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|NBA Finals Preview
by Ultimatecapper.com Staff
Well, its finally here. After a long regular season and the unnecessarily prolonged first and second rounds of the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat square off in the NBA Championship Series.
Dallas has home-court advantage in this finals series, and hosts the first two games. The Mavericks are 5 ½-point favorites for Thursdays opening game (9 p.m. Eastern, ABC), with a total of 193.
Dallas is a 165 favorite to win the series; Miami is posted at +145.
The Mavericks placed second in the Western Conferences Southwest Division with a record of 60-22. Dallas then swept the Memphis Grizzlies in four games in the first round of the playoffs, outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the conference semis, and beat the Phoenix Suns in six games in the conference finals.
The Heat won the Eastern Conferences Southeast Division with a mark of 52-30. Miami then beat the Chicago Bulls in six games in the first round of the playoffs, knocked off the New Jersey Nets in five games in the conference semis, and upset the Detroit Pistons in six games in the conference finals.
This is the first appearance in the NBA championship series for both the Mavs and the Heat.
Dallas swept the two games in the season series between these two teams this season, beating the Heat 103-90 in Miami in November, then handing Pat Rileys team its worst loss of this season, a 112-76 drubbing in Dallas in February.
In the first meeting between these two teams, which Heat C Shaquille ONeal missed because of an ankle injury, Dallas held Miami to 45 points in the first half and 44% shooting from the floor for the game. The Mavericks shot 50% from the field, hit 8 of 15 three-point attempts, outrebounded the Heat 48-46 and stymied Miami into an 0-for-11 shooting performance from 3-point range.
Dallas beat the Heat in Miami during the 2004-05 regular season, too.
In game two of this regular-season series, the Mavs limited Miami to 38 first-half points and shot 56% from the floor on their way to a decisive romp. Dallas shot 11-of-16 from 3-point range while the Heat went 2-for-9, and the Mavs outrebounded Miami this time 43-36.
In those two regular-season meetings, Heat guard Dwyane Wade went a combined 13-of-32 from the floor, and Miami went 2-of-20 from 3-point range.
Dallas is 40-9 at home this season, 6-2 in the playoffs; 26-23 against the spread at home, 4-4 in the playoffs.
Miami is 25-24 on the road this season, 4-4 in the playoffs; 25-24 vs. the number on the road, 5-3 in the playoffs.
Both the Mavericks and the Heat are 12-5 in the playoffs this season; Dallas is 12-5 against the spread, while Miami is 10-6-1 vs. the number.
The over/under is 9-8 in Dallas playoff games this season, 10-7 in Heat playoff games. But every game in the Miami-Detroit conference finals series stayed under the posted totals.
On the season, Dallas is shooting 46% from the field, 37% from 3-point range and 79% from the free-throw line.
Miami is shooting 48% from the floor, 34% from long range but just 70% from the line.
The Mavs outrebound opponents by an average of 4.3 per game; the Heat outboard foes by an average of 4.1 per game.
Game 2 of this series will be played Sunday in Big D; Games 3 and 4 are slated for Tuesday and Thursday in Miami.
The Ultimatecapper Pick: We like the Heat to win the Finals!
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