Who Ya Got? The World's Finals Predictions
Michael Dugat, DB.com -- I've ridden it this far. So, I'm going with the Dallas Mavericks in 6 . . . as I have in every series thus far.
It's clear the Heat have a significant advantage at SG and SF with Wade and James, but Dallas takes every other matchup on paper. At point guard, Jason Kidd is far superior to either Bibby or Chalmers. Bosh is a very good player, but he's not at the level Dirk. Chandler exceeds anything Miami can throw on the court at the center position, and, in truth, so does Haywood. There's little comparison in the benches, though if Haslem and Miller get things going, that could help lessen the gap between the two. Finally, Carlisle is a better coach than Spoelstra at this point in their careers.
Despite all of the "on paper" advantages above, Miami is a team to be respected. I don't believe Carlisle was wrong when he stated that they have two of the top five players in the game today, and James is playing as well as we've seen from him (which is saying a lot). While it sounds as though James may see some time defending Dirk, I tend to view this as positive for the Mavs. Dirk should still be able to find his shots, and James guarding Kidd could cause deeper problems for the Mavs, as others have struggled to feed Dirk at the proper moments.
The Dallas centers will need to be huge. If they are and Dirk can stay near the level we've seen in these playoffs, the Mavs are capable of closing this out. Mavericks in six.
David Lord, DB.com -- These Mavs been scary good in the playoffs, winning 10 of the last 11 and going 12-3 overall. There's been Dirk's consistent all-world play with plenty of firepower to complement him, and a defense that makes it a grind for the opponent. In crunch time their efficiency has been simply dominant on both ends of the floor. Combine that with their response to adversity in the playoffs (after losing the big lead to the Blazers in game 4, when facing the "formidable" Lakers, and after losing home court in game 2) and the glaring conclusion is that the bigger the test, the better they'll do. On the other hand, Miami has gone 12-3 also, with play by Lebron that's been almost as stellar as Dirk's. Concerned? Sure - but my thought is that this is just the kind of challenge to provide the Mavs with the desperation and focus that has given us one amazing display after another of fighting past adversity. I have no idea how they'll do it, but give me Mavericks in 5
Luke Kammrath, DB.com -- As every next game goes by these Mavs are proving that the demons have been exorcised and sent packing. Their camaraderie and chemistry has carried this group of veterans to a new high. Out of the ashes of disappointment something new has emerged--the sum is greater than the parts involved. And so even though the parts in Miami are better than the parts in Dallas, the Mavericks are a better team than the Heat and will prove it in the coming weeks. Mavericks in six.
Coach Fain, DB.com -- For the first time in these playoffs I am uncomfortable making a prediction; what I can say is this series goes at least six games. It is an interesting battle of two opposite styles of play, and therefore very difficult to know exactly how things will shake out. I look at whether or not Dirk is getting the same type of calls LeBron and D-Wade are, if those guys are called they same way I like our chances. I expect Terry to have a very good series or a very bad one, but not in the middle. Small, but effective, doses of JJB when Chalmers or Bibby is in the game could provide a spark. I think LeBron and Dirk largely cancel each other out; the question then becomes can our role players best Wade, Bosh, Miller, and Haslem? If the JET can come close to matching Wade then Mavs in six, if not then I fully expect the Heat to carry the series. I know it's a bit of a cop-out, but I can't help it this time.
BJ Stahl, DB.com -- [Bleep] logic, logic says the '10-'11 Mavs are dead and buried under the Rose Garden. In my opinion the Heat are not a team in the sense that the Mavericks are, and if stressed right the Heat will crack. LeBron James is a child sublimely convinced that there will always be time for him; Dirk got over that illusion a while ago. Dirk knows it's now or never. Mavericks in five.
Kevin Brolan, DB.com -- The Heat have Wade and James, who are All-World superstars, Bosh who is a very good player despite the massive amount of critics he has, and a stout help-defense. Still, the complete team basketball the Mavs are playing cannot be discounted. Despite their wealth of talent, I think the Heat's predictability on offense will be their downfall. I don't see Dirk, J-Kidd, and the Mavs vets letting this golden opportunity at a championship slip through their fingers. Mavericks in five.
David Teel, Game Havens -- I would play with the Mavs over the Heat in NBA 2K11, so I'm taking Mavs in 6 over the Heat. Sure…I WANT the Mavs to win, but the Mavs are gellin' right now – at the right time - at the end of the season. Remember how every columnist said we would lose to the Lakers? While everyone feels the Mavs are the smaller characters in a Marvel vs. Capcom battle (gotta stick with video games), the Heat are indeed human and imperfect and have to play against a system that has been working of late.
Matt Mosley, Fox Sports -- On paper, the Heat look like a matchup nightmare for the Mavs. But then, we thought that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook might overwhelm the Mavs' perimeter defenders. This will be a classic matchup of gifted individuals (The Heat) facing a Mavs roster that doesn't allow egos to get in the way . . . Miami was fortunate to face a Boston team that didn't have point guard Rajon Rondo at full strength. They got by a Chicago team that is still figuring out how to close games. The Mavs and Heat both have the ability to execute in the halfcourt game late in the fourth quarter. With apologies to Kobe Bryant, James and Nowitzki are the two best closers in the game right now . . . With the game on the line, I like the Mavs' chances of slowing down James more than I like Miami's ability to stop Nowitzki. And if Dallas' bench can outscore Miami's by an average margin of 20 points per game, I like its chances even more. Mavericks in seven.
Ken Berger, cbssports.com -- If basketball is still about matchups, the Mavs have the edge. If it's about star power, the Heat have outshined every opponent thus far and will do the same to the Mavs. The one thing we know for sure is, we will be entertained. Mavericks in seven.
Ben Golliver, cbssports.com -- While the Mavericks own positional advantage at three starting spots, and for the bench as a whole, they have no answer for James and Wade. This year, it's starting to feel like no one in the NBA has an answer for that duo. Prediction: Heat in six.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News -- No team has won as many as two games in a series against the Heat, and we don't see that changing, as James gets his first ring. Heat in five.
Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports -- Heat in six.
Kelly Dwyer, Ball Don't Lie -- Mavericks in six.
Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! Sports -- Mavericks in six.
Greg Anthony, Yahoo! Sports -- Heat in six.
Henry Abbott, ESPN -- Heat in six.
J.A. Adande, ESPN -- Mavericks in six.
Jon Barry, ESPN -- Mavericks in six.
Chris Broussard, ESPN -- Heat in six.
Jeff Caplan, ESPNDallas -- Mavericks in seven.
Chad Ford, ESPN -- Heat in six.
John Hollinger, ESPN -- Heat in six.
Tim Legler, ESPN -- Heat in seven.
Tim MacMahon, ESPNDallas -- Mavericks in seven.
Dr. Jack Ramsay, ESPN -- Heat in six.
Chris Sheridan, ESPN -- Mavericks in seven.
Marc Stein, ESPN -- Mavericks in six.
Charles Barkley, TNT -- Mavs. I think the Mavericks have a really good chance. I think they're gonna win this series. I like this Mavs team.
Michael Wilbon, ESPN -- Heat in seven.
Chuck Cooperstein, Mavs radio play-by-play voice -- Dallas in 7. Really, after seeing what's happened in the last six weeks, you could possible think anything else?
Mike Fisher, DB.com and Fox Sports -- While Dirk gets so many deserving headlines, everything Rick Carlisle had predicted would go a certain way if his team stuck with the plan has gone a certain way. Unselfishness and balance are the hallmarks of a Dallas offense that features more varied weaponry than Miami has had to deal before. If this is a series that is about being two deep, Miami wins. Carlisle insists its about being five, seven, nine deep. He hasn't been wrong yet. Mavs in seven.