NBA Finals open thread: 10 observations

1. Is any objective observer not rooting for the Mavs tonight? Considering the way the Mavs got utterly (and demonstrably) jobbed in 2006, they'd be sympathetic against any team. That they are playing Team Satan only makes them much more sympathetic.

2. I keep reading headlines about how Jason Terry might remove his tattoo after the finals. To which, the Mavericks are not the most exciting team in the world off the court. I wonder if ESPN will even cover it?

3. On paper, the Heat are clearly favored to win... Depending on the paper. The Mavericks have posted a better margin of victory (by more than two points) against substantially better competition in the playoffs. The only players who have suspiciously improved upon their regular season performance are Kidd and Terry. Terry's shooting is going to cool off, but it seems plausible that Kidd was taking it easy in the regular season for a playoff lock.

4. Unlike 2006, when David Stern was fresh off changing the rules for the expressed purpose of helping guys like Dwyane "He's so good for basketball" Wade get to the free throw line, viewer sympathy is likely to reside with the aging veterans who have never won a championship. My guess is that the 2006 officiating crew was blinded by memos from the league about hand checks and what have you. So it could be an even playing field.

5. Joel Anthony doesn't get a fair shake.

6. Based on this Finals outcome, if you are an owner, aren't you doing everything in your power to make sure an NBA team doesn't land in Las Vegas? Yet another warm, exciting destination with no state income tax in a league where those are the sole criterion for landing a free agent. I wonder if that (and not gambling) is the unspoken reason why it hasn't happened yet.

7. For Dirk's reputation as a player who doesn't win, he sure has done a lot of winning. He is 4th all time in playoff win shares per 48 minutes (just behind LeBron and just ahead of Magic). If Dirk weren't some German guy, wouldn't we be talking about how this finals series is pitting two of the top ten playoff scorers ever against each other?

8. Two guys not in the top ten? Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal (19th and 22nd respectively), which seems weird.

9. Honestly, if it took an injury to make the Heat lose this series, I would be totally fine with that. I don't think I've ever felt that way about any series in which the Pistons were not a part.

10. My prediction? Heat in 7. The Heat have dropped a couple of duds in these playoffs, and the Mavs aren't going to leave a lot of breathing room, but I suspect Dirk is going to be seeing 40+ mpg per night, and that's going to take its toll.

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