Five other observations and predictions for the NBA Finals…
1. A key factor in this series is how much DeShawn Stevenson, the Mavericks starter who usually barely plays 15 minutes a game, can slow down Dwyane Wade or LeBron James if given the chance. Most people are assuming he will cover Wade considering the job he did on him during the regular season (2 points in 30 minutes) but if LeBron starts going off, will they slide Stevenson over? Don’t forget the old Stevenson/LeBron beef from the 2008 playoffs, when Stevenson was on Washington and LeBron was on Cleveland which was big enough to pull in both Jay-Z and Soulja Boy.
2. How much longer can the unexpected renaissance of Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion last? Dallas is going to need Kidd to continue to spread the floor with his three point shooting and outplay the Mario Chalmers/Mike Bibby combination the way he should. Marion will be part of the committee thrown at slowing down LeBron and needs to continue with his surprising offensive contributions to compliment Dirk.
3. Will Dirk Nowitzki still have what Udonis Haslem did to him in 2006 floating around in his head? Yes, the supporting cast is obviously important but the only way Dallas is beating Miami’s big three is if Dirk remains on the level he has been this entire post-season. He needs to play like an all-time great to pull off this upset, especially with the tear LeBron has been on.
4. Even if the previous comments may not indicate it, I do think Dallas will sneak this series out in seven. They have that “team of destiny” feel and I think they will get revenge for what happened in the 2006 Finals. Dirk will remain at the level he has been this post-season and I think the supporting cast will hit enough big shots. Beyond Dirk, Dallas is a collection of former all-stars (Kidd, Marion, and Peja Stojakovic) with one final shot at a ring and I think they will answer the call in a big spot. Miami is going to get their titles eventually, I just don’t think it will happen in year one.
5. It is too bad this series won’t be on TNT. You can’t beat that studio show.