With the NBA Finals underway, it’s fun to speculate about how a previous championship squad would fair against either this year’s Warriors or Cavaliers teams. Well, over at CBS Sports, Matt Moore, everyone’s favorite NBA curmudgeon, takes that concept a bit further. Moore takes a deep dive into the last 16 champions to see which one would come out on top. Just like the Highlander, there can be only one.
So why, dear reader, should you care about this project? After all, Moore hates your team. Or does he? Well, since you’re reading this on a Dallas Mavericks blog you may be interested to see what he has to say about the 2011 championship team.
First, you should know that he seeded that team 11th overall. Ugh, I know. They’d be first if we made the bracket. *cough* They beat LeBron and his super friends but more importantly they beat that dastardly Wade. *cough* But anyway, the 2011 Mavs find themselves matched up against the 2008 Celtics, the team that ushered in the modern era of super teams.
Tough draw. Even tougher when you know Moore hates your team, right? That Celtics team, which knocked off the Lakers in the Finals that season, featured the likes of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, Sam Cassell, Tony Allen, Eddie House, “Big Baby” Glen Davis, James Posey, and the transcendent Brian Scalabrine. Look, no one is beating the Red Mamba. It just can’t be done.
I’ll let Moore take it from here:
(6) 2008 Celtics vs. (11) 2011 Mavericks: Upset! OK, I say this with full and complete respect for that 2008 Celtics team, which is why I had them as a sixth seed here. Their defensive was amazing, and they had so many extremely clutch players. But even with Kevin Garnett guarding out-of-his-mind Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks have too many counters. Shawn Marion is slipping to the basket. Jason Terry is getting free on 3-pointers. Tyson Chandler is protecting the rim. The 2011 Mavericks were not impressive on paper but they were damn impressive when they played. They swept the defending champions in the second round. Dallas has the 3-point advantage, a versatility advantage and DeShawn Stevenson to do something completely insane. Rajon Rondo wasn't quite ready for what he'd need to be in this matchup. Pierce goes off, but the Mavericks are too balanced.
Winner: 2011 Mavericks in seven (advances to next round)
OMG! The Mavs won?! They made it to the second round of the playoffs?! That’s still a possibility?! Happy happy joy joy! DIRK IS SUPERIOR TO KG! PRAISE BE TO THE BIG GERMAN! Okay, who got next? We reaaaady, we reaaaaa...
The 2001 Lakers.
Oh. *wimpers* Well gang, it was fun while it lasted. I’ll let Moore give you the details:
(3) 2001 Lakers vs. (11) 2011 Mavericks: Well, the Mavericks at least have a guy who can guard Shaq for a while with Tyson Chandler. And the 3-point problem is really an issue here. But the Mavs have no one to guard Kobe Bryant at that point. He's too athletic, too fast and can score in volume. Horace Grant and Horry are getting torched by Nowitzki, but eventually, the Lakers just get too much going inside, even as the Mavericks keep hitting 3's.
Winner: 2001 Lakers in seven (advances to Final Four)
This is just Moore’s opinion. You don’t have to share it. Besides he hates your team. So, where do you think the 2011 Mavs rank in the last 16 champions? We’re biased here at MMB and you can be too.