While I'm a big basketball fan of the game at all levels, I'm not one to religiously watch every minute of the NBA Finals. And for earlier rounds of the playoffs, I'm often of the "Wake Me When It's Game 5" variety, unless there's a really compelling story or an upset looming. (Or, of course, if the Bobcats get there, but as we all know that's only happened once).
But this Miami-Dallas series so far has been fantastic, and it has become destination TV in our household. Last night's game -- a two-point win by Miami decided only when Dirk Nowitzki missed a makeable fallaway jumper just before the buzzer -- was great stuff all the way through.
The wonderful thing about a series is that you start really getting a feel for all of the players, not just the stars. My 13-year-old son, a huge Miami Heat fan, believe Mario Chalmers should be starting over Mike Bibby and the more I watch the more I think he's right. Since Dallas is in the Western Conference I usually don't see them as much, but Dirk must be seen in long stretches to be appreciated for the marvel that he is.
The series has drawn excellent TV ratings, which is no surprise since LeBron James and Miami have played the villain all year in the NBA. To think that Dwyane Wade is part of the group wearing the black hats is laughable -- Wade is one of the nicest guys in the game -- but it certainly helps ABC sell it.
While Miami's 2-1 lead in the best-of-7 certainly makes it look like the Heat will be celebrating a championship soon -- the one earmarked for them ever since LeBron took his "talents to South Beach" -- I imagine another twist or two is coming. Dallas is well-matched with the Heat -- perhaps the only team in the NBA to be able to sustain the sort of basketball the Heat has started playing.
Can't wait for the next games, which are Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. I have no doubt the Sunday game in Miami will be played, incidentally -- Dallas isn't going to lose three straight games at home and get beaten, 4-1.
11 months ago