San Antonio Versus Dallas PreviewWestern Conference Second Round
#1 San Antonio (63-19) vs. #4 Dallas (60-22)
Dallas can win if…the Mavericks sustain a high level of play defensively, Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard outplay Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili and Dallas limits Tony Parker's dribble penetration.
San Antonio will win because…San Antonio is just thismuch better than Dallas; Nowitzki has had a better regular season than Duncan, but Duncan has much more playoff and big game experience; Howard is a very good and versatile swingman, but Ginobili always seems to find a way to make the key play offensively or defensively; Jason Terry has had a splendid season, but he will have trouble containing Parker's dribble drives.
Other things to consider: Dallas Coach Avery Johnson won a championship while playing for Gregg Popovich's Spurs and has quickly emerged as one of the NBA's best coaches. Dallas is a team on the rise and is certainly capable of beating the Spurs. It is important to remember that these teams are seeded one and four in the West only because of the NBA's quirky playoff system. The Spurs and Mavericks had the two best records in the West and trailed only Detroit (64 wins) for the best record in the NBA. The teams are so closely matched that one injury could tip the balance, a factor which would seem to favor Dallas since San Antonio has so many players who are banged up--but in the end I expect that San Antonio's championship experience (and home court advantage) will be the difference.
posted by David Friedman @ 3:10 AM