The 2011 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2010–11 season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the conclusion of the season’s playoffs. The Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks defeated the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat, 4–2, to win their first NBA title. Dallas became the latest NBA team from Texas to win its first title, after the Houston Rockets won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995, and the San Antonio Spurs won four NBA Championships in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007, and a fifth one subsequently in 2014; all three Texas NBA teams have now won at least one NBA Championship. It was also the first time in four years that the Los Angeles Lakers did not make the Finals, having been swept in the Western Conference Semifinals by the eventual champion, Dallas Mavericks.
The series was held from May 31 to June 12, 2011—the first to start before June 1 since the 1986 NBA Finals. Under the 2–3–2 rotation, the Miami Heat had home-court advantage; the Heat hosted Games 1, 2, and 6, and was set to host a deciding Game 7, had one been necessary. German player Dirk Nowitzki was named the Finals MVP. Nowitzki was the second European to win the award after Tony Parker (2007); he is the first German to win the award.
Going into the series, the Heat were heavy favoriteswith their newly acquired stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh along with returning star Dwyane Wade. The series was a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, which was won by the Heat in six games after Dallas blew a 2–0 series lead.
The Dallas Mavericks became the first team in NBA history since the institution of the 2–3–2 format to enter Game 3 tied at one, lose Game 3 and still win the Finals. The previous 11 times this occurred, the Game 3 winner went on to win the series.
The Dallas Mavericks also became just the 7th team, and the first since 1988, to come back and win the Finals after being down in the series two or more separate times (one game to none, and later two games to one). The previous six times this happened, the Finals ended in seven games; Dallas became the first team in NBA history to do it in six games.
ABC averaged a 10.1 rating, 11.7 million households and nearly 17.3 million viewers with the 2011 Finals, according to Nielsen.