Denver Nuggets/Dallas Mavericks Round 2 – Final Thoughts

A few final thoughts before we tip off what should be a great second round series between the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks.

There has been some discussion about where the Nuggets’ heads are at and if they might not have the mental fortitude to win this series.  If we are questioning one team or another’s mental fortitude I have to question Dallas’.  Just three seasons ago they blew a 2-0 lead in the NBA finals.  Two seasons ago they were crushed physically, mentally and spiritually by the Golden State Warriors.  Last season they were dismantled by the Hornets.  Are we to believe that a easy win over a diminished San Antonio Spurs team has erased all of those demons?  If Dallas does not win one of the first two games, and maybe if they lose the first game, they may start questioning themselves. 

Dallas fans are pointing out Dirk averaged 30 points a game against the Nuggets and Kenyon Martin as proof that Kenyon cannot handle Dirk.  I have news for them.  Dirk went off for 44 in one contest and was great.  In the other three he averaged a respectable 25.3 points, but he only shot 38.5%.  I guarantee you if Dirk has two big games this series, but shoots under 40% in the other five Denver will win.

It will be interesting to see how the Nuggets match up with the Mavs backcourt.  While participating in the chat with Rob from The Two Man Game I started wondering about how well Dahntay Jones might be able to handle Jason Kidd (I know I am a little slow sometimes). 

According to the Mavs game notes J.J. Barea is slated to start alongside Kidd.  I think in that situation I would rather have Billups on Kidd and Jones on Barea, but if Kidd is on the floor with Antoine Wright I suspect Jones will cover Kidd and Billups will check Wright.  However, with Kidd being primarily a spot up scorer I worry about Jones losing track of him trying to apply pressure somewhere else.

Everyone seems to expect a very close series, but almost everybody is picking the Nuggets to win it.  That has to be good right?  As a Nuggets fan I am not sure how to handle being a favorite all the time, but I think I can get used to it.

Other Previews/Links

Ball Don’t Lie preview featuring Pickaxe and Roll, Mavs Moneyball and the always insightful Kelly Dwyer

Great breakdown by Chris Dempsey of Kenyon vs Dirk

Benjamin Hochman on experience and how the Nuggets have made a major turnaround from postseasons past (Kenyon’s suspension and last season’s “we quit”)

The Nugg Doctor weighs in

Mavs Moneyball preview

And in case you missed it my initial thoughts on the series 

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  • runningdonut

    I agree Jeremy, while Dirk had decent averages against the Nuggets this season, every game I watched he attempted about a million shots at a poor percentage. However, defending him isn’t exactly a one man job for Kenyon, which is why I think Balkman could be a nice help defensively against Dirk and Josh Howard, while providing some rebounding. I won’t question Karl’s playoff rotation just yet though. If Denver plays team ball I’m confident they will come out ahead as a team. It should be a fun series to watch and I can’t wait until it finally starts.