The Dallas Mavericks entered half-time down by eight against the Houston Rockets. If this was a game they lost, and the Hornets won, they would have been playing Denver. Though that did not happen, they rallied and took over the game in the fourth quarter for a 95-84 win.
The Spurs went into overtime against the New Orleans Hornets, which they won. If they had lost, New Orleans would have won the tie breaker against Dallas and would have been playing New Orleans.
Though, none of that happened, there should be a great matchup between two Texas teams. San Antonio is playing Dallas, in which the Spurs have home court advantage. Previous seasons have proved heart breakers for the Mavs and thinking about those heartaches won't help the team at all.
If Manu had not gone out with an injury for the rest of the season, I would have easily tipped my hat to Greg Popovich crew. Fortunately this is not the case. The Spurs have gone 5-1, since Ginboli went down with the injury, are 0-2 without Ginobli playing against the Mavs, and are 2-0 when he does play against them. They lost by 22 in combined games without Ginobli.
Now Tony Parker has burned the Mavericks in all four meetings, with them averaging 31.3 PPG and shooting 51% from the field. In the two games without Ginobli he has put up 29.5 PPG and is shooting 23/40. On Dallas home court Parker has produced 33 PPG and is shooting 27/50.
In order for this Spurs club to win, Parker is going to have to be effective in all games he plays against Dallas. The Spurs are also going to have to contain Jason "Jet" Terry, and from what Kenny "The Jet" Smith said, JET stands for Jason Eugene Terry.
Probably the favourite to win the sixth man of the year, Terry is putting up 21 PPG against the Spurs. Somebody, either Tony, Finley, Mason, or Bowen, is going to have to stop him.
Jason Kidd is going to have to play his best basketball, since his finals run in 2002-2003 where he averaged 20 PGG and still managed to put up 8.2 APG. Currently, the Spurs don't really have to play such hard defence on Kidd seeing as he does not take alot of shots, nor does he need to, but if he did, it would make the Spurs chance of advancing a living hell.
Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan
Both are all-stars and this will be a great matchup between these two power forwards.
Tim Duncan against Dallas is a good 23 PPG and 14 RPG. There has to be better defence played on Duncan from the Dallas bigs in order for Dallas to really get a pass into the next round.
Dirk Nowitzki is probably going to be a big factor.
In his previous four meetings with San Antonio, he played 43 MPG. I think that playing the same amount of minutes against the Spurs in the playoffs will definitely kill Dallas' chance of winning. He has played his season average against the Spurs at 25.8 PPG and 9.8 RPG. He hasn't been exceptional or under achieving against this team but will need to be exceptional to guide his team to a victory.
J.J Barea can catch on fire for a little guy. San Antonio needs to make sure Jose doesn't get a head of steam going to the rack, otherwise he could be dropping a good 13-15 PPG on them.
Roger Mason JR in his last five games has been producing 15 PPG with 43 percent from field and 45 percent from the arc. Dallas must clamp down on Mason and must not let him get any open looks, otherwise its an automatic three point play.
Drew Gooden's play is going to be a deciding factor in this series. Pairing him with Duncan in the front court is a deadly offensive and defensive matchup.
I think if San Antonio can play consistently and their stars provide much more than average plus their bench plays spectacularly, I would give this game to the Spurs.
Dallas is going to have to have Nowitzki step up, and Terry, Howard, and Kidd are going to have to play with a sense of urgency and try to get rid of those previous playoff heartaches.
My thought is, Mavs in seven.