After a four-day NBA playoff lull, the 2011 NBA Finals are finally here. Dallas Mavericks vs. Miami Heat v.2 appears to be one of the most compelling Finals matchups in recent memory. The contrast is striking. The Heat were forged just last summer, while the Mavs have chipped away at their roster for most of the past decade. The Heat see this Finals as the first of many presumed trophies, while the Mavs are a collection of older players looking for that one title. The Heat rely almost exclusively on three stars, while the Mavs surround their one star with a cast of role players and rely on different heroes each night.
These Finals will either be Day 1 of what could be a protracted Heat dynasty and evidence of Lebron James' greatness, or it will be a testimonial to Dirk Nowitzki's stellar career and a vindication of Mark Cuban's vision. Answers will begin to come with Game 1. For his part, Nowitzki doesn't view this series as potential vindication for 2006. Udonis Haslem does think, however, that the 2006 experience helped develop Dirk into the player he is now. While these teams appear to be close on paper, the Heat do enjoy a slight statistical advantage.
Game 1 of the NBA Finals tips Tuesday night in Miami at 8 p.m. CDT on ABC. Local radio is ESPN 103.3.