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When the words “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat” were uttered on national television, the NBA was changed forever. For players, the NBA was no longer about being picked by a team and building them up to be the best.  Instead, the NBA turned into a league where stars choose their teams and collaborate with other stars to maximize their chances of winning multiple championships. The new, younger generation of the “Big Three” and younger role players was born.

Dirk Nowitzki was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998 and immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He hasn’t moved since, making a home in Dallas and gaining the adoration and trust of the city over the past 13 years. He has played with superstars such as Michael Finley and Steve Nash, and his current supporting cast includes veterans such as Jason Kidd and Jason Terry. The Mavericks have developed as a team with a dynamic chemistry that is envied across the league.

The 2011 NBA Finals is a clash of the giants: a team built by acquiring big names in the off season (Miami) versus a team of veterans who have grown together to create an actual team instead of simply a starting line up of players (Dallas). But the Heat have demonstrated a successful chemistry of their own, especially in their lock-down defense. They have held the Mavericks – a team who averaged 102.25 points against defending champs L.A. Lakers (including a decisive 122 points in game 4) – to an average of 89 points in the first three games of the series.

The series is currently 2-1, Miami.  Game 1 was a runaway victory; the Mavericks seemed fatigued by the Heat’s fast paced transition game. Game 2 was tied in the last 24 seconds of the game. Nowitzki saw Chris Bosh guarding him (he hadn’t guarded him all series) and easily took him to the basket for a lay up with 3 seconds left, winning the game by 2 points. Game 3 also ended with a last second shot by Nowitzki – but this time, to no avail.  The Heat took a 2-1 series lead.  Now statistical history is in favor of the Heat taking the series, first for being the higher seed, and also for being up 2 games to 1.

The last time the Mavericks made the finals, they lost to the Heat in 6. Due to their aging talent, this may be their last opportunity to win a championship for the next few years. Dirk Nowitzki, a 7-foot-sharp-shooter, deserves a championship more than anyone in the NBA. His passion is seen on and off the court and his work ethic is unmatched by anyone in the league. He is the natural leader of the Mavericks.

The average price for NBA Finals tickets to attend a game in Miami is $666.03, while in Dallas it is $678.94, both of which have risen since the beginning of the series.  This is all due to the playoff system; Dallas has games 3, 4 and 5, while Miami is home to games 1, 2, 6 and 7. Game 3, 4 and 5 prices can outweigh the average price of 1, 2, 6 and 7. But the anticipation for games 6 and 7 in Miami with average prices of $808.19 and $877.30 highlight the hype of this series and the star-power of these two teams.

Buying NBA Finals tickets now for later in the series would be worth it. The series so far suggests a dramatic 6, possibly 7 game series. Miami ran away with game 1 in a 92-84 victory. It seemed as if the age of the Mavericks had caught up to them throughout the playoffs but came to play in game 2 with a buzzer beater lay-up put in by Dirk. Game 4 tonight shows promise to be no less thrilling. These ticket prices are high and show no signs of dropping in price.  This NBA finals continues the era of teams stacked with big names versus naturally developed teams.

Image via Flickr user thehoores24