Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mavs Can Matchup with Nuggets

Analysts, experts, and some fans have already been dismissing the Mavs in their second round matchup with the Nuggets saying Denver will sweep or win in 5. We all know the Thuggets swept the season series 4-0, but this isn’t as bad a match up as it appears, and the Mavs could have success against this team.


Let’s take a look at each individual game this season…


Game 1: Nov. 7th: Mavs- 105 @ Nuggets- 108

MAVS

- Jason Kidd: 22 pts, 10 reb, 9 asst

- Dirk: 23 pts, 10 reb

- JET: 20 pts, 7ast

- Damp: Only 9:00 minutes, 0 points

NUGGETS

- Chauncey Billups: 15 pts, 3 ast

- Carmelo: 28 pts

- Nene: 19 pts, 7 reb


The Nuggets took this one by 3 points and both teams got pretty good production from their key players but, this game came during the Mavs 2-7 start at the beginning of the season and we all know they are a much better team now. Plus, not that it is a huge difference, but this is before Dallas traded for Hollins and Carroll.


Game 2: Dec, 15th: Nuggets- 98 @ Mavs- 88

MAVS

Josh Howard off the bench, only played 14 minutes

- Dirk: 27 pts, 10 reb

- JET: 19 pts

- Barea: 12 pts, 9 ast

NUGGETS

- J.R. Smith: 25 pts

- Carmelo: 23 pts, 8 reb

- Nene: 12 pts, 9 reb


Mavs just got beat in this matchup. J-Ho was came off the bench in process of trying to recover from injury and played limited minutes.


Game 3: Jan, 13th: Mavs- 97 @ Nuggets- 99

MAVS

No Josh Howard

- Dirk: 44 pts, 14 reb

- JET: 16 pts

- Barea: 10 pts, 5 reb

NUGGETS

No Carmelo Anthony

- Chauncey Billups: 23 pts, 4 ast

- Nene: 20 pts, 6 reb


Here is a game where both teams were missing key players. Dirk had a HUGE game, but it was wasted in the two point loss. This proves that K-Mart doesn’t bother Dirk and he is able to have big games against the Nuggets.


Game 4: March, 27th: Nuggets-103 @ Mavs- 101

MAVS

No Josh Howard

No Jason Kidd

- Dirk: 26 pts, 11 reb

- Barea: 22 pts

- JET: 20 pts

NUGGETS

- Carmelo: 43 pts, 11 reb

- J.R. Smith: 22 pts


Here is another example where the Mavs were missing two key players but stayed in the game and barely lost. Jason Kidd was resting his back and Josh was going through ankle problems. This is another prime example that the Mavs can compete with this team even when Melo has a big night and Dallas is missing players.


So, the Nuggets won 3 of the 4 by a combined 7 points and the other one decisively by 10. I don’t see why those scores would make people think Denver is far superior to Dallas? Denver won the 4 games by an average of 4 points per game. That is 2 extra baskets a game. Those numbers tell me that these are two evenly matched teams and neither one of them has been completely healthy for any of the matchups this season.


Now, we take a look at the individual matchups

Jason Kidd/J.J. Barea

PG

Chauncey Billups/Anthony Carter

Antoine Wright/ Jason Terry/ J.J. Barea

SG

Dahntay Jones/J.R. Smith

Josh Howard/ Antoine Wright/ James Singelton

SF

Carmelo Anthony/Linas Kleiza

Dirk Nowitzki/ Brandon Bass/ James Singleton

PF

Kenyon Martin/Chris Anderson

Erick Dampier/ Ryan Hollins/ Brandon Bass

C

Nene/Chris Anderson


PG- Even though Chauncey Billups has been playing great this post season, the Mavs and Jason Kidd couldn’t ask for a better matchup at the point guard position. Chauncey isn’t one of those speed guys that kill Kidd, and I believe he can contain Billups but also have success on the offensive end. I don’t think we will see Barea on Billups much, but he could guard Anthony Carter.


SG- The matchup at shooting guard will be a big key in this series. Dahntay Jones won’t kill you, but he can make shots. I think he is similar to Antoine Wright in that they both fill time for their teams before the sixth man comes in, but they can have nights where their shot is falling. Wright will also have his hands full with J.R. “Swish” Smith. You can’t leave that guy alone because he will fire up anything inside of half court. It will be interesting to see how the Mavs guard Smith because he could be the x-factor in this series. Can Jason Terry stay with him on defense? Also, Dallas will need a better series from Terry in round two if they plan on moving forward.


SF- At the 3 position is the MVP of the first round for the Mavs and J-Ho will have to keep that level of play up for the remainder of the playoffs. He has shown everyone how critical he is to this team since returning from his ankle injury. When he is going, it gets everyone else around him clicking together. Howard played in one game, missed two games completely and barely played in the third, so I want to see how he plays against Denver this series. Plus, Josh has a big defensive matchup with Melo and he helps the Mavs tremendously on the defensive end. You would probably say Carmelo is the best player on this Nuggets team so he has to have a man on him at all times.


(As I am typing this and watching New Orleans lose again, I believe the crowd is chanting “We Want Dallas!” Seriously?? The Spurs wanted Dallas too, how did that turn out?)


PF- At Power Forward we have a Dirk vs. K-Mart matchup. Dirk averages 30 points per game against Denver this season so we know the Big German has no problems with K-Mart, Wal-Mart, or whoever the Nuggets want to send at him. Martin is long, athletic, and can jump but I don’t see him posing a huge problem for Dirk on the defensive end. I expect Dirk to have a big series, and really that is a must. (K-Mart recently bought a house in Arlington in my parent’s neighborhood. It is MASSIVE. I am trying to get pictures one day without looking like some weird stalker.)


C- The center position is THE biggest key for the Mavs in this series. Nene has given Damp problems in the past and it will likely continue. Damp was so bad in the first game that he only played 9 minutes. I expect Carlisle to use all of Hollins and Bass’ fouls to keep Nene from going crazy if Dampier can’t handle the load. Damp has been playing better as of late, but the quickness of Nene give a lot of big men troubles.


When I look at the games and the stats, I just don’t see a huge gap between these two teams. Maybe I have been drinking the Kool-Aid but I feel the Mavs have a legit shot in this series. A lot of people talk about how long Denver’s team is, but the average height for each team is the same at 6’7, and the average age for the Nuggets is 27 while it is 28 for the Mavs.


Dallas will no doubt need a great series from their star players, but this is the playoffs, every team has to have that right now.


Give me the Mavs in 7. I am feeling good about this team