Well, the Mavs took care of the Blazers in 6 games. Just like…well, just like I had predicted. But no Dougie dance here, just a mention. What needed to come together for the Mavs in their first round series against a big and tough Blazer team did just that. The bench showed up, it may have been different guys on different nights, but that’s why the Mavs depth is so valuable. Kidd and Chandler (when not in foul trouble) had particularly good series’. Dirk brought exactly what he has brought to every payoff game the past 10 seasons…roughly 25 and 10 per contest…26 and 11 in closeout games. No big deal. Terry also added 17.3 ppg. The Mavs stepped up their defense in this series holding Portland to just 88 points per game. While Carlisle’s rotation at times made me scratch my head, he usually had right mix at the right times. Have fun fishing Blazers.
So, Mavs move on. With much more work to do. The 2 time defending champs Los Angeles Lakers are up next. Bigger, stronger, more experienced, you name it, more than the Blazers. This is the first time that the Mavs and Lakers will meet in the playoffs since the 1988 Western Conference Finals. The word of the day for Lakers fans is sweep. The Mavs and their fans are not surprised at all by the lack of respect that is given to the Mavs. #1 because, well, let’s be honest we are talking about Lakers fans here and #2 I’ll be the first to admit that the Mavs have done nothing as a team since their 2006 finals trip that would or should warrant post season respect. The Mavs want to earn it. And an opportunity to earn it they have. The Mavs have added the two bigs of Chandler and Haywood over the past two seasons, to add the size that is believed to be needed in the west. (also reference the Kendrick Perkins trade) They do not have as much size as the Laker bigs of Gasol and Bynum and are not as skilled offensively, but the Mavs bigs also play different roles than the Laker bigs do. And when fulfilling those roles to their best they help to create a formidable opponent in the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks.
There will be a couple of keys to the Mavs success in this series that I will be keeping an eye on.
The teams that usually give the Lakers trouble are teams with speed at the point guard position. With Jason Kidd on the court at the point for the Mavs, it not speed that is in their favor. JJ Barea will need to bring quality minutes at the PG spot off the bench for the Mavs. We will see if the quickest Mav, Roddy B’s ankle has healed enough to get him some minutes in this series. Although he may already be buried at the end of the bench regardless of his health after sitting out a first round series in which many off the Mavs Bench contributed.
I cannot stress how important closing out the game will be for the Mavs. Kobe is one of the best closers the game has ever seen. Mavs need to defend and score late. Not much more to say. Don’t want to lose close ones at the end…ask the Knicks about losing one possession games while getting swept.
Finally, scoring will be at a premium. If the Mavs can get their point total to the 110 range they will have a very good chance to take the game.
Western Conference Semi-Finals Game 1 tonight.
My Prediction, Mavs in 7.
About the Author
Written by Andy R Strom
I was born in Dallas, TX and raised in the suburb of Coppell, TX. I grew up eating and breathing sports. I "buy local" when it comes to my teams, Mavs, Cowboys, Rangers, Stars, Longhorns. I am 28 years old and currently live in Wisconsin where I graduated college from the Univerisy of Wisonsin Whitewater with a degree in health, human performance and recreation with a minor in coaching. I still follow my teams just as much now as when I am living back in Texas, they're just a little harder to see in person now. However, I follow all major sports and teams and love a good debate.