by Brett Edwards
That's how I see these Finals shaking out. As I argued in our latest podcast, I just don't see Miami having very much success against the Mavs. For those of you who prefer the written word over the spoken word, let me recap why I feel Dallas clearly has the edge.
The tempo that the Mavs play at is going to hurt Miami. They will push the ball much more on offense than Detroit did, and that's bad news for Shaq. We all know he's most effective in a half court style of play, and even though he's in better shape than he's been recently, he still prefers a slower tempo. Not only that, but Dallas has Dampier and Diop to foul guard Shaq in the post, who will do a better job containing him than Ben Wallace could do basically by himself.
This brings me to Dallas' defense. For some reason, the Pistons played absolutely no D against the Heat, allowing bullshit players like J-Will to shoot 9-9 at one point in game 6. Wade shot 70% from the field through the first three games of that series, and as a team the Heat shot 56-58% from the field. NO WAY that happens against Dallas. The Mavs are much more athletic and play better team defense, and will harass the Heat into a poorer percentage.
The biggest reason though that I see Dallas crushing Miami is their depth on the offensive end. The Pistons missed a ton of wide open shots against the Heat, shooting in the low 30s% from the field. People, let me break this to you if you haven't heard: the Heat are NOT a great defensive team. Dallas has too many people that can score the basketball, from Dirk to Jet to Howard to Stackhouse, and I feel there's just too much depth there for the Heat to be able to keep up.
The Heat definitely have the intangible of veteran experience on their side, with Riley and Shaq having been to so many Finals. It's something to consider, but I just don't see it being enough to knock off Dallas.