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Posted By Sean Eckhardt On May 31 2011 @ 3:48 pm In Miami Heat | No Comments

When it comes to movies, it is always tough for a sequel to be as good as the original.  In sports however, a sequel is a rematch, and that is almost always a good thing.  Back in 2006, the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat met in the NBA Finals.  To many people, that meeting appeared to be a fluke.  It was, until now, the only Finals appearance for each team, and many experts simply look at the Heat’s win in that series as a combination of Dirk’s meltdown and Wade’s firestorm.  While those were certainly two compelling story lines, they were not the only ones.  Two cities, not just two teams, were forming a rivalry in 2006.  Dallas and Miami, two of America’s best looking cities, at least when it comes to women, were battling in front of the whole nation.  In Texas, people say do it big or go home.  In South Florida, you had better not say or think you are better than somebody else.  Thems fightin words, as a Texan might say.  Old school journalists want New York vs. LA.  Sorry, welcome to 2011 and Dallas vs. Miami.

There are only two players on each team that were on these two rosters back in 2006.  Dallas has Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, while Miami still has Udonis Haslem and Mark Cuban’s favorite foul shooter, Dwyane Wade.  Just like five years ago, those four players figure to play a big role in deciding which team comes out a champion this time around.  Of course, there are some other players on each side that will have a major impact on the outcome of the series.  The Heat definitely had the bigger name acquisitions during the offseason by adding LeBron and Chris Bosh, but the Mavericks picked up a huge piece, literally, when the acquired Tyson Chandler.  The center, originally drafted by the Bulls during their first attempted post-Jordan rebuild, has changed the entire demeanor of this Dallas team, especially on defense.  Even early in his career, Chandler was a force as a shot-blocker, but now he is much bigger and stronger.  He has the ability to completely dominate the paint.  Just ask the Lakers.  The other notable addition since 2006 is Jason Kidd, who now splits his point guard duties with JJ Barea.  Kidd, one of the all-time greats, has actually developed in to a lethal shooter when he plays that 2 guard spot, and Barea will pose his own set of problems for Miami with his quickness and constant motion.

So how does the sequel end?  Before the playoffs started, I picked these two teams to make to the Finals.  Great, hooray for a useless prediction.  I also picked the Mavs to win it all.  That pick certainly seems in the minority at this point.  The Heat appear to have repaired most of their flaws.  They are closing out on 3pt shooters much better than before and have stepped up the effort in terms of rebounding, especially since Haslem returned to the rotation.  LBJ has played at an elite level late in games, and for the moment, looks to be a changed man.  Chris Bosh has really started to attack the basket on a more consistent basis.  The national media is all aboard the Heat bandwagon and I would pick Miami against any other team without even thinking about it.  The problem is that, as good as they have looked, Dallas has looked even better, and the teams they had to go through have been better.  The Mavs have rolled through the Trail Blazers, Lakers and Thunder, while the Heat disposed of the Sixers, Celtics, and Bulls.  The biggest concern for Miami though, is Dirk.  The NBA has never had another player like him, and his resolve seems to have been made stronger by his failures in 2006.  My heart says that Wade and Co will win in 7.  My mind thinks it’s more like Dallas in 6.

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