After spending the holiday weekend practicing and preparing, the Miami Heat will embark on the final steps of their season-long journey towards an NBA Championship tonight when they host the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Finals. Both teams have been off for almost a week after winning their respective Conference Finals' 4 games to 1. Now we get a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, though beyond a few players (Wade and Haslem for the Heat & Dirk and Terry for the Mavs) both teams are completely different.
One thing that the stars of both teams had in common during Monday's media day was how loose and relaxed they seemed. I found that pretty interesting because its obvious that both teams have a good amount of pressure on them, whether they want to acknowledge it or not. If Miami doesn't win, they will get pounded by all the haters and naysayers on how and why they failed.
As for Dallas, they have a different kind of pressure on them. At least the Heat will feel as though they will be back pretty frequently. The Mavericks don't have that kind of confidence and after losing to Miami in their first trip to the Finals, they definitely don't want to go 0-for-2. Also, Dirk Nowitzki is hungry to finally win a title, and his legacy will look amazingly different with an NBA championship under his belt.
There are going to be a lot people out there rooting for the Mavs during the finals, and speaking out for Miami fans everywhere all I can say is ‘WHO CARES'?! We've been taking crap from haters all season and now well into the playoffs, and it hasn't slowed up the Heat or their followers, bandwagon or not. Now every spotlight will be focused squarely on Dwyane Wade, LeBron and the rest, and as we've seen throughout the postseason, that seems to be when they shine their brightest.
- The Heat are 8-0 at home in the playoffs.
- Dallas is 5-2 on the road. They lost their first two games away from home and have won 5 straight since.
- Miami went 0-2 against the Mavericks during the regular season, but they also went 0-3 against the Bulls and 1-3 against Boston.
- Overall, the Heat has gone 24-31 against Dallas in their franchise history, including the 2006 NBA Finals.
- The Mavericks have won 14 straight regular season games against the Heat. According to Elias Sports Bureau, in NBA history only 4 other teams entered the Finals with at least a 5-game win streak against their opponent and each time went on to win the championship.
- Miami is giving up just 88.3 points per game in the playoffs, allowing over 100 points just once. Their opponents are shooting a mere 41.9% from the field.
- James Jones (foot, toe) is questionable for Miami.
- As for the Mavs, Caron Butler (knee) is questionable.
- The average ticket price for Game 1 is a ridiculous $1,060 with the cheapest tickets going for $130 (standing room only), according to SeatGeek.com. The prices for Game 2 are actually higher, at $1,184 and $135.
Tipoff from the AAA is set for 9pm and the game will be broadcast nationally on ABC. It should be a very entertaining series, though I wouldn't mind terribly if it was a boring 4-game sweep for Miami. Either way, 12 wins down, 4 to go...LETS GO HEAT!!!