NBA Finals 2011: Time to Give the Dallas Mavericks the Credit They Deserve

David BurnettCorrespondent IJune 10, 2011

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 09:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks celebrates with fans after the won 112-103 against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Center on June 9, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks won Game 5 Thursday night, which means possibly two more games remain in the NBA Finals.

But just about everyone continues to ask: What’s wrong with LeBron James

Social media is buzzing with rumors that LeBron can’t concentrate because of trouble at home.  Hoop experts say he’s playing too many minutes and doesn’t have the energy to be an effective closer as the game winds down.  And again, he didn’t have many baskets when it mattered—only two points in the fourth quarter.

These are issues for sure, but enough already.  What about Dallas?

Yes, it’s legitimate to wonder about LeBron’s state of mind or his physical well-being, but it suggests the other guys on the court don’t matter much.  Well, if you are paying attention at all, you have to admit that Dallas may be largely responsible for LeBron’s less-than-stellar performance.  

In fact, Thursday night, LeBron had one of the most ineffective triple-doubles I’ve ever seen.

The Mavericks proved in Game 5 that they did not get to the Finals by chance.  They’ve got good players, too, and not all of them are named Dirk Nowitzki.

Jason “The Jet” Terry finally found his shooting rhythm, bombing eight huge points in the closing minutes.  Tiny guard J.J. Barea again sliced and diced his way through defenders, but this time his shots didn’t bounce off the rim, they went in.  And the aging Jason Kidd nailed several key three-pointers as well.  

Dirk, by the way, finished with another great game—29 points, including a ridiculously beautiful rainbow three-pointer that took forever to swish down through the nets.

This is the explosive Dallas team that swept the Lakers and toyed with the OKC Thunder.  If they continue playing this way, the Heat will have trouble beating the Mavericks twice back home in Miami.

No, I’m not saying that Dallas is definitely going to win Game 6 or even Game 7, if it goes that far.  But the point I am trying to make is that all of us need to get over this obsession we have with the “disappearance” of LeBron James and finally give Dallas credit for playing like a complete, and perhaps better team.


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