We have finally reached the end. Dallas finished what it had started five years before, and they did it in fitting fashion. They won three games in a row, and finished on the road against a very good team in a hostile environment. With all of the popular story lines that will continue to revolve around these Finals, I don't know if we'll ever fully appreciate the masterful job that the Mavericks staff and players did on game planning a team that, like the Thunder, were younger, more athletic, and had more All-Star talent. It is one thing to see it done in the NCAA's or the NFL; those are one-and-done situations and, "Any given Sunday..." But to do it over the course of two months? Four separate playoff series? Sixteen wins? That is something else entirely, and Dallas deserves to have its performance dissected and re-mapped as a blueprint on how to win against all shapes and sizes of competition.
Watch the best moments from Game Six.
The usual assortment of quotes and screen caps. It is a good reflection of how incredibly classy and reflective the Mavericks organization is.
Props comes from SB Nation's Heat site, who recognized how good coach Rick Carlisle was in this series.
LeBron James started off aggressive, but then disappeared for most of the rest of the game. I counted only about three times all game where he truly looked comfortable in his own game coming through the Miami offense.
Hollinger writes that Rick Carlisle was integral to figuring out the best way to make Dallas' resources work. First and foremost was Jose Barea, who seemed like he was about to disappear in these Finals. Carlisle thought otherwise and figured out how to get the tiny guard in the best possible situation to utilize his skill-set.
More links after the jump.
Pelton hits on something we've noticed here as well - Dallas' intellect toward the game manifested itself throughout both the course of games and the course of the series. They figured things out as they went along and got stronger as the games progressed. Consider their victory margins in the Finals - 2, 3, 8, 10.
The Mavs were a finished product in these playoffs. They had no weaknesses, and any adjustments they had to make were easily assimilated on the fly. They are what a team should aspire to be.
James in for a long off-season. He hand-picked his team, so no longer can his play be masked behind an inadequate supporting cast.
It is important to note that, while the Heat did struggle in certain areas, it did not happen in a vacuum. Dallas made them make mistakes that they did not make against Boston or Chicago.
Dirk and his Mavs, truth be told, had more swagger than anyone knew. Keeping with a tradition that began in earnest before Game 4 of Dallas' second-round sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, every Mavs player conspired to wear something black to work on Sunday, convinced that they'd soon do to Wade's Heat precisely what Miami did to Dallas in a Game 6 on the road five years prior.
"Goin' to a funeral" was the Mavs' inside joke.
Dirk Nowitzki fielded many of the same questions that LeBron James listens to now. Will this be enough to convince him that what he lacks is not hidden somewhere in his once-in-a-generation physical talent?
Mark Cuban won the Larry O'Brien trophy, but he did not accept it from commissioner David Stern. He left that honor to the cowboy in the 10-gallon hat, Donald Carter, the franchise's original owner. There is nothing that Cuban ever said in the past -- and he's said a lot, with millions in fines to show for it -- that spoke louder on the most glorious night in Mavericks' history.
It should also be noted that even Mark Cuban is taller than JJ Barea.
A breakdown of all the key stats from the Finals, which helps us see how much better Dallas really was.
Maybe this means that Cuban will actually turn an operating profit next season.
I waited eagerly to see what Cuban would say to David Stern when the Larry O'Brien Trophy was handed to the Mavs' owner. And the next thing I knew, the trophy was being handed to some cowboy. Well played, men. Well played indeed.
Good news for Jason Terry, who doesn't have to get his tattoo removed. In all seriousness, his transformative play from Game Three to Game Six was remarkable. For Games Five and Six, he was arguably the second-best offensive player on the court.
Pruiti grabs a great compilation of plays exhibiting where both Miami and Dallas frequently broke one of the most fundamental rules in basketball - don't leave your feet unless you know what you're going to do next.
"This is my opinion now. This is one of the unique teams in NBA history, because it wasn't about high-flying star power ... Come on, how often do we hear about the LeBron James reality show and what he is or isn't doing? When are people going to talk about the purity of our game and what we accomplished? That's what's special." - Rick Carlisle