The Dallas Mavericks take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight in Game 4 of the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. With Vince Carter’s unbelievable shot to capture Game 3 the #8 seeded Mavs have the lead 2-1.
The Game at Hand:
Game 4 will be huge tonight to decide who moves on. With the Spurs having the overall home court advantage, the different between a 2-2 series and a 3-1 series in incredible. The Mavs are not even close to satisfied but they have already proven all but one of the 20 ESPN “experts” wrong in winning 2 games. They’ve played some of the best basketball that they have played all year even with Dirk not scoring over 20 so far in the series. Like I alluded to this game is huge. The Mavs have already shocked the NBA world being up 2-1, if there’s one thing we have learned about this team it’s that they play with 100% the entire game and will almost always keep it close with their high powered offense. After giving up the lead in Game 1, winning Game 2 pretty easily and winning Game 3 on a buzzer beater the Mavs definitely go into Game 4 with the momentum.
Keys to the Game:
1. Samuel Dalembert: While not getting a ton of glory in Game 3, Sammy D was absolutely huge. Having 13 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks the impact Dalembert had in the game was game changing. Dalembert did what the Mavs brought him to Dallas to do, he was that inside the force that the Mavs have been searching for since not resigning Tyson Chandler. If Dalembert can keep up this production Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan the Mavs will greatly benefit.
2. Once Again Perimeter Defense: As in the entire Mavs season the main key for a Mavs victory is their rotation and defense on the perimeter. Tony Parker came out the gate in Game 3 destroying the Mavericks driving the lane and hitting mid-range jump shots. Then for some unbelievable reason didn’t log a lot of minutes or make that big of a factor in the second half. On top of this they only shot 6-18 from three and only got 12 points from Manu Ginobli. Whether it was the Mavs defense that shut down Parker or maybe a possible injury if we can contain him like we did in the second half it will be huge. Letting this team get on fire from three could be detrimental.
Matchup of the Night:
Tony Parker vs. Monta Ellis
While Dirk and Duncan are still both great players as Barkley said in the pregame Tony Parker and Monta Ellis are the best players on their respected teams. Monta won the battle in Game 3 and was absolutely huge. Monta had a huge fourth quarter scoring and three pointer and an and one three point play in the final 3 minutes with a total of 29 points. Again, Parker was great in the first half but virtually disappeared in the second half. It will be critical for each team for whoever of these two players puts their finger prints on this game the most.
“We as an eighth seed going up 2-1, that can’t mean anything to us. We have a huge game tomorrow.” – Dirk Nowitzki
When and Where:
The game takes place today April 28th and will begin at 8:30 PM CST. It will be televised on TNT.
For your viewing pleasure……