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The Miami Heat host the Dallas Mavericks for Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night. The two teams met twice in the regular season, and the Heat didn't win either one. And though this round is technically a rematch of the 2006 Finals, which the Heat did won, both squads have undergone extensive makeovers. So how do they match up now, position by position? Here's a look:
CENTER: Tyson Chandler gives the Mavs an interior defensive presence they long lacked, and he can score some, too, notching 14 points and 17 rebounds in a November win over Miami. Joel Anthony can give the Heat a boost with a timely offensive rebound or blocked shot, but he provides next to nothing offensively.
Intangibles: Chandler has no nickname, while 'The Warden''s is one of the best.
POWER FORWARD: Dirk Nowitzki is having as good a postseason as anyone, scoring 28.4 points per game and shooting nearly 52 percent from the field. He had two 40-point games in the Western finals and the chance to make amends for shooting only 39 percent in the Mavs' six-game loss to Miami in 2006. Chris Bosh has figured out his no. 3 role behind LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and is coming off an excellent East finals, averaging 23.2 points to earn a shot against his hometown team.
Intangibles: While we appreciate the twist ending of "Like a Bosh," "The German Moses" will burrow into your brain:
SMALL FORWARD: Quickly swept aside in his lone finals appearance, LeBron James has done everything it takes to give himself another shot, from clutch 3-pointers to timely defensive stops against the opponents' top offensive player. Versatile Shawn Marion's insertion into the starting lineup allowed the Mavs to overcome the season-ending loss of Caron Butler, and he even delivered 26 points in the series-clinching victory over Oklahoma City.
Intangibles: As evidenced by The LeBron James Headband Timeline, LBJ's ability to adapt is woefully underestimated.
SHOOTING GUARD: Dwyane Wade wrecked Dallas' first finals appearance, averaging 34.7 points and winning MVP honors as the Heat rallied from 2-0 down to win the series. He scored 42, 36, 43 and 36 points in the final four games. DeShawn Stevenson is a good defender and will hit an occasional 3-pointer, but the Mavs will have one of their reserves in here when they need to get anything done offensively.
Intangibles: Nothing against Honest Abe, but we'll take D-Wade's sartorial choices over Stevenson's neck tattoo of Abraham Lincoln.
POINT GUARD: This was nearly was the point guard matchup in the 2002 finals, but Mike Bibby's Kings lost Game 7 of the West finals to a Lakers team that went on to sweep Kidd's Nets. Bibby rarely has been a factor since joining the Heat and lacks the speed to take advantage of the 38-year-old Kidd, who has lost a step on offense but played terrific defense looking for a third ring.
Intangibles: Bibby lets teammate Eddie House sleep with his sister (it helps that the two are married). That's a lot of bro points.
RESERVES: With Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem healthy, the Heat can put their best possible lineup on the floor at the most important time. Haslem defended Nowitzki well in 2006 and will get opportunities again. But the Mavericks can surround their All-Star with plenty of perimeter shooting off their bench by going to Jason Terry or Peja Stojakovic, and J.J. Barea's penetration is a good change of pace from Kidd. Brendan Haywood provides a solid backup in the middle to Chandler.
Intangibles: Peja Stojakovic brings some Serbian flair to the Mavs, but no one has more swag than Haslem:
COACHES: Few coaches had tougher jobs than Erik Spoelstra, who many thought wouldn't be around at the finish even if the Heat were. But Pat Riley believes in him and so do the Heat's superstars, whom he's built into one of the league's best defensive squads. Rick Carlisle brought a similar defensive-minded approach to a team that was previously offense first, and his calm demeanor here will be an upgrade over Avery Johnson.
Intangibles: Rick Carlisle may look just like Jim Carrey, but Erik Spoelstra knows how to take a charge.