Invariably after a team in any major sport wins a championship, a flood of quotes come forth from the team’s players and coaches (and sometimes, owners) lauding the team, from the superstars to the role players, to, for the lack of a better term, bench-warmers. The Mavericks’ victory over the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals is no different--but in this case, the praise for literally every member of the team is justified.
If anyone doubts as much, they need look no further than Game 6, the series clinching victory.
Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ unwavering leader, began the game on an uncharacteristic, and almost unthinkable cold streak--yet the team didn’t fall into a major hole, as guys like Jet Terry and Shawn Marion produced offense. Center Tyson Chandler got into foul trouble late in the game, and Ian Mahimni replaced him without missing a beat. Brian Cardinal--”the Custodian”--hit crucial shots for the second consecutive game.
It’s cliche, but in this case, it’s very true: this was a team victory.
“I mean, [Miami] had three pieces, but we have 14 or 15. With that kind of confidence in each other -- the system, the coaching staff -- we just believed,” said Terry. “This team has the heart the size of Texas.”
Nowitzki was deservedly, and unsurprisingly awarded the Finals MVP, but he was rightfully full of praise for his supporting cast on Sunday night, the culmination of his impressive, and now more complete, 14-year career.
"I couldn't get in a rhythm today for some reason," Nowitzki said. "The team carried me all night long. (Terry) came out aggressive. I've got to give it up to the fellows. They were unbelievable tonight."