Michael A. De Leon
It'll be great to see this rivalry play out again. The pieces are a little different this time, but the result will be the same. Tony Parker will make this his series and the Mavs will be searching for answers. Spurs in 6.
The Mavs present something the Spurs seems to have trouble with. . .athleticism. Mavs have it, the Spurs don't. Also Spurs cannot say they have the "experience" seeing how the Mavs have that as well. This series will come down to mental toughness.
Spurs have the edge in this department. Not only that, Parker makes Kidd his personal bitch and the Dirk vs. Duncan matchup will be something to watch. Oh and at least one good thing comes from Manu being out for the Spurs . . . Spurs don't have to worry about him making some dumbass foul on Dirk again!
On the final night of the regular season, when the Spurs still didn't know if they would face Houston, Portland or Dallas, I was hoping they would draw Dallas. Yes, Nowitzki still causes the Spurs trouble and Josh Howard will destroy Michael Finley, but I believe Duncan has at least one strong series in him and there is no way the Mavs can keep Tony Parker out of the lane. It will be a battle of a series and I expect Jason Terry to do something to piss Spurs fans off, but I like the Spurs chances. Look for Parker to have a monster series and help carry the Spurs. Spurs in 7.
2002-2003, Ginobili puts up per 48 averages of 17 points, 5 boards, 4 assists, and 3 steals. 2008-2009, Hill puts up per 48 averages of 16 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, and 1 steal. Ginobili went on to make a significant playoff impact his rookie year, and Hill has the same potential to disrupt things this year, and it seems to me he's a better defender. It won't be easy, but there probably isn't a better team for Hill to face in the first round than Dallas.
Hill is the new, but it's beyond time for Udoka to earn his keep, and he'll be called on. We'll see if his defense is worthy to take some of Old Man Bowen's minutes. Oberto needs to kick it up a notch, and Gooden needs to do what he's been doing, but better. Let them do that, helping to keep the starters well rested, and it will be an easy series. If they struggle, this is going to stretch out against a savvy veteran opponent. Spurs in 6.
I believe the Spurs, even without Ginobili are more than capable of taking out this Mavs and the choke artist Dirk. If the Spurs can get solid contributions from Mason, Gooden, Finley, Hill and Bowen, then they should be able to advance. Spurs in 6.
Dan Levy - OntheDL Podcast
I'm going with the Spurs in 6. I have no reason, other than the fact that Mark Cuban hasn't responded to any of my emails requesting an interview. And man do I hold grudges. Besides, does anyone think the Suprs will go out in the first round the same year the Admiral gets inducted into the Hall of Fame? I think not. And Pop's beard is bad ass.
Tas Melas - The Basketball Jones
Much like the N'Awlins-SA finish Thurs, this is the series you can't turn off. It'll inevitably go down to the wire 'cause those you can't finish off those pesky Spurs. They're like bad breath, they never die. Last play, Big Shot Rog for the win... rims out. Mavs in 7.
Ethan Jaynes - NESW Sports
I pick Spurs. Kidd just does not have it. Spurs have too many weapons. Duncan is one of the best ever, and Parker is clutch. Dirk = softness
Rey Moralde - The No-Look Pass and Chronicles of Crotty
It's another chapter on their rivalry... and, as usual, people are counting out the Spurs. But I think they found a good first-round opponent in Dallas. No one can contain Dirk, yes, but hardly anyone can. Still, I can go to all the analyzing I want but it will all come down to mental toughness. Dallas has been eliminated in the first round for two straight years. Let's make that three. SAN ANTONIO IN SIX GAMES.
Roy Bragg - San Antonio Express-News
Billionaire blowhard Cuban & his overpaid Heimlich dummies ready themselves for their annual post-season choke. Spurs in 5.
Richard Oliver - San Antonio Express-News
Spurs in six. Tony Parker is the difference, leaving Jason Kidd flailing at thin air on drives, again and again, to the basket.
Stu Holdren - NBANoise
The outcome of this San Antonio vs. Dallas series is undoubtedly one of the most difficult to get a read on. They split the season series, have both played inconsistently, and are bitter in-state rivals. While the Mavericks have some great momentum headed into the series after an emotional with against Houston on the final day of the season, the Spurs were equally impressive in a comeback overtime win against New Orleans. Without Manu Ginobili, the Spurs have to get inspired performances from Tim Duncan and Tony Parker if they are to have a chance. While, this generally wouldn't be in question, Duncan has been banged up and Parker can't do it alone. But Duncan's 20 and 19 performance to end the season is enough to convince me he's ok. They will have their hands full with Dirk Nowitzki, who is quietly putting up some monster numbers this season. Jason Terry has also been stellar off the bench and will provide the Mavs with a huge spark in their second unit. And while Jason Kidd has some great playoff experience , I think he will have trouble keeping pace with Tony Parker. I always overlook the Spurs, and more often than not, they prove me wrong. That's why I'm taking the Spurs to win in six games.
Rob Mahoney - Hardwood Paroxysm
The ol' Mavsters. And the Spursmeisters. Meeting in the steel cage for a seven game grudge match. LET'S RUMBLE.
The brilliant thing about this series is that regardless of who you fancy or which colors you're wearing, you're in for a treat. These two clubs have a history of bringing the theatrics, and even a tough playoff loss will come silver lined with the glory of an awesome, competitive game and series.
While it's sad that it has come to this, the outcome of that aforementioned brilliant series is probably going to come down to health. Josh Howard has a bum ankle, but he's been able to play pretty effectively despite the injury. That's one better than Manu Ginobili, who will be picking out his finest blazers for benchwear. As a result, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will have to be, and will be, brilliant if the Spurs want a shot at this thing. But that means that Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry only need to be kind of brilliant to match. I fully expect them to do just that, with Jason Kidd, Brandon Bass, and J.J. Barea putting Dallas over the top. Mavs in 6.
Zach Harper - TalkHoops
Historically, players have hated playing for the micromanaging style of Rick Carlisle and guys have loved playing for Gregg Popovich. There's a certain point in professional sports in which that matters and a certain point in which it can only carry you so far. With Manu Ginobili out and the Spurs depth issues coming out in full force, it appears that the Mavericks have too much firepower for them. But this Spurs team loves playing for Pop and I have to believe that they will be able to put their inefficiencies aside for one round of the playoffs and persevere. Tony Parker will destroy Jason Kidd and the Roger Mason, Jr/Michael Finley combo still has a couple of deadly bullets left in the chamber. Spurs in a taxing hard fought seven games take this series.
Ben York - Phoenix Fanster Community
At first glance, this would be a playoff series to look forward to; veteran players, veteran teams, and veteran coaches meeting in the first round...not to they are rivals in the same state. However, with the injury to Manu and the inconsistency of the Mavs, it's lost some of it's luster. Though, I'll still be watching since the Suns are on early vacation. Yes, the Mavs have been streaking as of late but I just don't see Dallas beating the Spurs. San Antonio is too well-coached to fall victim to a streaky Mavs team. Dirk's never been one you can rely on in the playoffs and, seemingly, this is where Tim Duncan shines the most - playoff time. Look for a tough series but I see Spurs closing it out at home in game 7.
Mookie - A Stern Warning
Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Any team which includes Tim Duncan and Tony Parker can not be discounted when it comes to playoff time. The Spurs may have been beaten up and they may have lost plenty of games that they shouldn't have, but the regular season has always been a mere entrée to the smorgasboard that is the playoffs for them. Dirk Nowitzki and co have never proven that they can cut the cheque in the postseason and this will be no different. My prediction: Spurs 4-1.
Mark Haven-Britt - Garbage Time All-Stars
I say Mavs in 6. While I love T-Duncan, I worry that age and injury are going to be too much to overcome. Wait, am I talking about the C's?