It's time to make a series thread, in 36 hours Game 1 is starting.
The Nuggets are supposed to win this series, but The Mavericks have a more than slight chance to make noise in this series too.
I expect an offensive minded series, some Melo/Dirk shootouts.
My keys to success (as a Mavs fan):
- Josh Howard has to play very well on both ends of the floor
- Kidd must find a way to prevent Billups from jacking up threes
- Dirk shouls not force it if he is be swarmed
Keys for me:
Transition D - It's been the nuggets weak point, and the mavs will run a hell of a lot more than New Orleans. Stop the ball and stop easy transition buckets.
Perimeter D - Dallas has much more capable outside shooters than New Orleans and NOH actually shot well from deep, so this aspect is crucial. As long as they're contested, I can live with that.
Swing the ball - Dallas' halfcourt D has improved quite a bit and if Denver gets into their typical iso 20 footer halfcourt set, they're in trouble, especially because misses will result in fast break points. I'm interested in how they'll play Melo and who they'll double off of, if they even do, I don't know about Howard's game. Look for a cutting Dahntay Jones or Kmart or even Jones in the corner.
Should JR find himself matched up with Barea, the Nuggets need to exploit it every time. I remember the last couple games, JR could just shoot right over the top of him for some easy looks.
The BIGS are going to be huge in this - Nene needs to bring his A game, both offensively and defensively and can't get lulled to sleep by Bass who will go out and knock down the 17 footer. Not really sure about Dampier.
Nuggets are notorious for switching screens which I hate and don't understand. They need to fight through the screens, show some toughness and some grit, and set some hard screens of their own. I don't know how physical Dallas is (for the moment I'm giving Denver the advantage), but the Nuggets need to set the tone early in the series.
And another thing, the Kidd-Billups matchup is gonna be great. I'm expecting a lot more post play between the two since they're two of the best.
Kenyon has got to stay out of foul trouble. I can't imagine Birdman having much of an effect on Dirk unless he's driving to the basket to give Bird a shot at a block, so as long as Kmart can log the minutes to cover him, I actually like this matchup.
And for what it's worth, I played the game last night on 2k9 and won 112-103.
i'm not a mavs or nugs fan, but i think mavs have much more of a shot that people give them credit for. the nuggets are basically the big 3 (chaunce, mell, and hilario) but i feel like ever since the last month or so of the season, dallas has gotten their acts together and gotten healthy.
jho, dirk, jkidd, and jterr i think will be able to run them outta the building.
mavs in 5. they are so much more improved and i'm very impressed.
The first key will be K Mart being physical on Dirk. But not physical in a dumb way to get him in foul trouble. I have full confidence that we can limit Dirk as a team, and that all starts with K Mart.
But I think the biggest key is how the benches perform. By benches I mean JR vs Jet. Both can go off and put up points, but who will do it more consistantly? Jet is a vet (no rhyme intended) and JR has stepped it up this year...hopefully JR can match Jet's production and cancel him out.
Obviously Kidd vs Billups and Melo vs Howard will be fun to watch...and I think Denver has the advantage in both of those matchups. Both are capable of having their off games too though.
I expect Dirk to have one or two huge games in the series, but I expect Denver to beat Dallas as a team. I got Denver in 7.
I think the key for Denver is as said earlier transition D, and taking good shots as well as rebounding well. Also they need to make their open shots, because if Dallas doubles Melo...hitting open shots like they did in 4 of the 5 games vs NO will make things very easy. I don't believe that Dallas will light Denver up in the halfcourt as they rely a lot on jumpshootin and I think that's easy to defend, even though there can be games where jumpshooting teams just catch fire.
I could actually see Dallas stealing game 1 for some reason (hate that early start), but I still see Denver in 5-6.
Dallas at Denver, 3:30 p.m. ET -- The AP reports: The second-round series between Dallas and Denver that begins Sunday at the Pepsi Center features two veteran floor leaders in point guards Jason Kidd, 36, of the Mavericks and Chauncey Billups, 32, of the Nuggets. “Two old dogs,” Kenyon Martin said... Kidd sent Parker packing along with the rest of the San Antonio Spurs, and Billups gave Paul and the New Orleans Hornets an early start on their summer break, too... Billups said he hasn’t had to make concessions for age: “I’m still in my prime right now, so I haven’t had to.” ... Dallas All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said besides being winners, “both of them a a lot of experience and they just carry something about themselves out there that makes you follow them. That should be a fun one to watch.”
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