Reasons why we will win:
1) We are playing at home
2) The last time they beat us at home, Divac and Magic were playing, and this happen in 92
3) Malone is back
4) We are on national tv, we usually do pretty good when everyone's watching
5) If the Clipps beat them, then we should have no problem with them
Payton is going to have to be ready to run, because Nash likes to run and gun; especially since he doesn't want to be any where near a Malone bow, I expect him to run as far (and as fast) away from him as possible. Payton should be able to keep up with Nash, and prevent him from being a presence on offense. Payton will be able to get to the basket and get easy shots, because Nash (like all the Mavs) can't play D. Look for Nash to struggle, and Payton to have a good game.
Finley had a great first half against the Clipps, and I don't expect to see him get even half the amount of point the Clipps let him get. Kobe is starting to become the old Kobe (physically) more and more as the season continues, he should be able to contain Finley with his D, and get some easy point by taking to the basket and either getting to the line or going right past Dallas' "big men" (if that's what you want to call them). FInley won't be able to shoot as easily or as much against us, he will struggle until he realizes this. Kobe will dominate the performance.
George/Walker & Jamison
- It's hard to figure out who they will play at SF, since it varies almost every game, but I think these are the 2 most likely guys to see time at their SF position. I say this almost every time, but the key to this matchup will be George's D. If he can stick with Walker and prevent him from firing 3's the whole game and taking outside shots, (something he likes to do) then George should be able to limit his production. And if he can prevent Jamison from driving to the basket and getting those mid-range jumpers, then George will be able to limit Jamison's productivity. If George is unable to stop these guys, then look for Russell to see some big minutes off the bench. I doubt George will do much for us offensively, besides knock down a few open shots, including an open 3. If he can do that and play D, then I will be satisfied.
- this will be a good matchup. Malone will need to use his size to prevent Dirk from getting inside and make him stick with his outside shots, which can also be deadly, but hopefully Malone can alter his shots and make him not be able to get the shot selection he would like. Malone can get some easy rebounds, since that's not one of Dirk's strong suits (crashing the boards). Malone will try to play some of his best ball tonight, making it a statement game, just to aggravate Cuban. Malone will have a solid overall performance; he will have a decent amount of-points, boards, and assists.
Shaq/Fortson, Bradley, Jamison, Dirk, Najera, Walker
- Am I forgetting anyone? Well, the point is (something that was obvious last time we played them), they can throw everything they have at Shaq, but it won't do them any good. Yeah, Dirk will help clog the lane a bit, but not much. The day the Dallas Mavs learn how to play defense on a consistent basis, is the day that may never come. By watching these guys, you can tell they don't have a clue what they are doing when they are trying to guard Shaq. NOTE TO MAVS' "BIG MEN": fouling is not
defense, it's just a way to get out of guarding a guy.
Who will see the most time on Shaq?: I think they will start with Fortson, then after Shaq dominates him...they will bring Bradley in, then after he gets in foul trouble...they will put Jamison on him (someone please tell Don Nelson that a sg/sf should not be guarding Shaq, it's embarrassing to him and to the organization he plays for)....and Dirk and Walker will see about 5-10 minutes total on Shaq.
So, to sum it up...Shaq will dominate, scoring and grabbing rebounds at will. He will make the Mavs go through all their options; which includes the 7-6 dummy, that was privileged enough to get his own segment on ESPN (top 10 dunks on Bradley
). And he will lead us to another victory.