Dallas Mavericks offer important teamwork lesson in winning first NBA title
The Dallas Mavericks got 43 points from their bench Sunday night in defeating the Miami Heat, 105-95, to win their first NBA title.
The Dallas Mavericks, having been constantly reminded of their 2006 NBA Finals loss to the Miami Heat, were finally able to put that unpleasant history to rest by defeating Miami Sunday night, 105-95, and winning the 2011 Finals - the team's first title - four games to two.Skip to next paragraph
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After the final buzzer, in a post-game interview, Mavericks guard Jason Terry, who was part of that 2006 runner-up team, asserted “Tonight, we got vindication.” He then added that both he and teammate Dirk Nowitzki went to sleep every night thinking about five years ago, but the fact that this year's Mavericks team had a number of powerful, individual stories made it possible for Dallas to persevere and win as a team.
In the first half of Game 6, Dallas’s anchor Nowitzki was essentially a non-factor. In the first 24 minutes, he was 1-for-12 from the floor - one of his few points of the half being a foul shot which resulted from mutual team technical fouls, following a bench-clearing scuffle. But in the second half, he started to make significant adjustments, scoring 10 fourth-quarter points for a total of 21, to complement his 11 rebounds.
But as cold as Nowitzki was in the first half, his teammate Terry was scalding hot. He led all scorers by hitting 11 for 16 from the floor for 27 points. And guard J.J. Barea came in off the bench to add 15 points, while absolutely shredding Miami's defense in the paint in the process. Asked about his own performance, Nowitzki took responsibility, and credited his teammates for helping him, saying “they picked me up and carried me.”
Though Dallas, like Miami, had a mediocre night from the free throw line, what helped them was their clutch three-point shooting. Miami, having erased a 12-point Mavericks lead in the first half, were on a big run of their own.
But timely 3-pointers from DeShawn Stevenson and Terry helped keep the Mavericks close through Nowitzki’s shooting drought. In fact, the team as a whole went 11-26 from beyond the 3-point arc, which was only 4 points below Miami’s field goal percentage. And once again, forward Shawn Marion and center Tyson Chandler were Herculean in their efforts inside to keep Miami out of the paint. Chandler actually played much of the fourth quarter with five personal fouls, but seemed to ignore it completely as Miami repeatedly charged the rim in the waning minutes.