Youth wasted on the Young! Dallas rallies to eliminate OKC in Game 5 of the West Finals!

Mavs win. Mavs win.
(image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DAL over OKC, 100-96 (DAL wins 4-1)

Textbook. Experience trumping talent. Veteran savvy getting the better of youthful exuberance. Battle-hardened (pun not intended) warriors getting another shot at glory at the expense of upstarts with a bright future.
Not this year KD
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


At least the Oklahoma Thunder can pencil this in as a valuable lesson in the class of “Winning an NBA Title.” The Thunder were good. They reached this deep into the playoffs by beating some great teams, but it just wasn’t their time.

It’s Dallas’s time, at least out West.

For the second time in a decade the Mavericks are headed to the NBA Finals. For the second time Dirk Nowitzki has a chance to win it all and cement a place in the Hall-of-Fame. Many of his other teammates are hoping to cash in on this oh-so-rare opportunity as well.

One may even go as far as labeling this Dallas team the “Heartbreak Kids.” The collective postseason past of Dirk, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Peja Stojakovic is littered with sob stories, of won games lost at the most crucial moments, of leads devoured, and chances missed.

But this hardy group of weary warriors has one more shot. One more shot at evicting the pain of seasons past. One more shot at proving the doubters wrong. One more shot at immortality.

And a laundry-list of people can be thanked for that shot.

Kidd still has some steam in those aging legs. He dished out 10 assists against only a single turnover in Game 5. He is still the best pure-pass-first PG in the world.

Kidd’s backcourt partner JJ Barea is the Texan Whirling Dervish. His diminutive stature masks his uncanny ball-handling skills and ability to get into the smallest of defensive creases.

We can’t say enough about Terry. He’s been awesome off the bench for Dallas. He didn’t win the 6th Man of the Year award, but, again, he has a chance to snag something better.

Peja hasn’t been very consistent, but he’s hit big shots when called upon, and he will be called upon to hit some more in his first trip to the Finals. He failed to do it as a King, but he can do it as a Mav.

And then there’s Dirk. Yep. Dirk. Do you really need to know anymore?
Tyson Chandler is the BIG diff
(image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

But the BIGGEST difference, and this I write in all honesty, that makes this Dallas squad much more formidable than any other before it, is Tyson Chandler. No way Dallas would be here without him, Dirk’s stellar play notwithstanding. Chandler provided something that Eric Dampier failed to give Dallas all those years before. He’s big, athletic, feisty, just the kind of beastly inside presence to get a team over the hump.

And the Mavs have gotten over this hump.

Whether they’ll finally nail a title, well, that’s still up in the air. No textbook can answer that.

JJ Barea has been a big spark
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki returns to the NBA Finals
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Can Shawn Marion finally erase those
years of heartbreaking losses?
(image by AP/Getty Images)
Dallas toasts the West title
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Russell Westbrook has a long time to think
about all the shots he missed
(image by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dirk is the Nightly Notable:

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