June 5, 2006
Welcome back sports fans; this is Sebastian Maldonado with an NBA wrap-up designed to keep you guys up-to-date for the NBA Finals. They begin Thursday at 8:00 P.M (Check local listings).
It’s very important to watch this Finals series because I think that this is a transitional year for the NBA as well as basketball itself. We had the golden years wit Magic, Bird, Erving, etc. Then we had the modern times with Jordan, Ewing, Shaq, etc. Now, we are currently living the future of the NBA; guys like Dwayne Wade and LeBron James have truly become the present of this great sport. I ad mit, even I started to lose interest in basketball, but this year, they brought me back into the fire and intensity that these young, talented athletes have brung. Let’s go back for a bit and review the seasons of both the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks that were just amazing and astounding.
The Miami Heat was a team with too many questions entering the 2005-06 season. The biggest question was about the health and conditioning of Shaquille O’Neal, the NBA’s last great big man. There were also questions about the revamping of the team; only Shaq and Dwayne Wade survived the reconstruction as well as a few role players. The new “big-name” faces consist of Antoine Walker, Jason Williams (“White Chocolate”), James Posey, and Gary Payton to name a few. Even Stan Van Gundy resigned as the head coach, allowing Pat Riley to lead “his vision” of the Heat. Well, the questions have been answered, for now. The Miami Heat will go to their first ever NBA Finals series in their franchise history. Yet, can they win the big one? Is this another championship for Shaq and Pat, or will it not be their year?
Since the start of the 21st century, the Dallas Mavericks have never been the #1 team in their home state of Texas. They always have lost somehow, someway in the playoffs. Steve Nash, their former point guard, left last year to the Phoenix Suns, and questions about who actually coached the team surfaced: Don Nelson or Mark Cuban. Well, the coach of the Mavs is also the coach of this year: Avery Johnson, a former point guard for the San Antonio Spurs in the 1990s. With Johnson making a few tweaks in the line-up, the Mavs seemed unstoppable. Dirk Nowitzki had an MVP type season to take his team this far. The supporting cast is no joke as well; veterans like Jerry Stackhouse and young players like Josh Howard have helped the Mavs in every way possible to win. The question for the Mavs is simple: Is this the year where the critics finally shut up, or did they come so far just to fail on the grandest stage of the NBA World?