In the first installment of the Dallas Mavericks 2011 Finals flashback, I take a look back at the 2010-11 season for Dallas and their road to the Finals.
As a co-host of Locked On Mavericks, Nick Angstadt (of Mavs Moneyball) and myself are spending the next seven days recapping the glorious championship run of the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks.
From play-by-play announcers to an actual Mav on the team during that run, there will be a plethora of guests to join the podcast this week as we go through each game of the 2011 Finals and recap the storylines around the event.
But first, we must set the table.
In the first podcast of the week, we take a look back at the season and playoff run leading up to the Finals for the Dallas Mavericks. We talk about each player on the championship winning team and the role they each had.
It was five years since the heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat in the Finals and four years since the stunning round one loss to the Golden State Warriors as the number one seed.
They couldn’t win in the playoffs. Dirk wasn’t good enough to win at the highest level. The Mavericks as a franchise would never have post season success.
Those were all things people started to associate with the Mavericks…until the 2010-11 season.
Dallas had pieced together a team of veterans that was anchored down by their future Hall of Famer in Dirk Nowitzki.
Jason Kidd and Jason Terry were back as Dirk’s sidekicks and both were in their 30’s. Kidd was actually the oldest point guard to start in the Finals as he was 37 years old. Shawn “The Matrix” Marion was back as the versatile forward and Caron Butler as the second leading scorer on the team.
Then you had the role players in DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, and J.J. Barea.
The biggest addition to the core? Tyson Chandler as the defensive anchor alongside of Dirk.
Dallas had assembled their squad and they believed…even when nobody else did.
The Mavericks started the season as the hottest team in the league where they would end double-digit winning streaks at home for San Antonio and Miami. They were the team to beat until injuries struck the team.
In January, both Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler went down to injuries. Nowitzki would miss just nine games, but for the second leading scorer in Butler, it would cost the rest of the season. Dallas went into a spiral as they tried to refigure their team out.
They would eventually figure it out and go 18-1 around March. The team had figured out how to adjust without Butler and went into the playoffs better than ever.
In round one, it was a young Portland team headlined by Brandon Roy. After losing games three and four behind a monster comeback led by Roy, it was decision time for the Mavericks as the series was tied 2-2.
Dallas would win the next two games to complete the series in six games. Next up, the two-time defending champs in the Los Angeles Lakers.
After being tabbed as the underdog once again, the Mavericks were picked against by everyone heading into the series. But the Lakers wouldn’t even win a single game in the series as the Mavericks put on a show for the ages.
In the series clinching Game 4, Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic combined for 15-16 from behind the arc. The Mavs pulled off the surprising sweep that stopped Phil Jackson’s second three peat in Los Angeles.
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This set up a Western Conference Finals with the young kids in Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Serge Ibaka headlined a young Thunder squad that simply didn’t have anyone to match the play of Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk averaged 32 points a game in the series and even put up 48 points in Game 1.
Dallas would win the series in five games and the matchup was set once again with Miami Heat.
The Heat were coming off their own impressive playoff run in the first season of the formation of their big three in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They had become the villains of the league and it was revenge time for the Mavericks.
The stage was set for Game 1.
You can follow along in the podcast series at Locked On Mavs here each day along with my written series here at the site.
Our recap of Game 1 and interview with DeShawn Stevenson will be on tomorrow’s podcast.