Friday, April 18, 2008
The Bugs and the Wrecks
So I figured I'd comment on the Hornets-Mavs series, which is sure to be one of the better first round match-ups. Obviously lots of people see this as a tight race and rightfully so. Either way, I figured I'd way in:.
Why the Mavs will defeat the Hornets in 6 games:
Psychological issues: Shockingly enough, I think Dallas has the advantage in this department (I can't even believe I am typing this right now). The last two years Dallas has shown a miraculous ability to crack under pressure, as we all know. And I will say right now I have loved every minute of it (well, to be honest I despise the Heat so I didn't exactly love seeing Shaq and Riley bring a ring to South Beach, but whatevs). Anyways, you know what the Mavs don't have in this series? Pressure, that's what. They're the 7th seed. Nobody would criticize them for a minute if they lost to the Hornets. I mean, hell, two weeks ago half of the country thought they might not even make it to the playoffs. Nobody would say they flaked out, people would just focus on how the Hornets may have more playoff potential than people have been giving them credit for. Either way, you can see it in their recent style of play. In a sense you could say they are playing "loose" or "care free" or whatever. But I think that they are not the top seed is a big mental advantage for them.
And... A disadvantage for the Hornets. People have written off NO because of their absolute lack of playoff experience. And I think their is a strong chance that the weight of that criticism becoming a reality may break some of these guys.
Dirk: I think Dirk matches up well with David West. He is one of the few forwards who is really comfortable following West out into the mid-range jumper territory.
Paul/Kidd: So no way in hell am I going to say this is an advantage for Dallas. Paul is the best PG in the league today, no question. And obviously with his footspeed he will just terrorize Kidd's defensive (in)ability. But Paul in general hasn't struggled against quick PGs, he's struggled against physical point guards (Deron Williams for instance). And Kidd is a physical point guard.
Coaching: I think both Avery Johnson and Byron Scott are good coaches, I would call this one pretty even. Maybe a slight advantage to Johnson (I think he may be a better in game coach, despite some very notable mistakes during the season).
But let's be frank here. I know Harris is gone, but this Mavs team is fundamentally the same team that went to the Finals two years ago and won 67 games last year.The core of Nowitzki, Howard, Terry, and Stackhouse remains. Obviously Kidd has changed the look of the team some, but its still a strong squad, no two ways about it.
Mavs in 6.