San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks: Round Table Preview!


San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks Round Table Discussion

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, the battleground that is the Western Conference has set it’s seeds, and we have a old-fashioned Texas Tussle in the first round. The San Antonio Spurs take on the Dallas Mavericks for a best-of-seven slugfest, and while we don’t know who will win (okay maybe we do…), it’s still going to be exciting.

To preview this match up, I have, together with the writers from The Smoking Cuban (FanSided’s Dallas Mavericks page), to do a roundtable on the series. You can check out the first half of this Round Table right here.

Though I’m sure we’ll all have differing views on the two historic teams, theres one thing we can all agree on:

Timmy > Dirk

Lets get started!

1. What do the Mavericks do that will give the Spurs trouble?

Rami Michail (@RamiMichail): They can score and force turnovers. They’ll need be on point in those two categories to have a chance.

Rhys T-J (@areteejay789): Stretch 4’s. The only Spurs big man who is a capable perimeter defender is Boris Diaw. Tim Duncan simply doesn’t have the knees to stay with someone out on the perimeter, and Tiago Splitter doesn’t have the foot speed to contest and recover. Unfortunately for them, Dallas has one of the best stretch 4’s in NBA history. It will be interesting to see how Coach Gregg Popovich adjusts his rotation to handle Dirk Nowitzki.

Ace Feltman (@MFFeLtman): LOL

Brian Gosset (@Gosset41): I believe both teams spread the floor well which gives the other team trouble. Both can stretch the floor and cause fits for players like Dalembert and Splitter. I think the Spurs do it a little better. I like when the Mavs play zone, and that’ll cause problems too for the Spurs.

2. What do the Spurs do that will give the Mavericks trouble?

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Michail: Spreading the court with shooters and scorers. The Mavericks won’t be able to hide any slow or weak defenders. Really seems that at all times the Spurs have five capable offensive threats.

T-J: Post-ups. Both Duncan and Splitter have been effective from the post so far this season, and as great as Dirk has been offensively, I’m not confident he can guard either of these players one-on-one in the post. This means double teams and chaos defensively – exactly what the Spurs offence thrives upon.

Feltman: Shoot, defend, offensive rebound, dribble penetrate, close out on shots, defensive rebound, efficiency, box out, match up on offense, zone, match up on defense, man to man, close out quarters/halves/games…………play basketball. I’m worried.

Gosset: See Q1

3. This series pins two future Hall-of-Famers against each other. Who will have a greater impact on the court between Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan?

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Michail: No denying both will be counted on to do a lot. Also, no doubt that both will come up big. Since I’m picking one, it has to be the Big German. The Spurs can survive with Duncan having an off series. The Mavericks? No way they’ll last if Nowitzki is cold and I’m sure he knows that. I expect Nowitzki to to have a big series. A 26+ points per game average big series.

T-J: This is an interesting question. I see Duncan having more of an impact in a per-minute basis just because of how important he is on both ends, but Nowitzki will probably see significantly more court time. So in absolute terms I see Dirk having a greater impact on the court.

Feltman: Without a doubt Dirk Nowitzki for the Mavericks, because it’s an absolutely necessity if the Mavs have any chance to pull the huge upset over the Spurs. Duncan could quietly get his 17/11 a game but San Antonio lives and dies by the three pointer. Dallas – at least in the regular season (fingers crossed) – didn’t guard the 3 ball, so the formula adds up to the higher seeded Texas team living rather than dying from beyond the arc.

Gosset: Dirk, Dirk, Dirk, no doubt. The Spurs have so many weapons that Duncan doesn’t have to do much. Dallas has Dirk and Ellis, but in the end, the guy is Dirk. Sure he’s 35 years old, but he’s STILL Dirk Nowitzki. He will definitely have a bigger impact because the Spurs know the Mavs will go to Dirk which could cause the defense to slip and leave another players open like Ellis or Calderon.

4. Make one bold prediction for this series.

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Michail: I expect Mavericks’ rookie Shane Larkin to eventually have a good sized role in this series. Unless Calderon is scorching hot, tough to see Carlisle leaving him out there for big minutes to play defense.

T-J: I’m going to say Austin Daye plays important minutes defending Dirk. Even though he hasn’t been with the Spurs for that long, when he has played he has been very effective. As I mentioned earlier, none of San Antonio’s normal big men excel on the perimeter, but Daye’s length (6’11”) means he might be able to both Dirk enough to earn some playing time.

Feltman: Is a Spurs sweep bold? Or is it reverse psychology?

Gosset: Mavs in 7. Performance wise, I think Dirk will average 27 for the series, Ellis will average 22 and Jose Calderon will shoot 55 percent from downtown. I also think Manu will be a non-factor.

5. What is your series prediction?

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Michail: Mavericks in 6. Go ahead, call me crazy. But, I really think Carlisle will find a way to get the Mavericks defense to be decent. Also, really expect Dirk Nowitzki to show that he has a lot more in the tank than we think.

T-J: Given that we’re doing a joint article with some Mavs fans, I’m going to be diplomatic and say 4-1 San Antonio, even though I think I might be under-selling the boys in black and white. The only redeeming hope I see for Dallas is Rick Carlisle and Dirk being too experienced and too proud to be swept by their interstate rival. I say game four to Dallas by a small margin, followed by a big San Antonio win to clinch it in game 5. Fingers crossed!

Feltman: Spurs in 4. Is this also reverse psychology? Is it bold? It is also bold? The popular pick is Spurs in 5, but the Mavericks home court advantage has been without any since a hot start to the 2013-14 season. The Spurs have a great home court advantage and on the road they get to take Gregg Popovich with them, so that isn’t a problem for them either.

Gosset: We’ve seen three times in their five playoff match ups, twice in San Antonio, where the Mavs come in and take Game 1. I think they do the same here. Mavs win Game 1, Spurs win Game 2, 3. Mavs come back to tie it in Game 4 and take a 3-2 lead after Game 5. Spurs force a Game 6 and just like 2006, the Mavs will go into San Antonio and win Game 7.

Who Wins Game One?

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