After 35 months of playoffs, the Finals are here! I've watchd the NBA playoffs and finals religiously since I was young, this year shall be no different.
I have a few thoughts (and my pick)
I like both teams. Both teams are easily likable. Old Shaq is fun. Wade is good and knows his role (defer to Shaq in all things). You have a couple ring chasers on Miami as well in GP and Mourning (you could even include Walker in there as well). Plus you have Pat Riley trying to win his first post-Laker title (almost 20 years post-Lakers). In Dallas you have the lovable, huggable Avery Johnson as coach, with the hatable, lovable Mark Cuban as owner. Plus they have Leslie Neilson as an assistant coach. Dallas also has guys who play their guts out (like Griffin and Howard) and they got a superstar in his prime with Dirk. Terry and Stackhouse are playing big minutes on a title team (in lesser roles) after being the number 1 guys on other, shittier teams.
You have two unguardable guys. No one can A) prepare for or B) guard Shaq. He cannot be stopped. Dirk is a matchup problem for every team he plays. Use a quick guy like Posey and watch Dirk post him up. Use a big guy like Haslem and watch Dirk take him off the dribble. Oh yea, he is deadly from 3 point range too. Good luck with all that.
Diop? What the hell? How the hell is Lasagna Diop starting on a Finals team? What the hell happened. To be fair (kinda), his time in Cleveland was basically his college years. 4 years, didn't do much, learned a lot. He still has no post moves. At all. But he could always block shots, and that is all that Dallas has him doing.
Shaq- How good? How long? How long will O'neal last in this series. Will have a 40 point game? A 20 rebound game? Could he go for 40-20? I doubt it. I do think people are writing him off a bit too much. He does have to work pretty hard to get his points, Dallas has some young big guys to throw at him (not really make a dent, but just to make him work hard(er)) and the Mavs are the team that started Hacka-Shaq. I think Shaq will do well all series, but I don't think it will be enough. (In his finals preview, Simmons talks about the ways that Shaq and Miami are reff'd could make a big difference. I agree)
I'm rooting for Dallas. I think. Sometimes I don't know who I'm rooting for until I watch a game. Lets say the Superbowl. I should've been rooting for Pitt. My conference, some of my friends are Steeler fans. Rothlisakdfjadjkkuberger is from Ohio. He went to my brothers school. But that game comes on, and suddenly I'm a Seahawk fan. So I like Dallas, but I also enjoy Miami. Now if ABC starts loving one team more than the other, I'll choose sides easily (whoever ABC doesn't cover). This is the main reason why I never liked Jordan. NBC only talked about him and the Bulls. When they lost, it was "Bulls lost!" not "Cavs won!" So right now I like Dallas, but that could change if we see too many Mark Cuban stories.
Dallas in 6. I think the Mavs win this series. I just don't see Miami stopping all of the Mavs scoring options. Miami couldn't stop a shooting guard all year (LeBron and Vince KILLED the Heat all season). Dallas is throwing Terry, Stackhouse, Dirk and Howard at them. Good luck with all that. Dallas is just too deep, too young (re: athletic) and Dirk is too good.
That being said, if Miami wins, I won't be too pissed. I'm kinda like the Cavalier at YAY! Sports this way (only opposite). Some more Shaq fun, some more Pat Riley fun and Jason Kapono: NBA Champion. It's better than another Detroit, LA or SA title.