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2006 basketball championship series

The 2006 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2005–06 NBA season and the conclusion of the season’s playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks were favored to win the championship over the Miami Heat.[1] Despite these odds, the Heat won the title in six games over the Mavericks, becoming the third team—after the 1969 Celtics, the 1977 Trail Blazers and later the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers and 2021 Milwaukee Bucks—to win a championship after trailing 0–2 in the series. Dwyane Wade of the Heat was named Most Valuable Player of the series.[2]

The series featured two teams who had never previously appeared in the Finals for the first time since 1971, and it was consequently the first Finals since 1978 where neither team had previously won an NBA title. The next Finals appearance for both franchises would come five years later in 2011, with the Mavericks winning the rematch over the Heat.

This was the second NBA Finals match-up of teams from Florida and Texas, after the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic contested the 1995 NBA Finals. Until the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals, it was the last Finals loss by a team from Texas (Houston lost in 1981 and 1986) versus eight Finals victories (five by San Antonio, two by Houston, and one by Dallas). This was the only Finals of the 2000s not to involve the Los Angeles Lakers or the San Antonio Spurs, and the first since 1995 not to feature either Phil Jackson or Gregg Popovich as head coach. It was also the first Finals where the same company (American Airlines) owned the naming rights to both home arenas; however, the Miami arena is now known as the Kaseya Center.


The Miami Heat joined the league in the 1988–89 season, but they did not rise to prominence until they hired Pat Riley to be their head coach and president before the 1995–96 season. In Riley’s first stint, the Heat were playoff regulars between 1996 and 2001, however, the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks always thwarted Miami’s dreams of a championship or even a Finals berth. However, when the team drafted Dwyane Wade fifth overall in 2003, things started to look up for the Heat. They went 42-40 under interim coach Stan Van Gundy, making the playoffs after a 2-year hiatus. They defeated the New Orleans Hornets in the first round, but they ultimately fell to the Pacers in 6 games.[3] The 2004 offseason saw the addition of Shaquille O’Neal, and with Wade and O’Neal performing well, the Heat won 59 games in the 2004–05 season, as they took the defending champions Detroit Pistons to seven games in the conference finals. The following season, after an early 11–10 start, Van Gundy resigned and Riley returned to coaching. Though injuries and lack of chemistry hobbled the Heat initially, they still managed to win 52 games that season. After a culmination of harmony and momentum came together just before the playoffs, they started their postseason run by defeating the Bulls in six games, then eliminated the New Jersey Nets in five games, and then ousted the 64-win 4 all-star Pistons in six games to reach the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Path to the Finals[edit]

Regular-season series[edit]

The Dallas Mavericks won both games in the regular season series:


Miami Heat[edit]

2005–06 Miami Heat roster
Players Coaches
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • (DL) On assignment to D-League affiliate