By Raul Takahashi
Hoping there is some room for our humble team to provide you with fresh information and insight amidst the mass media coverage, Hot Hot Hoops will split up the Finals Preview into different sequential posts, each focusing on different areas of the Heat-Mavericks finale. Look out for them all this weekend.
Schedule for 2011 NBA Finals
After taking out their first 3 opponents in 5 games, the Miami Heat has until Tuesday to ready for the incoming scoring machine known as Dirk Nowitzki and his crew of veterans with the Dallas Mavericks. Some factoids:
- A strong hold at home for Miami greatly increases their chances of success as the Finals turn to a 2-3-2 format (The format, instilled by the NBA in 1985, was inspired by Red Auerbach's complaints of travel fatigue from the back-and-forth bounce between corresponding cities in the last 3 games).
- Since the format was adopted, when the home team wins the first two games they are a stellar 12-1 (Heat in 2006 is the anomaly).
- When the road team wins the first two in the opponent's homecourt, the home team is 0-2 all time.
- Splitting the first two has netted a 7-4 advantage towards the home team.
- Five road teams have swept the middle home stand (2006 Heat included), all five ultimately winning it all for a perfect 5-0.
- Eddie House's stellar 35-point (7-13 from downtown) performance gave the Heat a victory over the Toronto Raptors in the last game of the season, giving the Miami Heat homecourt advantage over the Mavericks in a possible, now actual, Finals meeting. Oh, the little things.
- You can be rest assured American Airlines is a happy camper with all of the games being hosted in their sponsored arenas.
Anything can happen, but almost assured success hinges on a proud Miami, FL. Fan up, make noise, and prepare to be a historical witness.
Why the salaries? Why not. All in recreational fun. At the end of the day, the NBA is still a business and just like any business, productivity and return of net gain is desired. Miami's Big 5 are correspondingly the highest paid members of the Heat, with defensive menace Joel Anthony the only other player under a significant contract. The rest of the roster is filled with players on veteran minimums or are still on their rookie contracts (Chalmers, Pittman), totaling $66.9M.
As for Dallas, superstar Nowitzki nets superstar dough. Tyson Chandler is on the last year of his contract as well as Caron Butler who has been injured since January. The trail follows accordingly, with JJ Barea and Peja Stojakovic the biggest bargains for a team missing their counterpart positions to injury (Butler, Beaubouis). Marc Cuban is not one to hesitate spending his billions to win and the deep roster he has shelled out $90.7M (2nd highest in the league) for is now 4 wins within their ultimate goal.
Get more great Miami Heat news, recaps and analysis over at HotHotHoops.com