In the end, the team whipped the Trio (38327)

Few people can get a point across like Magic Johnson. The former Laker great was at his best breaking down the Dallas Mavericks’ defeat of the Miami Heat in six games for their first NBA title.

How did Dallas do what most people thought they couldn’t? Magic had the answer: “10 guys beat three guys.” It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Dallas played like a team, going 10 deep and getting help from everywhere, while the Heat’s big three transformed into a microscopic three. How did that happen?

It was a combination of things. It was great clutch play from Dirk Nowitzki, who had 62 fourth-quarter playoff points, a hot-shooting Jason Terry, savvy coaching from Rick Carlisle and a rotation that pressured the Heat at every turn. All of this brings us to an interesting question: What formula works?

Going with the big three and a weak supporting cast and bench or one star and a roster full of solid players? It’s probably not a fair question because Dallas had veterans like Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and Terry–four players who have each been in the league for at least a decade with a ton of playoff experience. Compare that to a Heat supporting cast that included the likes of Eddie House, Mario Chalmers, Joel Anthony and Mike Bibby. No contest!

“This is a win for playing as a team on both ends of the floor,” said Nowitzki, who was named NBA Final MVP. “We’ve been doing that all season long.”

The Mavericks emphasized the team aspect of the game, while the Heat tried to rely on its big money trio of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. That philosophy would’ve worked had James been at his best. But he wasn’t even close.

Unlike the Heat, Dallas survived when Nowitzki struggled. The German dynamo had 21 points, but shot just 1-for-12 in the first half of Sunday’s 105-95 series-clinching win. As usual, the Mavericks came to his aid–Terry especially, who scored 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting. Even the little water bug J.J. Barea got in on the act with 15 points. You can’t say the same about the Heat.

When James faltered, it was lights out. Even if Wade and Bosh took on the challenge, it wouldn’t have made a difference, because in the end, you can’t expect three guys to beat 10.