NBA Playoffs 2011: 7 Players Who Must Step Up for Mavericks to Beat Thunder

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NBA Playoffs 2011: 7 Players Who Must Step Up for Mavericks to Beat Thunder
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks are in the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2006.

To get here, they had to go through two difficult teams—the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers.

Against the Blazers, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki had amazing performances in Games 1 and 2 to give the Mavericks a 2-0 series lead. Despite Portland’s valiant efforts to come back, Dallas won in six games.

The Lakers series was an upset of epic proportions, and Nowitzki proved he is still one of the best in the game. He outplayed Kobe Bryant and the Mavs swept the Lakers in a team effort.

The Mavericks now find themselves in the conference finals. They have a superstar who is practically unstoppable and a collection of players who know their roles—and execute them to perfection.

To get past the young and athletic Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mavs must play their best basketball.

Here are the seven players who must step up for the Dallas Mavericks to beat the OKC Thunder and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.

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