Friday, April 20, 2007
Western Conference First Round Preview
#1 Dallas Mavericks vs. #8 Golden State Warriors
If you're all done ghost-riding your whips now, it's time for a reality check: Golden State will not win this series. Listen Yay Area, no one loves Don Nelson more than me (no homo, Tim Hardaway) and that's exactly why I don't think the Warriors stand a chance. Don Nelson instituted the offensive system that Dallas is using to the tune of 100ppg this year. He basically took the original Golden State three-guard system and replaced one guard (probably you, Sarunas Marciulionis) with a seven-foot tall German who can shoot like a guard; a really, really good guard.
I'm speaking of course of MVP candidate Dirk Nowitzki. Why is he an MVP candidate? His team had the best record in the league, put together some historic winning streaks, and basically dominated all but a few teams in the league. Dirk himself had slight drop-offs in the major statistical categories (24.6, 8.9, & 3.4) but had his best year shooting the ball(.502 & .416 from 3). The increase in shooting percentage could probably be attributed to an even further maturation in his game helping him realize how to use the fact that he's a nightmare defensive match-up to get easier shots.
I know the Golden State coaching staff fell asleep when i said "defensive match-up" (someone kick the back of Keith Smart's chair). The fact is Nelson did a great job in honing this team into a shockingly efficient offensive machine, scoring 106.5 ppg. They're a blast to watch, and the one or two games this series that they take it to the Mavs will be some of the most fun basketball of the first round. But Don Nelson is also a nice, old guy. He was happy when the Warriors clinched and has probably been giving the team hard candies and taking them for ice cream at Friendly's since Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Avery Johnson has been the thorn in his entire team's ass, shouting at them in that goddamn voice of his about playing defense. Johnson kept the Mavericks motivated all season until they had the top spot locked up, and I don't see him losing this team now.
Pick: Since Tim Hardaway can't perform the UTEP 2-Step within 500 yards of an NBA game, Mavs in 5.