NBA Finals: Heat fulfilling all of their promise

Can the Mavericks hold down LeBron James? Or is the King ready for his crown?

It’s plenty easy to get interested in this year’s NBA Finals, which begin tonight in Miami.

But there’s one hard part: Deciding who to root for.

Out of the Eastern Conference, there’s the Miami Heat, the team that blew up its entire roster last summer to hitch its whole future to three max-contract superstars.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have delivered, of course, bringing three series wins, along with their talents, to South Beach.

Out of the Western Conference, meanwhile, come the Dallas Mavericks. Sure, the Mavs have the relatively unhateable Dirk Nowitzki and the ultra-scrappy J.J. Barea. But they also rock one of sports’s great loudmouths in owner Mark Cuban.

Don’t expect to be able to pick your poison based on on-court performance. Both teams rolled through the conference playoffs — they lost just six games between them, winning four series by 4-1 margins.

Tale of the tape

Game 1 tonight
9 p.m., ABC

» The situation
The clear two best teams in the NBA are meeting on the league’s biggest stage.
» The line
Miami -4.5, and -200 on the money line. Dallas is +170 on the money line.
» The keys
This comes down to two  superstars: Dirk Nowitzki or LeBron James. Whoever rises will lift his team, too.


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