2011 NBA Finals
The wordmark of the NBA Finals (2003–2017)
|Dates||May 31–June 12|
|MVP||Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)|
|Hall of Famers||Mavericks:|
Jason Kidd (2018)
|Eastern Finals||Heat defeated Bulls, 4–1|
|Western Finals||Mavericks defeated Thunder, 4–1|
The 2011 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2010–11 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in which the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks defeated the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat four games to two to win their first NBA championship. The series was held from May 31 to June 12, 2011. German player Dirk Nowitzki was named the Finals MVP, becoming the second European to win the award after Tony Parker (2007) and the first German player to do so. The series was a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, which the Heat had won in six games.
The Dallas Mavericks became the first team in NBA history since the institution of the 2–3–2 format to enter Game 3 tied at one, lose Game 3 and still win the Finals. The previous 11 times this occurred, the Game 3 winner went on to win the series. The Mavericks also became just the 7th team, and the first since 1988, to come back and win the Finals after being down in the series two or more separate times (one game to none, and later two games to one). The previous six times this happened, the Finals ended in seven games; Dallas became the first team in NBA history to do it in six games.
ABC averaged a 10.1 rating, 11.7 million households and nearly 17.3 million viewers with the 2011 Finals, according to Nielsen.
Both the Mavericks and Heat made their second appearance in the NBA Finals, the first for both teams being the 2006 NBA Finals. This Finals marked a rematch of the 2006 Finals, won by Miami in six games, after the Mavericks were up 2–0.
It was also the first time since 2006 that neither the Los Angeles Lakers nor the San Antonio Spurs represented the Western Conference in the Finals and only the second time since 1998, and also the thirteenth consecutive NBA Finals to feature a Western Conference champion from either the states of California or Texas.
The Mavericks' appearance also meant that three of North America's four major professional sports championships were played in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex in a span of eight months, with the 2010 World Series and Super Bowl XLV both occurring in nearby Arlington.
The Heat had home-court advantage by virtue of a better regular-season record than the Mavericks. This was only the second time that the Eastern Conference had home-court advantage during the Finals since the end of the Michael Jordan era in 1998. It also marks the first time since 1995 that the Eastern Conference team lost in the Finals despite having home-court advantage.
The 2011 series marked the first time a Finals match (Game 1) was played in the month of May since 1986.
Among the players from both teams, only Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry of Dallas, and Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem of Miami, appeared in the 2006 series with the same team. Heat center Erick Dampier played for the Mavericks in 2006. Aside from Dampier, Caron Butler, Juwan Howard, and Shawn Marion are the only other players who have played for both the Mavericks and Heat. Eddie House, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, LeBron James (James would reach the finals every year from 2011 to 2018, with both the Heat and the Cavaliers), and Jason Kidd have appeared in the Finals with different teams, with House (as a member of Boston's 2008 championship team), Wade and Haslem winning a championship ring. Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle won a championship as a reserve for Boston's 1986 championship team making him only the eleventh person in NBA history to win a Finals as both a player and a coach.
Road to the Finals
|Dallas Mavericks (Western Conference champion)||Miami Heat (Eastern Conference champion)|
|Defeated the 6th-seeded Portland Trail Blazers, 4–2||First round||Defeated the 7th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, 4–1|
|Defeated the 2nd-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, 4–0||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the 3rd-seeded Boston Celtics, 4–1|
|Defeated the 4th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, 4–1||Conference Finals||Defeated the 1st-seeded Chicago Bulls, 4–1|
The Dallas Mavericks won both games in the regular season.
|Game||Date||Away team||Result||Home team|
|Game 1||Tuesday, May 31||Dallas Mavericks||84–92 (0–1)||Miami Heat|
|Game 2||Thursday, June 2||Dallas Mavericks||95–93 (1–1)||Miami Heat|
|Game 3||Sunday, June 5||Miami Heat||88–86 (2–1)||Dallas Mavericks|
|Game 4||Tuesday, June 7||Miami Heat||83–86 (2–2)||Dallas Mavericks|
|Game 5||Thursday, June 9||Miami Heat||103–112 (2–3)||Dallas Mavericks|
|Game 6||Sunday, June 12||Dallas Mavericks||105–95 (4–2)||Miami Heat|
|Dallas Mavericks 84, Miami Heat 92|
|Scoring by quarter: 17–16, 27–27, 17–22, 23–27|
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 27
Rebs: Shawn Marion 10
Asts: Jason Kidd 6
|Pts: LeBron James 24|
Rebs: Dwyane Wade 10
Asts: Dwyane Wade 6
|Miami leads series, 1–0|
Game 1 was the first NBA Finals game to be held in the month of May since 1986. The Heat made only 28.6 percent of their shots during the first quarter, and this low scoring percentage early on left the Mavs with an 8-point lead early into the 3rd quarter. The Heat changed course from this point on, outscoring the Mavs 22–10 and taking a 65–61 lead going into the 4th quarter. Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki injured his finger within the last four minutes of the game, but remained in play, wearing a splint to support the torn tendon. Despite having a below-average performance early in the game, Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade and small forward LeBron James collaborated on both defensive and offensive ends of the court in the fourth quarter, leading the Heat to win Game 1 over the Mavs 92–84.
|Dallas Mavericks 95, Miami Heat 93|
|Scoring by quarter: 28–28, 23–23, 20–24, 24–18|
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 24
Rebs: Dirk Nowitzki 11
Asts: Terry, Kidd 5 each
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 36|
Rebs: James, Bosh 8 each
Asts: Dwyane Wade 6
|Series tied, 1–1|
The Mavs' 15-point comeback was the biggest in an NBA Finals game since the 24-point comeback the Celtics made against the Lakers in Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals. Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3 with 26.7 seconds left to give the Mavericks a 93–90 lead. However, Mario Chalmers tied it with a 3 of his own with 24.5 seconds left when Jason Terry left him wide open. After Jason Kidd ran the clock down, Nowitzki then made a driving layup with his injured left hand with 3.6 seconds left. The Heat had no timeouts left, and Dwyane Wade's potential game-winning 3 hit the back rim at the buzzer as he fell to the ground in an attempt to draw a foul on Nowitzki. The Mavs win broke the Heat's 9-game home winning streak in the playoffs, costing them a chance to tie the 1996 Bulls' mark of 10 straight. This was the second straight Finals with a 1–1 split after two games, after five straight years with one team leading 2–0 (2005–09).
|Miami Heat 88, Dallas Mavericks 86|
|Scoring by quarter: 29–22, 18–20, 20–22, 21–22|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 29
Rebs: Dwyane Wade 11
Asts: LeBron James 9
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 34|
Rebs: Chandler, Nowitzki 11 each
Asts: Jason Kidd 10
|Miami leads series, 2–1|
The Heat led most of the game, but the Mavericks fought back from a 14-point deficit. With 39.6 seconds left in the 4th, LeBron James found Chris Bosh for a 20-foot baseline jumper; Dirk Nowitzki had a chance to force OT, but missed a well-defended fadeaway jumper at the buzzer as the Heat handed Dallas another defeat to go up 2–1 in the series. It was Miami's sixth win in its last seven NBA Finals games, four by 3 points or less.
|Miami Heat 83, Dallas Mavericks 86|
|Scoring by quarter: 21–21, 26–24, 22–20, 14–21|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 32
Rebs: LeBron James 9
Asts: LeBron James 7
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 21|
Rebs: Tyson Chandler 16
Asts: José Juan Barea 4
|Series tied, 2–2|
Game 4 was a back-and-forth affair, with 12 lead changes and 15 ties. Miami went up 74–65 early in the fourth quarter on a baseline jumpshot by Udonis Haslem, tallying their largest lead of the game. After a timeout, Dallas answered with 4 straight points by Jason Terry, similar to the 6 straight he scored with Dallas down 15 halfway through the fourth quarter of Game 2. Dallas would take their first lead of the fourth quarter with 5:15 left on a fastbreak layup by Terry. They held the lead for the rest of the game, although Miami cut the lead to 1 twice in the final minute. Up 82–81 with 20 seconds left after Dwyane Wade missed 1 of 2 free throws, Dirk Nowitzki hit a driving layup with 14.4 seconds left to extend the lead to 3. After a dunk by Wade with 9 seconds left, 2 free throws by Terry pushed the lead back up to 3. With a chance to tie the game with a 3, Wade fumbled the inbounds pass with 6.7 seconds left, only to make a diving save to prevent a backcourt violation. The ball landed in Mike Miller's hands, whose desperation 3 airballed at the buzzer, preserving Dallas's 86–83 win. LeBron James scored just eight total points in Game 4.
|Miami Heat 103, Dallas Mavericks 112|
|Scoring by quarter: 31–30, 26–30, 22–24, 24–28|
|Pts: Dwyane Wade 23
Rebs: James, Bosh 10 each
Asts: LeBron James 10
|Pts: Dirk Nowitzki 29|
Rebs: Tyson Chandler 7
Asts: Kidd, Terry 6 each
|Dallas leads series, 3–2|
After four low-scoring games, Game 5 saw the first time either team would break 100 points in this series. Dallas connected 13 times out of their 19 tries from three-point range. Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and J. J. Barea combined to make 10 of those 13 made threes. Late in the first quarter, Dwyane Wade ran into Brian Cardinal and had to go to the locker room with a hip injury; he eventually returned and hit a 3 to cap a 9–0 run that put Miami in front 99–95 with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Unhappy with Terry for missing a defensive assignment and setting a poor cross-screen, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle pulled Terry from the game, telling him, "Refocus. I'm putting you right back in." After less than a minute, Carlisle subbed in Terry and made the crucial decision to run the offense through him for the rest of the game. This move ignited Dallas' offense, leading them on a game-winning 15–3 run in which Terry scored or assisted on 11 points. With Miami leading 100–97, Terry passed to Dirk Nowitzki, who drew a double team and then kicked it back out to Terry for a game-tying 3. Nowitzki then drove baseline on Chris Bosh for a two-handed dunk (assisted by Terry) with 2:44 left in the game to give the Mavs a 102–100 lead they would not relinquish. After LeBron James was called for an offensive foul (Tyson Chandler drew the charge), Terry found Kidd for another wide-open 3 that gave the Mavs a 105–100 lead with 1:26 left. After Chandler blocked Wade with 1:04 left, Bosh made 1 of 2 free throws to cut the Mavs' lead to 105–101. On the Mavs' next possession, Terry knocked down a 28-foot three-pointer with James closely guarding him to give the Mavs an insurmountable 108–101 lead with 33.3 seconds left. The Mavericks won 112–103 and grabbed a 3–2 series lead going back to Miami.
|Dallas Mavericks 105, Miami Heat 95|
|Scoring by quarter: 32–27, 21–24, 28–21, 24–23|
|Pts: Jason Terry 27
Rebs: Dirk Nowitzki 11
Asts: Jason Kidd 8
|Pts: LeBron James 21|
Rebs: Udonis Haslem 9
Asts: Mario Chalmers 7
|Dallas wins NBA Finals, 4–2|
Lebron James made his first four shots to contribute to the Heat taking a 20–11 lead. The Mavericks went to a zone defense that perplexed Miami and Dallas went on a 21–4 run in a span of 5½ minutes. They made 9 of 12 shots during this stretch with DeShawn Stevenson making three-pointers in a 24-second duration to give Dallas a 40–28 lead with 9:42 left in the first half. Dallas turned Miami's first six turnovers into 14 points. The Heat then went on a 14–0 run to take a 42–40 lead. With 6:25 left in the half, Stevenson along with Udonis Haslem and Mario Chalmers received technical fouls after a scuffle occurred at midcourt during a timeout. In the second half, James did not score until making a layup with 1:49 remaining in the third. The Mavericks led by nine going into the 4th quarter after Ian Mahinmi hit a buzzer beater to give Dallas an 81–72 lead. The Mavericks took a 12-point lead with 8:12 remaining. With 2:27 left, Nowitzki made a jump shot to help build the Mavericks' lead to 99–89. The Mavericks, who led for the final 22 minutes in the game, won their first championship in franchise history. Nowitzki was named Finals MVP. He had a poor shooting performance in the first half but managed to score 18 points in the second half. When the final buzzer sounded, an emotional Nowitzki went straight to the locker room in tears, although he re-emerged for the trophy presentation.
|Points||Dwyane Wade||Miami Heat||36||Dwyane Wade||Miami Heat||26.5||6|
|Rebounds||Tyson Chandler||Dallas Mavericks||16||Dirk Nowitzki||Dallas Mavericks||9.7||6|
|10||LeBron James||Miami Heat||6.8||6|
|4||LeBron James||Miami Heat||1.7||6|
|3||Dwyane Wade||Miami Heat||1.5||6|
|2010–11 Dallas Mavericks roster|
|2010–11 Miami Heat roster|
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|
- Dallas Mavericks
|José Juan Barea||6||3||21.4||.382||.333||.714||2.2||3.2||0.5||0.0||8.8|
- Miami Heat
The Finals were originally projected to begin on Thursday, June 9, but (along with the entire NBA schedule) were pushed up ahead one week to Thursday, June 2 due to negotiations on an impending league-wide lockout at the end of the season. They were again pushed ahead to a start date of May 31 as both conference finals series ended in five games.
The Finals were televised in the United States through ABC, with Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, and Mark Jackson as announcers. Doris Burke was the sideline reporter, while Stuart Scott hosted the championship presentation. Scott also hosted the pre-game and halftime shows along with Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon, and Magic Johnson. ESPN Radio aired the Finals nationally on radio, with Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown, and Jack Ramsay announcing.
Weeks after the NBA Finals ended, the league went to a lockout after the expiration of the previous collective bargaining agreement on July 1. The lockout would last until December 8, after which the league played an abbreviated 66-game season beginning on Christmas Day.
On opening day, the Heat beat the Mavericks 105–94 in Dallas, on the afternoon the Mavericks raised their championship banner. Dallas fielded a virtually different team from the previous year, letting free agents Tyson Chandler, J. J. Barea, Caron Butler, and DeShawn Stevenson go. The Mavericks struggled with their makeshift lineup, which included Lamar Odom and Vince Carter, finishing with 36 wins. The seventh-seeded Mavericks were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who went on to make the 2012 NBA Finals.
The Heat would maintain the momentum of their opening-day win, starting the season with five straight wins, before finishing second in the Eastern Conference behind the Chicago Bulls with 46 wins. The Heat returned to the Finals by beating the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, and Boston Celtics in five, six, and seven games, respectively. After losing Game 1 to the Thunder, the Heat would win four straight games to capture their second NBA championship.
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