws in Miami's game, Dallas was just the better TEAM. I was one of those people who believed 3 superstars and 'C' players would defeat 1 superstar and 'B' players.
People will say they don't like the Heat because of 'the decision' and the coronation at the American Airlines Arena. The real reason people don't like the Heat is because they circumvented the system to win the NBA championship. Yes, the judgment was flawed and they tried to cut corners to win a championship, but they still wanted the same goal as every other team. That is why I gave the Heat the benefit of the doubt during the season. Lebron couldn't do it in Cleveland, Wade couldn't do it in Miami, and Toronto is not the kind of franchise equipped for long term playoff success.
On the other hand, Dallas took the 'old school' approach to winning the NBA title. They surrounded their superstar with solid role players and bought into the team concept. As Dirk said in the press conference, Rick Carlisle kept many of the defensive principles that Avery Johnson instilled but opened up the offense.
Mark Cuban's abrasive behavior in the past hasn't exactly endeared him to fans, but something was different this year. Rather than criticize officials and belittle cities he decided to take a step back. Maybe he knew this team was special, and he didn't want to do anything to compromise their success in the playoffs. When the Mavs were finally able to celebrate, Cuban did one of the classier things I've seen in a while. Cuban allowed Mavs founder Donald Carter and his wife Linda to accept the Larry O'Brien trophy from David Stern.
Dirk Nowitzki was already set to go down as an all time great, but there is something about a championship that cements a legacy. Unless you are a college football team, it is something that can not be taken away. In ten years few will remember Dirk's poor shooting night in game 6 or the '07 collapse against the Warriors, but we will all remember Dallas's win over the alpha version of 'the big three.'