Could we have asked for a better NBA Finals? I say no. I can't remember the last time I was this gosh darn excited about a Championship game/series in any sport, let alone the NBA Finals. I do feel comfortable saying that I've never been this excited for an NBA Finals before, which makes sense because my team is in it, and the last time they were in it they got cheated out of it, ya dig? But it's not only because The Man has made his presence known. In fact, Dirk's complete and total awesomeness isn't even one of the 10 reasons (although it plays a big role for #7). But enough about the Ghostface Drillah for now, lets get down to this list...
1. These two teams don't like each other - Or at the least, the Mavs do not like the Heat. I mean, they hate the Heat. Hell, I hate the Heat. This one is personal, especially for Jason Terry and the one they call Dirk. The Dallas crowd remembers every foul call from that 2006 series - for better or worse - and they can't wait to boo every single call from this 2011 series (we'll see how annoying that gets). But the history of these two teams make this series infinitely more interesting.
2. These two teams are evenly matched - Don't let the public opinion of the masses fool you. These two teams were separated by 1 game in the regular season and share the same playoff record to this point (12-3). I wouldn't be surprised to see this series swing either way in any amount of games. A sweep would leave me filibustered, but either team winning in 5 wouldn't shock me. You might think that's indicative of a dominant team, but I expect each game to be played closely, and if we've learned anything from these playoffs so far, it's that one team can gain a strong psychological advantage in a series by pulling out close games.
3. These are the best two teams in the NBA - There's absolutely no doubt that these should be the two teams playing for the NBA Championship. Only the Mavs have gone as far as a Game 6 in these playoffs, which was only forced because of a ridiculous, Brandon-Roy induced comeback. The Heat took out the team with the best record. The Mavs took out the 2-time former champs. They've been streaking towards each other. A Championship matchup is always better knowing that it's between the best two teams, which is something of a rarity in the NBA Finals.
4. These two teams have dominated 4th quarters - There weren't huge differences between the four teams in the conference championship games. The winning teams were separated by how they closed out in the 4th quarters of games, severely evidenced by both teams' series clinching wins. However, they no longer have that youth to prey on. Both of these teams expect to pull out games in the 4th quarter if it's close (exactly what the conference finals were missing), which should make for some epic clashes, especially when considering the two studs who are leading their respective teams...
5. Dirk vs. Lebron - These are the two men playing the best basketball in the world right now. Lebron gets it done on both sides of the floor with athleticism that we have never seen before, and an attitude/mental game that's quickly evolving (if he gets there, we're all done for). Dirk is a man on a mission right now, that is playing the game as efficiently as any player in NBA history. He's seen and been through it all, and has adjusted his game (both mentally and physically) to handle any situation that's been thrown his way (so far). It's tough to say Dirk is superior to Lebron because of their defensive abilities, but Dirk is certainly more unstoppable on the offensive end. It's very likely that whoever plays better night in and night out will come away with their first NBA Championship.
6. Neither star has won a Championship - Another rarity in the NBA. Championships tend to be monopolized by a small fraction of teams in NBA. It's always cooler to see how a player reacts to winning a first 'ship than seeing Kobe fake-hug his kids for the umpteenth time. A few players remain from the Heat's *Championship* team, most notably Dwizzly and Udonis Randy Mosslem. We're either going to see the beginning of Lebron's reign atop the NBA or Dirk do what nobody thought was possible. Either should be special to even the common viewer.
7. More Dirk practice routine videos - The most entertaining 30 seconds of the NBA Playoffs to me. The montage they used to show his spinorama shots and one-legged turduckens was riveting television. I could've watched all 2 hours of it, or however long it lasted. But it really gives you a peek at the mastermind of The Dirk, The Godfather himself, Holger Geschwindner (who's name I almost got down). And I don't mean Godfather like the movies, I mean it like the old WWF wrestler with all his ho's. I will admit that I tried many of the same ridic shots in the driveway to mild success (and I wasn't the only one to admit that the past few days).
8. The Miami Heat white out lives on! - One of the finest traditions in sports. Nothing screams playoff basketball better than a half full arena of chonchos representing one of the truly awful fan bases in all of sports. It's like everything I love about Arrowhead Stadium, only the exact opposite. Even when I was stuck in limbo about cheering for the Heat, one sight of that plastic-infested, feminine Sammy Sosa wanna-bes would've set me straight. In actuality, the dullness of both of these crowds is probably the worst aspect of this series.
9. Potential trophy moment between Mark Cuban and David Stern - It's no secret that Cuban is high on Stern's list of people to destroy (although I hear he's steadily declining). Many people thought their relationship may have interfered with the officiating of the '06 Finals. We were shorted the sight of Dan Beebe handing over the final Big 12 Championship Trophy to Tom Osborne and Nebraska, but I'll settle for taking this one in. It would be a moment that goes down in history. And with Cuban involved, anything is possible.
10. The most interesting team vs. the most entertaining team - The Mavs are a super fun team to watch. They get up and down the floor, play a wide open European style, and are the best passing team in the NBA. By far. Their two offensive creators are a 7 foot German and a 5'7 Puerto Rican. They're old, slow, and nobody can quite figure out how they got here. The Heat are surrounded by drama, scrutinized every step of the way, and provided us with the most intriguing NBA regular season of all time. Nobody could wait to announce the demise of them, while everybody was afraid of what might happen if they figured it out. Think of it as the Dos Equis guy vs. the Red Stripe guy. Which side are you on?