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The Mavericks Must Give The Effort Needed One More Time

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This is not competetive slip-'n'-slide, Dwyane. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
This is not competetive slip-'n'-slide, Dwyane. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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The Mavericks are a game away from being the 2011 NBA Champions.

That's not a sentence I expected to be writing at the beginning of the season. Or after losing Caron for the year. Or after not making a blockbuster trade at the deadline. Or after stumbling to the end of the season. Or after crumbling as Brandon Roy dominated Game 4 of the first round series. So, just for good measure, let's say it once more.

The Mavericks are a game away from being the 2011 NBA Champions.

They've got two chances to win said game, both in the American Airlines Arena. Statistics paint a pretty clear picture of when the Mavericks need to do this. Teams who win Game 5 of the NBA Finals and take a 3-2 lead, then go on the road for Games 6 and 7, have won four out of the seven occurrences. All four times it has been in Game 6. Meanwhile, a road team winning Game 7 has only happened three times, in seventeen possible chances. The last time was the Washington Bullets upsetting the Seattle Supersonics in 1978. When its a contest between two now non-existent teams, you know its been a while.

Its been said many times, by me and others, but the Mavericks are a veteran team. They know what's at stake. Just look at Jason Terry. "We want to get the first one," he said, not quite answering Doris Burke's question of "how do you get a win on the road" but showing the clear sentiment among the Mavericks. Its not Game 6 or bust, but the Mavericks are treating Game 6 as the Game 7. They will play as it as if they're going home.

But how to win? They've won on Miami's court once in these Finals, as well as the only time the played them in Florida during the regular season. The painful memories that once haunted the arena now are filled with memories of a season series sweep in Miami to end their twelve game winning streak and of a miraculous comeback down fifteen points.

And the Mavericks know how to win. Just take this postseason. They've overcome huge deficits, beating Oklahoma City in Game 4 while trailing by 15 with just five minutes to go, and obviously Game 2 of the Finals just last week. They've won with Dirk struggling to score, most recently his flu game but even before that Game 3 against Oklahoma City, where he was just 7-21 from the field. They've won by aggressive and persistent rebounding, such as Game 5 of the first round series against the Trail Blazers, where Tyson Chandler ripped down thirteen offensive rebounds on his way to twenty total. They've beaten teams with insane three point shooting: take your pick of pretty much any Los Angeles series game. And finally, they've beaten teams thanks to Dirk Nowitzki. A vast majority of games fall under this category, but Mavericks-Thunder Game 1 stands out in particular.

The Mavericks only need one of the ways, though. One way, any way, whatever it takes to get a victory. That'd be enough to make these Dallas Mavericks the 2011 NBA Championship.