Welcome to our first ever NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff, where we pit our favorite team-related bloggers against each other to let them tell why the teams they represent will win their first round matchups. We gave them no set format, no style guide – we just told them to do their thing. Check it out and join in the debate in the comments section.
Next up: 3. San Antonio vs. 6. Dallas
WHY THE SPURS WILL WIN
(Editor’s note: We couldn’t stay out of this without giving our two cents, so some of our writers are going to pen pieces about their favorite teams. This is one of them.)
Written by Austin Burton
First things first: Tim Duncan has never lost in the first round of the postseason. Ever. Not even in college. And even though there’s supposed to be a first time for everything, if you have any doubt TD will advance again in 2009, go back to the last five minutes of San Antonio’s regular-season finale against the Hornets. With a division title and home court in the playoffs on the line, here’s how we described it in Smack: “Duncan turned into the bad guy from No Country For Old Men in overtime. Mid-range J’s, off-balance hooks, owning the glass, saving loose balls, blocking shots and dropping dimes like Al Harrington wishes he could, Duncan (20 pts, 19 rebs, 6 asts) won the game by himself while the Spurs announcers made sounds on-air that you should only make with the lights off.”
Sore knees? Age? Can’t survive without Ginobili? Anything negative you could say about Duncan this year became irrelevant when it mattered most. Not saying he can singularly mind-bend the Spurs to the NBA Finals, but against Dallas in the first round? Duncan being Duncan will be enough.
So that’s one major problem for the Mavs. The other? Tony Parker owns them. In four games against Dallas this year, TP averaged 31.3 points and 7.3 assists on 51 percent shooting. Jason Kidd can’t guard him. Neither can J.J. Barea or Jason Terry or whoever else Rick Carlisle has.
The Mavs are on a roll right now, winning five of their last six, and they did split the season series with San Antonio. And Dirk Nowitzki can win a series by himself. Just not this series, not this time.
WHY THE MAVS WILL WIN
Written by Wes Cox of MavsMoneyball.com
So often the first round playoff series seem to come down to two things: Who will be the best at home, and who has been playing better the last month of the season.
Excluding the Mavs 0-4 home start where they looked completely lost under new coach Rick Carlisle, Dallas has gone 32-5 at home. They lost just one game in Dallas after the All-Star break. By comparison, the Spurs have lost six times at home since the break including one at the hands of the mighty Oklahoma City Thunder. And don’t forget that Dallas has won a game seven in San Antonio before. Advantage Dallas.
Both teams only lost twice in the month of April, but Dallas was far more impressive in the process. The Mavs faced off against six playoff teams in the final two weeks and lost just once. They’ve blown out Utah and Phoenix, beaten a New Orleans team who they don’t match up well against, and ended the season by killing Houston’s chance at the Southwest Division title. The Mavs are playing their best basketball of the season and at the perfect time.
A seven game series won’t surprise me, but I’m feeling Mavs in six.