For many basketball fans, the 2011 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks is known as one of the few blunders in LeBron James’ career. To put it nicely, James underperformed in four consecutive fourth quarters versus the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs defeated a heavily-favored Miami Heat team that featured Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and James in the first year of Miami’s “Big 3” era. What often gets lost in the sauce is just how good the Mavericks were that year. Before they even got to the NBA Finals, Dallas swept Kobe Bryant and the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals. They also beat the young explosive trio of James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference Finals. The Mavericks were underdogs in all four playoffs series they played during that 2011 championship run. However, according to Brendan Haywood who was a center on that Dallas squad, the Maverick’s confidence in themselves propelled them to that 2011 title.
You were apart of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks team that swept the Los Angeles Lakers and beat the Big 3 Miami Heat team in the NBA Finals. What was the mindset of that team that you guys just refused to lose and kept on going and surprised everyone by winning the title that year?
“Our mindset was just us against the world”, Haywood said on a recent episode of the Unnecessary Roughness Podcast.
“We knew that a lot of people didn’t believe that we could win the NBA Finals that year. We actually weren’t favored in any playoff series that we went into that year”
You can listen to the full interview below:
Although Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was the team’s lone all-star in 2011 there were a lot of other key pieces that helped get Dallas over the hump. Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd highlight just a few of the veteran players that played an integral part in delivering the Franchise it’s first championship.
“We had a bunch of veterans that knew what it was about. We knew that if we executed the game plans that our coaching staff put in place that we could do a lot of things that no one thought we could do”.
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