I know it seems to be all over the place, but it really does seem to be a changing of the guard. Maybe it is just for one season. Time will tell, but the previously dominant teams seem to just be too old. They aren’t able to match up with the athletic ability of the younger, hungrier teams.
As I am living in Dallas, that makes me an automatic Dallas Mavericks fan. I would love to believe the Mavericks will be the 2011 NBA World Champions, but I’m a realist. I do think their recent play shows that they can get to the NBA Finals and be very competitive. This would be awesome! To accomplish this though they would still have to get past either the Memphis Grizzlies or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. Both match-ups really scare me though. Memphis has great post players that can really bully their way around the rim. That smells trouble for the Mavs because I see that area as one of their weaknesses. Then if we play the Thunder we will have to contend with the duo of Westbrook and Durant. They are a very lethal pair. I feel that the Thunder will outlast the Grizzlies though especially after that thrilling triple overtime game the other night.
The Mavs don’t really have any super stars. Dirk Nowitzki is our all-star and can take over games, but the rest of the team is pretty much just made up of very dependable players. They just do their job and they do it well. They also seem to not mind sharing the spot light with each other and take turns having great statistical nights. The Mavs remind me of the “old” teams though. They win with grit and experience instead of just their pure athletic talent. This is another reason I’m not sure if they can bring home the championship.
Out in the East you have the Miami Heat and their super star trio of LeBron James (which I hate), Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade (one of my favorite players). They will face off against the winner of the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls seemed to be early favorites with their league leading record and hot play of the league MVP, Derrick Rose. The Bulls – Hawks series is a tightly contested one. Either team could come out on top. I believe the Bulls will take it though. They just seem to be more energetic and hungrier. The Hawks have their moments but they don’t seem to be able to sustain it for as long as it would take. If the Bulls do move on, it will be an interesting series with the Heat. I can actually see this match-up going either way. In the end I believe the Bulls will pull it out, probably in 7 games. I’m not sure if my bias is skewing my perspective, but I don’t think it is. I think it will be one more year before the Heat are really ready to take the championship.
So although a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals would be interesting, I believe it will be the Mavs vs the Bulls in this years NBA Finals. The Bulls hold a better record so they would have home court advantage. The Mavs are one of the best road teams in the NBA though, so they could easily steal a game on the Bulls home court. I see this as a very competitive series but in the end believe the Mavs experience will help them bring home the trophy. They have adequate players at pretty much every position and anyone can go off during any game. It will be tough for the Bulls to match the depth that the Mavs have and I believe that will be their undoing. The Bulls are still young and have plenty of time to add pieces that will help them eventually bring back the Trophy to Chicago. Fortunately we won’t have to wait long to see if my predictions are right or if I’m just wishful thinking. Either way I believe there will be plenty of exciting games during the rest of the playoffs!