NBA finals preview

Current minority owner Mark Cuban celebrates with the Mavericks’ bench during game six of the 2011 NBA finals against the Miami Heat. 2011 was the last time the Dallas Mavericks were in the NBA finals. PHOTO COURTESY OF DANNY BOLLINGER / FLICKR

Ben Staker
Sports Editor

The NBA Finals matchup is now set with the Dallas Mavericks taking on the Boston Celtics. For the Mavericks, this will be their first finals appearance since they beat the Miami Heat in 2011. As for the Celtics, they’ll be returning to the finals for the second time in three years.

Coming into this series, there are still many interesting storylines to be concluded. Will Kyrie Irving beat his former team in the finals?  Will Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally get over the hump and bring home a championship? Or will the Mavericks role players continue their hot streak? There’s a lot riding on this series for both sides as the NBA looks to crown their sixth different champion in as many years.

To get here, both teams had very different stories. The Celtics ran the Eastern Conference and finished with a record of 64-18 and the conference’s number one seed. They carried their regular season success into the playoffs by defeating the Heat and Cavaliers in five games each, as well as an Eastern Conference Finals sweep of the Indiana Pacers. After amassing an impressive 12-2 record in the first three rounds of the playoffs they’ll enter the finals as the favorites.

In the Dallas Mavericks case, they have had a different road. They finished the regular season with a 50-32 record, which earned them the Western Conference’s number five seed. They defeated the Clippers and number one-seeded Thunder in six games and the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games. The team didn’t have the luxury of home-court advantage in any playoff series they’ve played so far, and that won’t change for the finals. 

These teams match up well against each other. Despite the narratives you might hear coming into the series, Tatum and Brown will show up in the big moments. Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have already proved they can rise to the occasion for the Mavericks. I think this series will come down to which team can get a signature game from one of their role players.

As of late, P.J. Washington and Daniel Gafford have been able to complement Doncic and Irving. If they’re able to keep this good string of basketball going they can beat the Celtics. However, players like Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, or even Al Horford can have that same kind of impact on the Celtics. Whichever team can get the most out of their depth players will win the series.

I like the Mavericks’ depth more than the Celtics, so I’m picking them for the series in seven games.

Game one of the NBA Finals is set to tip off on Thursday, June 6 at 8:30 p.m.