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: