Art Community Politics Music Sports Style



 >> GeoNews

 Featured Program

geoclan radio

 Words to live by

You've got to stop dividing yourselves. You got to organize.

-H. Rap Brown 1943

   GeoClan on Flickr

Home Links About us Contact us
Today is:
2006 NBA Finals Preview: Miami vs. Dallas
By Clayton Ruley

The NBA Finals are here and we have two teams that are making their first apperance ever in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams feature exceptional players in Miami's Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal and Dallas's Dirk Nowitzki. Both have exceptional bench players and both feature coaches in Miami's Pat Riley and Dallas's first full year coach Avery Johnson that stress defense and promoting offensive strengths.

Neither team was favorite to make it this far but defeated last year's conference champions to get to the finals, Miami defeated Eastern champion Detroit in 6 games in the conference championship round and Dallas beat Western champ San Antonio in the conference semi-finals before beating the Phoenix Suns in the conference championship round.

For Miami, Shaquille is going for his fourth title in 6 appearances while players like Jason Williams, Dwyane Wade and veterans Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning and James Posey will go for their first.

For Dallas they have no one who has one a title (save head coach Avery Johnson) or have been to the finals so this will be a new experience.

This is a series that has the potential to go seven and could be the most entertaining in a long while. It's really hard to predict who will win because both teams can play full and half court and have some special mismatches for each other so it will be about bench play and strategy. If it's more up and down the court that favors Dallas. The more half court the more I would lean toward Miami because of O'Neal.

As always tempo will dictate the game. Let's break down the advantages at starting five, bench and coaching and then I'll give my prediction


Starting Five: Miami vs. Dallas

Miami keeps the same lineup generally of Shaq at center, Udonis Haslem and Antoine Walker at the 4 and 3 positions and Dwyane Wade and Jason Williams at the 2 and 1 positions. This team likes to get the ball into Shaq early force the double team and allow for penetration from their guards. Not a great outside shoting team they have veterans that can and are used to making the big shots. Percentage wise though they can be reckless and with turnovers they can be careless at times.
Jason Williams need to play with a control this series because missed shots and turnovers means quick breaks for the opposition and Dallas can kill you playing that type of game.

Dallas fluctuates more with the mainstays being Nowitzki at the 4 position and Josh Howard at the 2/3 and Jason Terry at the 1 or point guard position. They usually start either Jerry Stackhouse, Devin Harris, Desagina Diop or Keith Van Horn at the other positions depending on the opponent. Expect Diop to start this series because he will guard Shaq and I expect Van Horn to start to keep Stackhouse points off the bench as a change in pace from time to time. In Nowitzki they have the best bigman shooter in the league and he's also been very aggressive in taking it to the hoop. Terry is tweener guard who can score and this team can hit the outside shot. Defense is new th the Mavs though and they can depend on their scoring too much at times.

Advantage: Miami (slightly)

The Bench: Miami vs. Dallas

The bench for Miami features Gary Payton, who gets a majority of fourth quarter minutes, Alonzo Mourning, the former All-Star center playing at a high level and Antoine Walker, the 6-9 forward who looks to score versus the other team second teamers because he's a former All-Star. These will likely be Riley's main substitutions and have contributed the most in the Heat's playoff run. If it goes farther they do have Derek Anderson, Michael Doleac and Shandon Anderson but that would mean foul trouble for the Heat which isn't good.

Dallas has a lot more flexibility but less experience in their bench. Jerry Stackhouse leads the way and is joined by Keith Van Horn and Erick Dampier. Expect Dampier to get major minutes if Shaq shows up and Van Horn will be used at best to stretch the floor with his three point shooting ability. They also have guards like Marquis Daniels and defensive stalwart Adrian Griffin who can try and partially contain Wade. Since the game plan for San Antonio all the time they have the bodies and fouls to play half court with any team and that will be a key versus Miami. If they wanna go uptempo they usually move Nowitzki at center and the rest of the players fit in well. This team can play big and small at all positions.

Advantage:Dallas (big time)

Coaching: Miami vs. Dallas

Miami has a legendary coach in Pat Riley, who won four titles with the Los Angeles Lakers showtime era and this will be his third team he has taken to the finals joining the Lakers and the New York Knicks. A notorious hard practice guy who stresses fluidity, Riley also allow players to play towards their games and not a strict gameplan which has people performing tasks they are ill-equipped to perform. He can do it all from the X's and O's to being a great motivator.

Dallas has Avery Johnson, in his first full season as head coach after being an assistant under legend Don Nelson. Johnson was the point guard for the 1999 NBA Champion Spurs team and is one of the games brightest minds. He won the 2005-06 coach of the year award and has brought defense to Dallas after years of piss poor play! Like Riley he's a great motivator and has the X's and O's down especially given his assistant coaches like Del Harris and Rolando Blackman's input.

Advantage: Miami

My prediction:

Dallas in seven games. It's hard to go against Shaq but I believe that the Dallas bench and their belief in Avery Johnson's system will provide for at least one win in Miami and force Miami to go deeper on the bench than they are used to. Nowitzki has no match on Miami and is my odds on favorite to win Finals MVP. Miami has an unstoppable in Wade and veteran experience in Shaq, Payton, Mourning and Walker but I'm concerned with their age and tendancy to turnover the ball. Miami will have to slow down the Dallas offense and force them to a consistent half court game to win. It can be done but I don't see it. It will be interesting to see how the referees call the game because that could dicate the flow of the game. Ticky-tack fouls benefit Miami. I think Dallas can offset Shaq and Wade's scoring barrage and provide enough mismatches on offense to get Posey, Haslem and Walker, in particular, in foul trouble.



Who's your favorite to win the NBA Finals? Let's Discuss it on the GeoBoards!











Website pages content copyright - 2003-2009 GeoClan.