The Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki comes down with a rebound.
Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki is a world-class player. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Keith Allison/Flickr)

The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks will tip off the 2011 NBA Finals on Tuesday, May 31, at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. The Heat will have home-court advantage in the best-of-seven series. Get your hoop on with this NBA Finals schedule and a look at these titans of the court.

NBA Finals schedule: Watch on ABC, listen on ESPN and Sirius

All 2011 NBA Finals games will air on ABC television and broadcast on ESPN Radio and Sirius XM satellite radio. The game schedule is as follows:

Game 1: Tuesday, May 31 in Miami, 9 p.m. ET
Game 2: Thursday, June 2 in Miami, 9 p.m. ET
Game 3: Sunday, June 5 in Dallas, 8 p.m. ET
Game 4: Tuesday, June 7 in Dallas, 9 p.m. ET
Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday, June 9 in Dallas, 9 p.m. ET
Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, June 12 in Miami, 8 p.m. ET
Game 7 (if necessary): Tuesday, June 14 in Miami, 9 p.m. ET

The dynamic duo, plus two

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the dynamic duo for the Miami Heat that can scare any defense. Both players are superstars who can score in nearly any way imaginable, and as the season progressed, they learned how to play alongside one another effectively.

Yet when the Heat are in danger of going cold, the ball goes to “King” James. James’ freakish combination of size, athleticism, shooting touch and basketball IQ cannot be contained. Thus, Dallas will have to keep his teammates down, which is a chore, particularly when Wade’s offense is flowing. If Chris Bosh plays to the letter of his ability as well and Udonis Haslem manages to bang Dirk Nowitzki into a pulp of nerves and bruises the Miami Heat will win the 2011 NBA Finals in five games.

New Nowitzki surrounded by veteran fire

Careful passing and a commitment to challenging James and Wade on the offensive end will not only ensure that the Dallas Mavericks remain in the series, but it should spell victory against the less experienced Heat. Dirk Nowitzki is on fire in the playoffs (28.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game), and his increased lower body strength has enabled him to muscle his way to his favorite spots on the floor more easily, as Haslem will discover. The two Jasons – Kidd and Terry – bring veteran savvy, yet still have plenty of pep in the backcourt. The same can be said for Shawn “The Matrix” Marion, who has made key plays.

Considering that the championship window is nearly closed for Kidd, Terry and Marion, their sense of urgency is palpable. Not only that, but Nowitzki appears to have finally ditched the catcalls of being “soft.” With the instant offense of Jose Barea and length of Tyson Chandler, the Dallas Mavericks – barring injuries – will defeat the Miami Heat in seven games.

Wait until next year, LeBron.


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