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In the NBA Finals, offense trumps defense

by Berry Tramel Published: June 19, 2011
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In 2008, you had the defense-dominant Celtics. In 2003, 2005 and 2007, the Spurs were defense-dominant champions. In 2004, the Pistons beat the Lakers in five games, and LA averaged 77.5 points a game in its four losses.

Well, you get the idea. Defense wins championships. Then along comes the Mavericks, who in the two pivotal games of their franchise history allow an average of 99 points a game and a combined 50 percent shooting, yet win going away, against a team primed to play stiff defense.

Who knows if it's an aberration or the start of a trend? But if this is something more than Nowitzki-in-a-bottle, that's probably a good thing for the Thunder.

A team transitioning to James Harden starting in place of Thabo Sefolosha? An easier decision to make if offense becomes more valuable.

Trying to decide how much to pay Daequan Cook? Maybe a little more than originally thought, if stretching the court with perimeter shooting can be as effective as Dallas made it.

Either way, defense remains important. Don't forget those first four Miami-Dallas games. Nick Collison, and Kendrick Perkins, and Thabo, and Serge Ibaka, all remain vital to protecting the basket. And if Russell Westbrook wants to turn into a primo defender, all the better.

But the Mavericks' performance in Game 5 and Game 6 showed us that, at least in these Finals and maybe beyond, you can win with offense.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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