2011 NBA FINALS GAME 6 -- Mavericks 105, Heat 95: My Top 10 Observer-ations
10. You knew it was going to be an intense game ... even before the game. During shootaround at American Airlines Arena this afternoon neither Dwyane Wade nor LeBron James would respond to Dirk Nowitzki calling their mocking video "childish" and "ignorant." Their response: "We have no comment." Before the tip-off, Dirk bumped fists with only Joel Anthony and Mario Chalmers, and they both came to him if you know what I mean. Asked Mavs' GM Donnie Nelson on Friday if he hated the Heat. "Let me," he said, "take the high road." Delicious.
9. Not a paid advertisement, just an FYI: Big group of Mavs' players -- including Nowitzki -- spent time after Game 5 getting adjusted by Highland Park chiropractor Dr. Mary Collings.
8. What a classy move by owner Mark Cuban. He allowed founding father Don Carter to first hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy. Very cool.
7. How could the Mavs lose a game with positive contributions from Brian Cardinal and ... Ian Mahinmi? The backup backup center's improbable offensive-rebound-and-jumper at the third quarter gave Dallas a nine-point cushion heading into the final 12 minutes.
6. Said hello to Cuban before the game. Since taking his vow of media silence mid-Portland series, he's been committed. Dude hasn't blogged since April 12 and tonight he only greeted me with a fist bump and a "Look how great that is!" while pointing to a pocket of Mavs fans.
5. Mavs this season beat every NBA team except the Bulls ... and Bucks. And that turned out to be a good thing. When Milwaukee beat the Mavs in Dallas in December it ended a long winning streak and, um, guaranteed a title?
4. The refs haven't been great in The Finals, especially in rewarding Wade's constant, ridiculous flopping for fouls. But they -- with the help of instant replay -- sorted out the second-quarter fight exactly right. After Eddie House hit a 3-pointer to cap a Heat 14-0 run Mavs' coach Rick Carlisle called a timeout. But Udonis Haslem raised a triumphant fist and headed not toward Miami's bench, but rather toward mid-court to purposefully cut in front of DeShawn Stevenson. Haslem was looking for trouble, and found it. They went nose-to-nose, no biggie. Double technicals. But the thing escalated when Mario Chalmers butted his chicken-shit nose in the mix by running up and shoving Stevenson in the back. He deserved a T as well, and got one. The result? Two T's on Miami and one on Dallas netted the Mavs a free throw. And since the skirmish occurred during a timeout, no player leaving the bench was subjected to a suspension. Liked it. Reminiscent of Lakers-Celtics of the '80s or Knicks-Heat of the '90s.
3. Dirk wasn't great, but he finally put the Heat away with a Flamingo Fadeaway and a lefty layup. How good is he? He joins this list with 10-plus All-Star appearances and at least one MVP and one title and one Finals MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Tim Duncan, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Moses Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O'Neal.
2. Jason Eugene Terry, take a bow. When Dirk struggled, you kept Dallas in the game and then pushed it ahead with 27 points. I've said it all year, when Terry is good the Mavs can be great. And when Terry is great, the Mavs can be, well, the best.
1. Sometimes this crazy, cruel world is fair and just. After blowing the NBA Finals on this very court five years ago, the Mavericks returned to face their demons. They took Wade's best shot, stifled LeBron and exorcised 31 years of "almost" and officially killed "soft." Never thought I'd be able to type this: Dallas Mavericks = NBA Champs!