Mavericks Mumblings

Anyone can leave a message

Saturday, May 06, 2006

NBA WC Semi Finals: Mavs-Spurs

Imagine a desolate street, windows creaking due to the incessant wind, townspeople peeping through the cracks for a glimpse and two Texans fighting over a salacious girl in the centre of the town throwing out clichés like “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us”. They face each other and draw their guns, the quickest “competitor” defeats his opponent with reflexes and aim, and he wins over the girl and rides off into the sunset – soon to inevitably face another problem.

Adapt this scenario from a cheesy Western film to the highlife, glitzed-out lifestyles of the NBA players in the playoffs and you get a scene eerily similar to the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Two Texas teams battle it out, where reflexes and aim will be two big factors in deciding who advances for a date in the Western Conference Finals.

Enough with my lame metaphor riddled comparisons, the Mavericks will have their hands full with the reigning NBA champs when the series starts on Sunday at midday.

"Dallas has probably been off longer than Avery wants them to be," said Poppovich. "We will be more tired than we want to be."

The series will be a clash of matchups; Coach of the Year Avery Johnson against mentor Gregg Poppovich (Johnson won a ring in ’99 with the Spurs). Amnesty day victim Michael Finley playing against the team where he played 9 seasons. Dirk Nowitzki clashing heads with Tim Duncan à two of the premier players in the league. Dallas needs to remember their Nellie roots and capitalize on mismatches, because, obviously with Dirk the oppositions defense is going to be muddled and the perimeter match ups will vary from (for example): Duncan to Howard or Oberto to Daniels. Dallas needs to take advantage of this and these players need to score on the perimeter, dragging them out further and further from their comfort zone. They need to make them stick out like when Van Horn went to the Million Man March.

So what does Dallas have to do to win the series? Well, where to begin…

The Mavericks need to play their own game plan, not get sucked into the Spurs slow style – which means exposing a (rare) flaw in the Spurs system by running and gunning (and they’re good at that as well).

There’s yet to be a game where these two teams have been healthy, and the looming series hopes to provide that (knock on wood), both teams are extremely deep and Dallas needs to be able to rest their players and still compete, the bench production needs to be big, Mengke Bateer big.

Although, Dallas’ defense is more improved than Boris, they still need to focus on boxing out to stop them from dominating the offensive boards as they have done in prior matchups – guys like Oberto, Duncan and Mohammed made the frontline look the Mavericks where Shawn Bradley and Juwan Howard manned the paint. Subsequently, the offensive rebounds lead to second chance points and because of the potent offensive daggers San Antonio has, it’s always a threat to be stabbed.

Dallas matches up well with San Antonio defensively, playoff rookie DeSagana Diop plays Tim Duncan quite well with his athleticism and timing on shot blocking, Griffin and Howard will hassle whomever they guard and most importantly with Devin Harris becoming healthy, Dallas will have someone to run with Tony Parker and challenge him. If Parker should get through, the Mavericks need to rotate on defense and have someone step in front of him to not give him an easy lay-up, which was something they did quite well recently. Dallas’ weakness still lies here though, they have struggled with perimeter defense (and it is obvious), they are thrown out by fakes and have weak 3 point defense. Tim Duncan is not the player he used to be, he averaged 18/9 against a soft Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas – but he is still capable of All-NBA level play by anchoring the post and scoring in the paint.. He’s just not that good.

One of the biggest factors in this series will be not physical, but mental. Dallas has shown they can come into the Spurs house, take off their shoes and make themselves at home, they love the hate given to them by the Spurs fans. Momentum will play a huge part of the games, when a team has momentum they can will their shots in and they break into another gear, a gear they rarely use. Momentum mixed with intensity will take San Antonio by storm and show them a new Dallas they’ve never encountered.

With that said, I am predicting Dallas wins in 7 games. The Spurs may have playoff experience, but I am feeling it for Dallas, who are the only team to have swept their opening round match up.

It is better to be rusty for 2 quarters than unhealthy for a series.

So as the first matchup draws closer and closer, the Mavericks need Dirk Nowitzki to be their Clint Eastwood by overcoming the deadly and dirty villain of Bruce Bowen.

I’ll leave with a fitting Manu Ginobili quote. It's going to be like the conference finals”.


Post a Comment

<< Home