Matchup: (8) Dallas Mavericks vs San Antonio Spurs (1)
Regular Season Series: Spurs won 4-0
Key Matchup: Tim Duncan vs Dirk Nowitzki. Isn’t it great that both these players are going to have one last swan song against each other? Both are aging (very slowly), but both are still very much effective. This series isn’t going to be decided by this matchup, but it’s going to be interesting to see who gets the last laugh between these two future hall of famers. It’s just great theatre, more than anything. Enjoy.
The Skinny: There’s no question that the San Antonio Spurs were the best team in the NBA this season. They quietly went about their business and finished with the best record in the league. This could also very well be Gregg Popovich’s best Spurs team of all-time. Scary. The Mavs went on a late season run, winning six out of their last nine games to clinch their 13th playoff appearance in their last 14 seasons — they missed out last season. Dirk has looked rejuvenated and perhaps has one last playoff run on his mind — and in him.
Dallas will win if: Dirk Nowitzki averages more than 30 points per game in this series. He has to go completely insane for his Mavs to have even a slight chance to upset the Spurs. That’s not a knock on the Mavs, that’s a testament to how good the Spurs have been this season.
San Antonio will win if: They show up and play Spurs basketball. There’s not much the Mavs can do to stop this Spurs train. They’re just too good.
Prediction: SA in six. I believe that Dirk will have a couple more vintage moments against the Spurs before ultimately bowing out to the superior team.