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News » It's been far from learning experience Questions remain unanswered after first two games of series

It's been far from learning experience Questions remain unanswered after first two games of series

It's been far from learning experience Questions remain unanswered after first two games of series
Sometimes after one game you already know. That's not the case in the first-round series between Dallas and San Antonio.

After 96 minutes of Basketball, we don't know a thing.

Do the Mavericks have the better bench than the Spurs? Sure, we saw that in Game 1.

Didn't mean a thing in Game 2.

Can the Mavericks control point guard Tony Parker, who has given them fits in the past?

Sure, we saw that in Game 1.

No, they didn't even come close in Game 2.

In Game 1, the best player was Josh Howard for most of the game and, surprisingly, J.J. Barea for part of the game.

In Game 2, it wasn't even close. Parker scored a crazy 38 points in 32 minutes.

The two players with MVP trophies at home haven't been the dominant player in either game.

The Spurs' Tim Duncan was very good in Game 1, hitting big shots despite being guarded closely by Erick Dampier. In Game 2, Duncan didn't do all that much, but he never had to. Parker controlled the game from the opening minutes, and the Mavs never had a chance.

As for Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks should feel good that they managed a split in San Antonio to steal home-court advantage (at least for now) despite only 33 points from their best player.

The Spurs have used a variety of players to guard him, and they clearly have been well-schooled both by coach Gregg Popovich and veteran deluxe defender Bruce Bowen. They get right up underneath Dirk, daring him to drive by them knowing they will have help defenders running at him.

Nowitzki is 10-for-29 from the field. That's an abominable figure.

And at 16.5 points per game, he's still the Mavericks' leading scorer.

The Spurs have held Dallas' scoring trifecta of Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Josh Howard to 46.5 points per game. That's 17 below their regular-season average.

Even though they have won a game, if that trend continues, the Mavericks won't be advancing to the second round because they don't have enough scorers behind these three to get the job done.

Entering the playoffs with their 6-2 record in April and home-court wins over New Orleans and Houston that got them out of the No. 8 seed, the Mavericks were just beginning to look like a team you could trust.

That wasn't the case during most of a 50-32 season in which they lost seven games by 20 or more points, four of those were to nonplayoff teams.

Just when the Mavericks were starting to get some local love after that Game 1 win on San Antonio's home floor, here comes another 20-points plus defeat.

That's why we don't know what to think.

Are the Spurs an older team that may struggle to get through this series?

Absolutely. Popovich already doesn't like the fact that Saturday's game at 3 p.m. means less than 48 hours rest for Duncan and his veterans.

Does that make Dallas the absolute favorite to play the Hornets-Nuggets winner in Round 2?

As we saw Monday night, the answer to that question is a resounding no.

The Mavericks have to continue to play Duncan one-on-one, let him get his points if he's capable and then do a better job of running a second defender at Parker. In Game 2, it didn't really matter because Parker was so quick, he just ran around them.

Dampier has said that his first foul Thursday night will put Parker on the floor.

That's OK to talk toughness. It would be better for Mavericks' fans if the team just showed it.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 23, 2009


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