Let the games begin
According to Newton's Third Law: For Every Action, There is a Reaction.
The question on just about everyone's mind is ... what will be the Dallas Mavericks reaction from Game 1. What adjustments will the Mavs make? Will Dallas match the physical play of the Nuggets? Will Jason Kidd continue throwing the ball to those not in a Mavs jersey or any jersey?
The question that should be on people's minds is ... how will Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups improve on their Game 1 performances?
Melo found himself in foul trouble throughout much of the first game and Billups rendered himself almost completely ineffective by making 0 trips to the foul line, after averaging 7.6 free throw attempts per game in round one.
The way I see it the Nuggets have almost as many improvements and adjustments to make as the Mavericks and if Denver can play a solid four quarters instead of just three then it wont matter what Dallas does tonight.
When Denver has the ball: Are we all on board with Denver's success here? Share the ball and attack the rim. Dallas doesn't have a shot blocker in the Birdman, Camby, or Mutombo mold so plays at the rim will be there all night (unless of course you buy into Jean-Jaques Taylor's (Dallas Morning News) theory that Dallas should commit some hard fouls of their own.) And if Denver is going to attack the rim they must make Dallas pay at the foul line. Denver shot just 69.4% in game one from the foul line and that MUST improve.
The Nuggets are averaging 25.5 assists per game in the playoffs after registering 28 in game one. Unselfish play will almost always lead to the best available shot and Denver has been doing a tremendous job finding the open man.
When Dallas has the ball: Continue with the pressure defense. As a Mavericks color commentator pointed out on 104.3 the Fan yesterday afternoon the Spurs don't pressure the ball the way Denver does. He said, Tony Parker wouldn't pick Jason Kidd up until Kidd got to the three-point line. Denver on the other hand puts a lot of pressure on the ball and that may have forced Kidd into his unusually high 8 turnovers in game one.
And we saw the same thing last series. Chris Paul averages just 2.59 turnovers a game in his career, but Denver forced him into 4.8 turnovers a game in round one. Jason Kidd averaged just 2.28 tpg this season, but 4.0 tpg against the Nuggets (his highest rate against any Western Conference team.) My hope is that Denver will continue to disrupt Kidd and make what most pundits would call an aberration of his turnovers into the norm going forward.
- In Game 1 Dallas' four major offensive weapons of Josh Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Jason Terry shot 31-61 for 50.8%
- In Game 1 Denver's four major offensive weapons of Carmelo Anthony, Nene, Chauncey Billups, and J.R. Smith shot 25-44 for 56.8%
- The Nuggets recorded 11 blocks in game one to the Mavs 2
- Dallas out-rebounded Denver 37-30 in game one
- Denver out-assisted Dallas in game one 28-17