Saturday, May 2, 2009

Round 2 Preview

With the opening game of Round 2 quickly approaching, I figured it was time to weigh in with my thoughts heading into this series. There's no question that the Mavericks are playing their best ball of the season right now, and combine that with the fact that all 4 of Denver's wins in the regular season came in hard-fought, exciting games and I think this could turn into a great series. On the other hand, going into the final week of the season, I was absolutely sure that the Mavericks were the best match-up for the Nuggets and I tend to still feel that way, and here's why:

  • Two of Dallas' 3 main scoring options happen to match up against Denver's two best one-on-0ne defenders with Dahntay Jones checking Jason Terry or Josh Howard and Kenyon Martin taking on Dirk.
  • When Howard is in top phyical condition, he has a chance to frustrate Carmelo a bit, but I don't think he's hitting on all cylindars at the moment, and the ones he is hitting on should be focused more on scoring during this series. Regardless, The Mavs don't seem to have anybody who can match Carmelo's speed and size.
  • Despite the fact that the regular season games were close and that the post-season is a different beast, I don't think you can overlook the fact that the Nugget's managed to close out all 4 games against the Mavs with wins.
  • Erick Dampier is the type of player that can have a dominant night on the glass one night, then appear as though he's asleep for the next four games. I don't think he'll be able to match the energy that Kenyon and Birdman bring. When the Nuggets are doing their job on the boards, they're tough to beat.
  • With the limited minutes that Linas the Menace and Blankman have been seeing, I think it's safe to say that the Nuggets' depth hasn't even really been tested thus far in the post-season, and should it be tested this series, I think the bench will come through.
With all that being said, I don't think the Nuggets will run away with every game quite like they did against New Orleans, but I still believe they have enough match-up advantages to make their way into the Western Conference Finals. Denver in 6.

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