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NBA Finals: Road To The Finals

As game one of the NBA finals approaches here's a look at the path each team took to get here.

The Miami Heat had the big acquisitions of Lebron James and Chris Bosh while the Mavericks acquired Tyson Chandler in the off-season. James and Bosh struggled to mesh in their new roles out of the gate going 9-8 until a late November loss to the Dallas Mavericks forced a players only meeting. The Mavericks got off to a scorching start at 22-6 before faltering with the losses of Dirk Nowitzki for nine games and Caron Butler for the season. The Mavericks struggled down the stretch against Western Conference playoff teams before winning their final game against the New Orleans Hornets. The Heat finished the season on a 10-2 run and have continued their torrid play in the playoffs.

In the playoffs, the Heat have rolled in their series' winning each round in five games. The Mavericks started off well before a devastating loss to the Portland Trailblazers that saw them squander away a 23 point lead. They responded well, winning the next two games and closing the Blazers in six and followed that with a sweep against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and a toughly contested five game series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Neither team has faced an opponent quite like this thus far in the playoffs. The Mavericks are by far the best offensive team the Heat have faced and the Heat are the best defensive team the Mavericks have faced.

Should make for a fascinating series.

Video of each team's road to the finals after the jump.

Dallas Mavericks: Road to the 2011 NBA Finals (via NBA)

Miami Heat: Road to the 2011 NBA Finals (via NBA)

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.