20 Second Timeout is the place to find the best analysis and commentary about the NBA.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Playoff Potpourri

NBA.com has a section called "Click and Roll" which gathers together material from various newspapers, websites and blogs. Their "Click and Roll" page about the Mavs-Spurs series includes a link to 20 Second Timeout (scroll down to the May 11 entry to find the link to 20 Second Timeout):

Click and Roll: Spurs vs. Mavs edition

The link that NBA.com posted goes to the main page, not the specific entry that is quoted at "Click and Roll," but that's just as well because in that particular post I picked San Antonio to win the series, one of my three incorrect predictions out of the 12 series that have finished so far.

Part of the intrigue of the Dallas-Phoenix series is that good friends Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were teammates for many years with Dallas. Nash's move to Phoenix seems to have helped both teams. It's not surprising that two-time MVP Nash has improved the Suns but it is strange that Dallas lost such a talented player and seemingly has not missed a beat. I talked with Dallas Assistant Coach Del Harris about this near the end of the 2004-05 season. A link to the interview is posted on the right side of 20 Second Timeout but for those of you who may have missed it at the time I thought that I would highlight it here again:

Del Harris Interview

Both teams have made some personnel changes since I spoke with Harris, but I think that his main points have stood the test of time. Here is Harris explaining why both players have done better apart after playing so well together as teammates: “In Steve’s case he has a better group of players to fit his style, to run with him. We didn’t have the same kind of athletes to run with him that Phoenix has. When you look at Stoudemire, Marion, Richardson, Johnson, this is like going to a race track. We had different kinds of players—we had very good players or we wouldn’t have been winning 50-60 games during the years that he was here—but we didn’t play that way and this (running style) really fits his game best. As for why Dirk is having a better season, in the past it was mainly Steve and Dirk working off each other and Finley fitting in there. We didn’t have the overall team balance, so opponents could pretty well zero in on those three guys. Particularly if two of them were involved in a play action, they could load the defense in that direction. This year Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson were able to bring nine new players into our mix and what we now have is a team that is so much more balanced that if you load up on Dirk we’ve got four or five other guys who can get 20 or 30 points on you. We didn’t have that before.”

posted by David Friedman @ 1:37 AM

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