Game 1: Mavericks @ Spurs. 12 pm CT on TNT.
The Dallas Mavericks (8) and state rival San Antonio Spurs (1) are set to begin their playoff series. This will mark the sixth time that the Mavericks and Spurs will meet in the postseason during the Dirk-Duncan era.
Nine and Counting?: San Antonio has won the last nine meeting against the Mavericks. You’d think Dallas is due for a win, right?
Legends: This series features two of the greatest big men to every play in Texas and the NBA. No denying both Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki will be asked to do a lot. Samuel Dalembert will have the early responsibilities of trying to guard and keep Duncan off the boards. Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw will be matched on Nowitzki for the majority of the game.
Lights Out: Plenty of scoring and shooting between these two teams. Jose Calderon, Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Danny Green, Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli, and Manu Ginobili can shoot the 3-ball. No wonder both are tops in the league in 3 point percentage. First team that can limit their opponents looks has a greater chance of winning.
Tony Parker: The key to the Spurs offense. If he’s able to get into the paint at will, the Mavericks will be on the wrong end of scoreboard.
Monta Ellis: Ellis is to the Mavericks, what Parker is to the Spurs. Ellis will need to challenge and attack the Spurs defense. If there’s any player on the Mavericks the Spurs will struggle against besides Nowitzki, it’s Ellis.
Defense: One of the worst defensive teams in the league, the Mavericks will need to find a way to change that in the playoffs. Keeping Parker out of the paint will be a great start.
Parker vs Calderon: The Mavericks need Calderon to have a positive impact on the game. We know what to expect from Parker; he’s going to attack, attack, and attack. For Calderon, if he’s off early on, the Mavericks may have to play big minutes to Devin Harris.
The Mavericks are huge underdogs and rightfully so. For them to prove they can compete with the Spurs, it begins in this game. If they get blown out, it may just be a preview for the rest of the series.