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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dallas Versus Phoenix Preview

Western Conference Finals

#2 Phoenix (54-28) vs. #4 Dallas (60-22)

Phoenix can win if…the Suns hit a high percentage of their three pointers, score a lot of easy baskets in transition and are active enough on defense to contain the dribble penetration of Dallas' quick guards and the deadly outside shooting of Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry.

Dallas will win because…Dirk Nowitzki will have a big series and Dallas has enough athletes to beat the Suns at their own game but has more of a defensive mindset and will be able to get key stops at crucial points during games.

Other things to consider: Phoenix has the higher seed by virtue of winning the Pacific Division, but Dallas enjoys homecourt advantage in this series because the Mavericks won more games. Phoenix needed a seventh game at home to beat a pair of inferior L.A. teams, while Dallas swept Memphis in the first round and then took out the defending champions on the road in game seven. Remember those classic images of NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle handing the Super Bowl trophy to his nemesis, Raiders' owner Al Davis? The NBA may experience its own version of this in June, with David Stern congratulating Dallas' Mark Cuban. Cuban has been mocked and derided in a lot of quarters but he has revitalized a moribund franchise and turned it into a powerhouse team. Dallas Coach Avery Johnson has done a tremendous job of transforming Dallas from an offensive oriented team to a team that plays solid defense while still being able to score. Dirk Nowitzki has built quite a resume of game seven performances, capped off by his 37 points and 15 rebounds versus the Spurs this year.

posted by David Friedman @ 4:50 AM

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