Highlights & Other Notable Happenings from 2010-11:
* Of course, the Dallas Mavericks getting revenge. Many people had written them off not long after their collapse in 2006 to Miami, so it just was so appropriate that the two teams faced off again in an epic and competitive 2011 Finals series that managed to keep fans very interested (the Nielsen ratings average was similar to last year’s Lakers/Celtics Finals, which had the best ratings since the classic 2004 match-up between the Lakers and Pistons). No matter what one may think of Mark Cuban, most others in this organization are class individuals and admired veterans, and it’s great to see such a team come out on top.
* Oklahoma City proving their up-and-coming talent and success from the previous season was no fluke. Adding Kendrick Perkins from Boston was a big boost, and it was evident as the team fought through playoff controversy (most notably some growing pains for Russell Westbrook) that they could handle criticism and pressure while still learning along the way. Kevin Durant may very well be the face of the NBA in five years, and if this team manages their egoes and remains healthy, rings could be in the not-too-distant future.
* Derrick Rose’s dominance. He may not have taken his Bulls all the way, but his MVP was deserved – unlike a certain other point guard who clearly didn’t deserve at least one of his trophies a few years ago (sorry, Mr. Nash). Rose can do it all. Sure, he jacks it up at times, but most young players do. With an improving supporting cast and a few more years under his belt, I can see Rose right up there with Durant in terms of big stars leading the way in the league.
* Miami falling back down to earth. Heat fans may not want to hear it, but most other fans got a little annoyed (or VERY, if they live in Cleveland) at some of the LeAntics of the so-called “Big Three.” While I don’t have it out for LeBron like a lot of folks, I think he especially needed to go through the Finals losing experience to put everything in perspective. One cannot be a King without a Crown, and in LeBron’s case, his Crown may be secondary to King Wade’s should those guys bring Miami a title soon.
* To be utterly fair: Dan Gilbert falling back down to earth, too. No matter how emotional and upset a person may get when the star leaves the team, claiming that sad little Cleveland would win a title before LeBron did was a pile of lulz for anyone with a rational brain. 19-63, Dan, 19-63. Now be quiet and patient for awhile, m’kay?
* Kevin Love kicking ass and taking names even as his poor Timberwolves fared worse than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Imagine how much worse the Wolves would have been without him…wow. They may not even have made it to double digit victories. Hopefully we can see Mr. Love one day on a team that can actually compete.
* The Memphis Grizzlies’ post-season run. Their season wasn’t anything too exciting, but oh my how these guys took playoff squads by surprise! They dispatched the Spurs and made jaws drop even further when they nearly took out the Thunder. Does anyone doubt Zach Randolph’s heart anymore? I think not.
* Blake Griffin. Enough said.
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