Threats to the Mavs

March 14, 2007

Everyone is NBA circles is discussing the Spurs current 13-game winning streak and how that might now make them the biggest threat to Dallas in the Western Conference. Dallas faces the other major potential threat, Phoenix, in a game at 9pm tonight on ESPN.

ESPN took up the question of whether San Antonio or Phoenix poses a bigger threat to the Mavs in a “Fact or Fiction” segment on the late SportsCenter last night. I think Greg Anthony and Tim Legler disagreed on this, and I don’t think it really matters because the question is irrelevant. The one thing the Spurs streak is accomplishing is that it is cementing them into the #3 seed for the playoffs whereas they were previously at risk of finishing behind Utah or even Houston (recall all the “What’s wrong with the Spurs?” stories from a while ago). That means that San Antonio and Phoenix will almost certainly meet in the second round, with the winner getting Dallas in the Conference Finals. Thus, the team that poses the bigger threat to the Mavs is the team that will actually get to face the Mavs. Whether one or the other matches up better with Dirk Diggler and crew is not the issue. It’s more important how the Suns and Spurs match up with each other.

At present I’ll predict that San Antonio beats Phoenix because I don’t think all that much has changed from two years ago, when the Spurs beat the Suns in five games. But I’ll be watching tonight and maybe the Suns will impress me that they’re back on track and ready to make a run.

LATE UPDATE: Wow, that was quite a game, with Phoenix winning in 2OT. Both teams dominated in stretches, and Dallas really blew it late to allow Phoenix to force overtime, then the Mavs were lucky to get it into double overtime. With so many big plays each way, it was really a classic.

A few quick observations:

  • How can Amare Stoudemire be so dominant in the paint offensively yet unable to control the defensive backboard against Erick Dampier?
  • ┬áThe Mavs lost Devin Harris to injury in the first half and had to play some unknown guy off the bench in the second half for a while. Trading Anthony Johnson for a draft pick wasn’t a smart thing to do.
  • Why call a technical on Dirk in the second OT when the refs are letting all sorts of other fouls go uncalled? Shouldn’t eating the whistle for personals also apply toward techs?
  • The NBA served notice, on the eve of the NCAA Tournament, that they can put on a pretty good show too.