NBA Finals Notebook
MIAMI ó Itís the matchup that basketball fans might really want to see.
Not Heat vs. Mavericks. LeBron vs. Dirk.
Thereís a chance at some point in the NBA finals, which begin Tuesday when Dallas visits Miami, that Heat forward LeBron James may find himself guarding Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki.
If it happens, James said he will accept the challenge.
ěPeople see me as a really good defender and him as the best offensive player,î James said. ěSo they automatically put me on him. Whatever it takes. If I need to guard him throughout the course of the series, I will. It doesnít matter to me.î
The Heat will likely use an array of players on Nowitzki, including Chris Bosh, Joel Anthony and Udonis Haslem, who fared particularly well against the 7-foot sharpshooter when Miami beat Dallas in the 2006 title series.
ěI donít think the same things that worked five years ago will work this year,î Haslem said. ěItís going to be a team effort. … When he gets the ball, everybody has to be at attention.î
For his part, Nowitzki sounds like heíll be prepared for whatever Miami has.
ěTheyíre a very good team with three superstars who can really, really defend,î Nowitzki said. ěTheyíve showed that in the playoffs so far. Theyíre very good defensively. Yeah, itís going to be a challenge. Hopefully weíre going to be up for it.î
OH, HAIL!: The Mavericks wonít be flying their usual team plane to Miami on Sunday. Hail that pummeled the Dallas-Fort Worth area in recent days damaged both jets owned by team owner Mark Cuban.
TICKET WATCH: Have $118,000 burning a hole in your wallet?
Well, then, you can grab four courtside seats to Game 1 of the NBA finals.
Someone on the online reseller StubHub had that package of four seats listed for the low, low price of $29,500 apiece on Saturday. Standing-room seats were slightly more affordable, listed for $148 in some cases.
TicketNetwork.com, said the average price for a seat at Game 1 was going for around $1,150. The highest-priced item in its available inventory Saturday was a suite for $42,413.
NOTES: According to Bodog.com, the Heat were a 1.7-1 favorite to win the NBA title at the start of the season, while Dallas was a 20-1 pick. The site also lists Miami as the favorite in this matchup. … Since the start of the 2005-06 season, LeBron James has played in 376 wins, second-most in the NBA behind Lakers point guard Derek Fisher (378). … If he plays in the first three games of the finals, Mavericks sixth-man Jason Terry will be the first NBA player to appear in 100 games this season. Four members of the Oklahoma City Thunder ó James Harden, Serge Ibaka, Eric Maynor and Russell Westbrook ó appeared in 99. … The Heat already tied a franchise record with 70 wins this season ó not set by the 2006 title team, but by the 2004-05 club that lost in the Eastern Conference finals.
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