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Statistical analysis helps Mavs win Finals

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MIAMI -- Score one for the geeks. The Dallas Mavericks won their first-ever championship for a lot of different reasons, most of which rhyme with the word "Birk." But in a playoffs in which the difference between winning and losing was razor-thin, at the margin a key difference was that their brain trust was consistently a step ahead of the competition … It’s a victory for the data-driven approach that Dallas' coaching staff has taken, starting with Carlisle -- unquestionably the most cerebral and stat-friendly of the league’s 30 head coaches -- and down to director of basketball analytics Roland Beech, the 82games.com founder who joined the Mavs on the bench last season and earned the unofficial title of "first stat geek with a championship ring" with such access to the coaching staff. To say "every button he pushed worked" is technically true, but also misses the point. He wasn’t throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what would stick, he was making calculated adjustments that he knew had a great chance of success. That’s why they all worked…. And let me reiterate that the geeks played a big role. The Mavericks knew which lineups and pairings worked for them and optimized their rotations accordingly. But it wasn’t just about personnel usage in the NBA Finals -- it was play calls, game planning and countless in-season adjustments that built to this moment…. "Roland was a key part to all his," Cuban said. "I give a lot of credit to Coach Carlisle for putting Roland on the bench and interfacing with him, and making sure we understood exactly what was going on. Knowing what lineups work, what the issues were in terms of play calls and training." "It makes a difference. I think Jason and JET and Dirk and Tyson Chandler make a whole lot more difference, but if you don’t know what’s going on it’s hard for you to get smarter and get better." The Mavs did both, and it’s a big reason they’re champions.

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