Dallas Mavericks…your NBA Champions
They've come a long way from the Derek Harper and Mike Iuzzolino days...
Dirk Nowitzki had been a one-man wrecking machine throughout most of the 2011 NBA playoffs.
But on the night his Dallas Mavericks clinched their first-ever NBA championship by defeating the Miami Heat 105-95, he had a lot of help from his teammates.
Jason Terry, the only player besides Nowitzki who had been a part of the 2006 Mavericks team that lost to the Heat in the finals, paced the Mavs with 27 points.
The always-eccentric sixth man made his biggest mark in the first half, during which his three-point shooting sparked Dallas to a 53-51 lead, despite Nowitzki's uncharacteristic 1-for-12 shooting.
Terry, Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea and Nowitzki all hit key shots in the third quarter, as the Mavericks pulled away and glided to a deciding victory in a series that had been defined by close games and furious comebacks.
After adding superstars LeBron James and Chris Bosh to a roster that already included Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat entered the season as both the championship favorites and the most polarizing team in recent memory.
But none of the so-called "big three" came up big in tonight's game 6. James was particularly bad, finishing with six turnovers and a plus/minus of -24.
After the game, Nowitzki hoisted both the NBA Championship trophy and the finals' MVP trophy above his head, and the surprisingly large number of Mavericks fans who had made their way to Miami's Ameircan Airlines Arena cheered him on.
Ironically, the last time there was such adulation inside the American Airlines Arena was before the season, when the Heat staged an elaborate "welcome party" to mark the signings of Bosh and James, and to celebrate the inevitability of a championship that has yet to occur.