Sunday, June 04, 2006

Dallas vs. Miami: Storylines of the NBA Finals

Saturday night, the Dallas Mavericks triumphed 102-93 in Phoenix to eliminate the Suns. They will join the Miami Heat in a very intriguing championship series beginning on Thursday. The following analysis dissects the series’ major storylines and reveals which team has the edge in each area.

First-Timers: For the first time since 1971, the NBA Finals match two franchises who have never previously been finalists. To hype the series, Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki will pose like Steve Carell for a poster labeled “The Finals Virgins.” The series MVP will go on to have sex with Catherine Keener. Neither franchise is 40, but Dallas has been waiting longer for this special moment. Advantage: Dallas

The Supreme Court: Dallas assistant Rolando Blackman was a four-time All-Star as a Maverick player. However, he was not the force that Dwyane Wade is for the Heat. So there’s no question who wins “Ro vs. Wade.” Advantage: Miami

American Airlines: The Heat plays in American Airlines Arena, while Dallas calls the American Airlines Center home. The Mavericks’ best player is from Germany, so they get the edge in frequent flyer miles. Advantage: Dallas

Cubans: Miami has a huge Cuban population. But none are worth billions, like Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Advantage: Dallas

Anti-France Movement: Dallas has incurred the wrath of France by eliminating Tony Parker, then Boris Diaw. Miami has wisely kept Frenchmen off of its roster. Advantage: Miami

Nicknames: By definition, Heat is a stifling force. Maverick scores points for nailing Kelly McGillis, but his preferred wing man is Goose, not Jason Terry. Advantage: Miami

Wanna Hear Some Impressions?: Shaquille O’Neal and Dallas coach Avery Johnson will inspire countless half-assed celebrity impersonations from the media. Johnson hasn’t been mimicked quite as much as Shaq, so “the Avery” might be more entertaining. Advantage: Dallas

80s TV Shows: Miami Vice was more trendy, but Dallas delivered huge numbers with “Who Shot J.R.?” Southfork wins over South Beach. Advantage: Dallas

College Bowl Games: For a long time, the Cotton Bowl was on par with the Orange Bowl. But the annual game in Dallas has slipped since the demise of the Southwest Conference, named for the airline. Advantage: Miami

Florida vs. Texas: The states have met in the Finals once before. In 1995, Shaquille O’Neal’s Orlando Magic got swept by the Houston Rockets. Do not be surprised if Dallas activates Hakeem Olajuwon. Advantage: Dallas

Second-Best: This spring has been brutal for #1 seeds. None made the Final Four, the Red Wings and Senators fell before the conference finals, and the Pistons and Spurs are sitting at home. Thus, Miami and Dallas were wise in having the second-best record in their respective conferences. Give the Heat an edge for having the second-best record of the two. Advantage: Miami

Super Bowl VI Revenge: The Cowboys thumped the Dolphins 24-3 in Super Bowl VI. Roger Staubach, the Heat is coming for you! Advantage: Miami

Glory Road: In the film, coming out on DVD this week, Pat Riley loses in the finals to a team from Texas. Unfortunately for the Miami coach, this series is also being produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Advantage: Dallas

Walkers: Filmed in Dallas, Walker, Texas Ranger has been off the air since 2001. But Antoine Walker is still draining threes for the Heat. Advantage: Miami

T-Mobile Ads: The Heat have eliminated Vince Carter and Ben Wallace, who both appear in T-Mobile commercials. To avoid such bad luck, Dallas has chosen not to activate me - the happy dad eating a Cobb salad in a new T-Mobile spot. That’s really the only reason I’m not suiting up for the Dallas Mavericks. Advantage: Dallas

Tallying up the results, it’s Dallas 8, Miami 7. So the Mavericks will win a tight series, which goes the full 15 games.