Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Western Conference Finals - Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

The Mavericks are coming off of vacation after destroying the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Thunder come in after a knock'em out drag'em series against the Memphis Grizzlies.  This series will be very interesting since the two predominant scorers on these teams are 6"11' and up and are mostly wing players. 

Dallas Mavericks:

Everyone will look at the resurgence of Jason Kidd and the scoring that both Dirk and 'The Jet' bring, but I think the biggest piece to this puzzle is the play of Tyson Chandler.  Chandler has given the Mavericks a much needed presence in the middle.  He's been the KG to this Dallas team.  The Mavericks are built eerily similar to the Chicago Bulls, 1 superstar and several very good role players.  This team has proven that they can win it all as they sent Kobe home for the summer.  When you add in the players on their bench to the mix you get veterans that know their roles and can fill in the gaps.  I've never been a fan of this team but they've been scary good as of late. 
Oklahoma City Thunder:

It took a helluva Game 7 for the Thunder to get here.  I personally thought that they had no chance with the size that Memphis had, but they found a way.  Westbrook had a triple double and looked great running this team while getting all of the scorers involved.  Harden finally decided to show up and be a consistent scorer, which significantly makes this team better.  The important part of that Game 7, Westbrook took 12 shots, not in the first quarter, or the first half, but the entire game. 

Mavericks - Jason Terry, JJ Barea, and Shawn Marion.  Jason Terry is on record that he wants to score more than the entire Thunder bench.  JJ Barea is mismatch anytime he's on the court, and Marion will get the opportunity to stop (or slow down) Durant.  Stevenson will have opportunities to slow down Durant but I think that Marion has the tools to do a better job.

Thunder - Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and Nick Collison.  Westbrook has to run this team.  He has to find the right middle ground of the shots taken to getting his teammates involved.  If he can play like Game 7, and not necessarilly a triple double, the Thunder have a good chance to win.  Ibaka has to figure out a way to guard Dirk and make things hard for him.  He can't let Dirk catch fire or this will be a short series.  Nick Collison will have to be a spark plug off the bench and bang against Dirk when he's on the floor guarding him.  Make Dirk play defense. 

Prediction: Should be a good series, but even with the rust from having a long layoff, the Mavs should be ready to march their way to the NBA Finals.  Mavericks 4-2.

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