How the Dallas Mavericks Mounted the World and Became 2011 Champs

It’s over now, the journey that led the Mavericks through heartbreak and frustration and, finally, redemption. They won the title Sunday. They beat the Heat and bathed in champagne, 250 bottles worth apparently.

After 13 seasons, Dirk Nowitzki and Mark Cuban finally became champions. They made their mark. They partied with Lil Wayne.

Dallas was the unexpected contender. Few expected them to get out of the first round, much less win it all. They kept coming, though. Kept coming like a tidal wave, Hurricane Dirk crashing on the shores of Portland, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and Miami. Hurricanes Terry and Barea crashing intermittently behind. Rick Carlisle orchestrating the whole thing like Poseidon, a crafty, Grinch-looking sea wizard.

The Mavs were resolute. They didn’t complain when they lost, didn’t brag when they won. They were a team of destiny. They defied setbacks and challenges, including Dirk’s illness and the injury to Brendan Haywood. Like Khal Drogo they aimed to mount the world, and they did. Few of them did it beside a woman as hot as Daenerys, though. And by few I mean J.J. Barea. Lucky jerk.

Ultimately, the Mavs stunned LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and won their first title in franchise history.

How did they pull it off?  Here were three keys to Dallas’ 2011 Finals victory:

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Video: Miami Heat Pass Up Eight Open Shots on Horrible Game 6 Possession

LeBron James is receiving most of the blame for the Miami Heat losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. He should. The Mavericks played great defense on him and took away his best offensive weapon, but he also didn’t attack when he had the opportunity to do so. But it wasn’t just LeBron who passed up shots; late in Game 6, it felt like most of Miami’s players were afraid of taking shots, even if they were open. This video below stood out to me because the Heat pass up at least eight open looks before turning the ball over. This possession encapsulates all of Miami’s problems in the series.

When I watched that possession live, it stood out to me that LeBron didn’t even think to shoot despite having two great looks. After watching it again, I realized it wasn’t just him. While Jason Terry, Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson were taking shots fearlessly, the Miami Heat players seemed scared to shoot. There’s no better evidence of that truth than that video.

Dallas Mavericks Take Championship Trophy to Club LIV After Winning NBA Title

The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title, and what did they decide to do? They took the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to Club LIV at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach for a celebration Sunday evening.

Adrian Ruhi says that Mark Cuban rented out the club and pre-purchased 250 hundred of bottles of champagne prior to Game 6, and that he probably rented out the club for Sunday and Tuesday night in case the series went seven games. He also says Club LIV is one of the most expensive clubs in the world and that its customers are generally celebrities and tourists.

UPDATE: Were Miami Heat players at the club celebrating with the Mavs?

As for the environment inside the club, well, after you’ve won the title you’re allowed to play Queen’s “We are the champions” as the Mavericks did. Check out this video taken by Nigel D via Jose3030

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LeBron James and Dan Gilbert Reflect on Twitter After Miami Heat Lose NBA Finals

After LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat last summer, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert boldly stated his team would win a championship before LeBron. The prediction seemed asinine (and I still believe it is), but after the Heat lost the NBA Finals Gilbert was ready to kick dirt in LeBron’s face. Rather than get his comic sans font ready for fire, this time Gilbert sent off a tweet from his BlackBerry:

I’m guessing Gilbert isn’t genuinely happy for Dallas as much as he’s happy that Dallas kept LeBron from winning a title. Gilbert’s style isn’t to congratulate but rather to be spiteful. LeBron meanwhile reflected on twitter and was much more pensive than you might expect, alluding to a higher power.

“The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time,” James wrote.

For someone who’s made Karma references in the past, it’s not too surprising to see LeBron get spiritual to explain what happened. Dallas was the better team, and they employed a great defensive scheme to stop the Heat. Miami and LeBron will get their championships in time and James knows that. He’s taking a positive approach as he reflects on the failure of the season, and that’s not easy to do.

Dallas’ Defense Took Away LeBron James’ Biggest Weapon

LeBron James did not play well in the NBA Finals. He played well against the Sixers and had very good series against the Celtics and Bulls to reach the Finals, but he did not play well against the Mavericks. He averaged just 17.8 points per game in the series and only got to the line 20 times in six games. For perspective, LeBron has been to the line at least 20 times in a single game 13 times in his career.

While I defended him for making the most of what the defense gave him early in the series, he had plenty of chances to do more later in the series and he didn’t. He either missed jump shots or did not attack the basket late in games. He lacked aggression and he simply played poorly in the fourth quarter of games.

A lot of people call LeBron James a “choke artist,” but I think that is completely unfair. If LeBron were such a choker, then how did he beat Boston or Chicago? As I’ve said before, you have to win big games to get to big games, and LeBron did that, but he could have done much more. The question is, why didn’t he? I believe I can answer part of that.

When thinking of the best way to explain what went wrong with LeBron in this series, I wanted to relate things to sports fans the best way possible. There is only one analogy that stands out to me: the Mavericks were a bad match up for LeBron, just the same way the Jets were a bad match up for the Patriots.

Would you call Tom Brady a choker? Does he not perform in the clutch? How did his 14-2 team lose to an 11-5 team in the playoffs, while two teams the Pats beat in the regular season ended up in the Super Bowl? It’s all about match ups. The Jets have great defensive backs, pressured Brady, and forced him to take a few yards at a time. They didn’t allow him much and took away what he likes to do best. Does that mean Brady’s a bad player? Does that mean he didn’t deserve his MVP? No, it just means the Jets knew what to do to disrupt him, and most importantly, they had the personnel to execute it.

The same is true with the Mavericks.

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Jason Terry Justifies Larry O’Brien Trophy Tattoo with Great Close-Out Games

Before the NBA season began, Jason Terry got the Larry O’Brien Trophy tattooed on his biceps (pictured above) at a team get-together. The Larry O’Brien Trophy is awarded to the team that wins the NBA title each year, so it was a curious decision for permanent ink by Terry considering he had never won a title. Before the NBA Finals began, we said he would either appear foolish or clairvoyant for his tattoo decision. Terry even said he would get the tattoo removed if his team lost.

Now I guess we can call him a genius.

Between Terry’s permanent ink, Dallas blowing their 23-point lead to the Blazers in Game 4 yet bouncing back to win the series, and then sweeping the Lakers, it seems like the Mavericks were a team of destiny. They had the right combination of size, speed, shooting, defense, and coaching, and they proved they were the best team in the NBA this year. They also showed that they belonged as contenders and that they all shared dreams of winning the championship.

Terry, who was called out by Dirk Nowitzki for not playing well enough after the first two games of the NBA Finals, responded by saying LeBron James wouldn’t continue to get the best of him defensively. The Mavericks began running him off screens to give him improved looks, and he benefited from open looks off turnovers to start raining shots. Terry went 6-for-12 on threes in Game 5 and Game 6 combined, scored 48 points, and shot 67%. The Miami Heat may have shot well, but in order to beat the other team, you have to make more shots, and that would have meant shooting 70% to keep up with JET.

Getting the Larry O’Brien Trophy tattoo was as bold of a move as a player can make, and Terry backed it up. He didn’t coast behind Dirk Nowitzki nor did he let his teammates carry him. He earned the trophy by playing better than nearly anyone else in Dallas’ close-out wins.

J.J. Barea Wears the Puerto Rico Flag During NBA Finals Ceremony (Pictures)

There have been seven NBA players who were born in Puerto Rico, and none are more accomplished in the League than J.J. Barea. The diminutive Dallas point guard had 15 points in the team’s Game 6 close-out win, and the Mavs won all three games after he was inserted into the team’s starting lineup. During the championship trophy ceremony, he made his home country proud by adorning the Puerto Rico flag. Check out the pictures of J.J. Barea wearing the Puerto Rican flag:

Barea was a key factor in the Mavs winning the title and he did his country proud. As if his country didn’t already love him enough for this billboard, you know they’ll love him even more now that they’ve seen him represent the country’s flag on the biggest stage possible. He earned that title.