While many around the league have pretty much written off the Spurs in this series, we decided to let our staff take a crack at the crystal ball. Then we also asked some local media and other NBA bloggers for their take.
Michael De Leon, Founder/Spurscast host
The Spurs have given me hope after a squad of mostly D-Leaguers gave a completely healthy Mavs team a run for their money last week. DeJuan Blair also looked unstoppable and if the Spurs use him wisely and Parker and Hill are close to 100 percent, I’ve got to give it to the Spurs. It’ll be a hard-fought, long, but fun to watch series. Spurs in 7.
Jeff Garcia, Co-founder, Spurscast co-host
Mavericks trade for Haywood, Butler not only boosted the Mavericks already loaded with Kidd, Terry, Nowitzki,and Marion, it pushed them over the top against the Spurs. The Mavs are too strong for this Spurs team and hold the home court advantage. Spurs will make it competitive but in the end will lose out. Mavericks in 6.
Robby Lim, Lead Writer
Spurs will be seeking redemption against the Mavs. Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan will be the main catalyst for the Spurs. DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner and Roger Mason Jr. could be the X-factors and their team defense will make the difference in this series. Against all odds, Spurs in 6!
Lance Fell, Staff Writer
Spurs versus Mavericks. Is there a better rivalry NBA? Some might say the Lakers and the Celtics, but the fact that the Mavs and the Spurs play in the same conference, better yet the same division, and are connected by I-35, makes this, in my eyes, the best rivalry in professional basketball. What more could a diehard basketball fan ask for? The Mavericks will no doubt come out confident and look to finish the Spurs off quick. But with Tim Duncan in playoff mode, Mavs fans can forget about bringing out their brooms. Expect a tough, emotional series, with some bad officiating just to add some spice to this already tasty series. Duncan will do what he always does against the Mavs, and wreck the paint against all people who challenge him, and Manu will do his Manu thing. We’ve already seen him own Shawn Marion more than once. But with Tony Parker not at full strength, and Caron Butler being the physical, aggressive player the Mavs have always needed, I don’t see the Spurs pulling this out. As much as breaks my heart to say this, sorry fellow Spurs fans, Mavericks in six.
Emily Allen, Staff Writer
If my crystal ball is right, then Mark Cuban should put his championship dreams away for another year. On the other hand, San Antonio should get ready to go all seven games with Dallas, because I don’t see either team going down easily.
This isn’t a matter of whether or not the Spurs can complete with the Mavericks. Anyone who watched Wednesday night’s game knows that San Antonio actually began to show some life from the old school Spurs, who played some of their best ball in the clutch near playoffs. Even second-seed Dallas knows the seventh-seed Spurs have the athleticism and firepower to come in and take the first round – I think they will, but as any game or series is in the IH-35 rivalry, it will be a knock-down dragout fight to the very end. Spurs in 7.
Jordan Rivas, Contributor
A healthy Ginobili, Parker, and Duncan means the Spurs are one of the most dangerous seventh seeds in league history. The Spurs have championship pedigree, coupled with a full roster of healthy veterans, and a momentum swing that saved the last stretch of an otherwise lackluster season. The Spurs are as healthy as they’ve been all year, but the pieces will all have to come together the way we hoped they would when this squad was pieced together. If they don’t the Spurs will see a first round exit, but based on the last twenty or so games of the regular season, I think the Spurs are hitting a momentum push at the right time. Spurs win in seven games.
Jeff Cerda, Contributor
They say “everything is BIGGER in Texas” and the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks rivalry is no exception. These two teams have some history to say the least and the Mavs got the best of the Spurs the last time these two teams met in the playoffs. Things will be different this time around however, because the Spurs will have a healthy team this year to go along with that sour taste they have in their mouths after an early exit from last years’ playoffs thanks to the Mavs. The Spurs have been there and know what it takes to win a championship, something that the Mavs have yet to do since joining the NBA in the 1980-81 season. I believe the Spurs will pull out a “upset” series win over the Mavs, 4 games to 2, winning game 6 back in San Antonio to have the Alamo City celebrating fiesta style. GO SPURS GO!
Chris Duel, ESPN 1250 The Zone
Spurs in Six. Bad news for the Mavericks: Gregg Popovich has the Spurs peaking at just the right time. The Spurs record against playoff teams in March and April proves they are ready make noise against the Mavs. Add the intangible of having lost to the Mavs in the first round last season plus the health of Manu Ginobili. The Spurs will get a split up in Dallas, bring it home and take care of business at the AT&T Center and later close it out back home in Game 6. We say it all the time – the Spurs are built for the playoffs. If they can remain healthy, they can go to the Western Conference Finals.
Larry Ramirez, KSAT 12
The Spurs will beat the Mavs in 6 games. The big 3 are healthy and looking good. Manu will probably be the difference in this series. I think George Hill be a big factor too if he’s 100 percent. Home court is important, but I don’t think it secures a series win this year in the West with the conference being so strong.
Richard Oliver, San Antonio Express-News
Manu, pain-free at last, will bring pain to Dallas. Mavs favorites, but Spurs team playing w nothing to lose will have last word. Spurs in 6
Humberto Cervera, WOAI
I’m thinking that this is a pretty easy call. The way the Spurs look, they can’t hang with the Mavs bigs and Caron Butler will be able to slow Manu down enough to knock the Spurs out of the first round for the second straight year. Sorry to say Mavs in 6.
Rey Moralde, The No Look Pass
really hate betting against the Spurs, even this year. I’ve said over and over that as long as Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich are there, the Spurs will not die. Even though the Mavericks were scorching hot after the trading deadline, they have slowed down towards the end of the season. Still, I feel this has been the best Mavericks team since the Finals team of 2006… and Mark Cuban isn’t too far off when he said that this is the most talented team he’s ever had. Plus, the Mavs eliminated the Spurs (yes, without Manu but…) in a cinch last year.
I’ll say Mavericks in 6 but I hate betting against the Spurs and I won’t be surprised if San Antonio does take it. Take my money now.
John Karalis, Reds Army
My heart is telling me Spurs, but my head is telling me Mavs. Dirk Nowitzki is too good. Take over the game when he wants good. And it’s not like Richard Jefferson is going to stop him.
The only hang up I have is that Spurs front court. Dampier and Haywood are slightly more than serviceable, but they’re not Tim Duncan, and they’re not DeJuan Blair. And I know that in the playoffs, the ability to dump it into the post and bang on the boards is huge. Besides, Manu has spent April pretty much treating opponents like fresh fish at Shawshank prison. He’s hot at the right time, and that’s gonna help.
But, ultimately, I think the Mavs are too good all around. They’ve got the best player on the floor. They’ve got Jason Kidd… who can still get it done. And topping that off with Caron Butler and Shawn Marion on the wings and Jason Terry off the bench is just a little too much. I want to pick the Spurs here, but I can only pick them to make this a hell of series. Dallas in 7.
Mookie, A Stern Warning
Last season I said these exact words “Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Any team that includes Tim Duncan and Tony Parker can not be discounted when it comes to playoff time.” I then went on to predict a 4-1 Spurs victory in the series. How wrong I was.
And yet, once again, I stick by that same edict. The Spurs have some incredible players with a remarkable history of success. Few players in the NBA have the level of success that they have in recent years. However, this time the emphasis is squarely on the shoulders of Manu Ginobili. He has been in sizzling form of late and coupled with George Hill’s spark-plug ability, represents the chance of clinching the series for the Spurs.
All of that said, the Dallas Mavericks have a phenomenal squad this season — one which I’ve been eyeing since the all-star break as the only potential team to knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in the West. The addition of Caron Butler (and to a lesser extent Brendan Haywood) means a great deal. This Mavs machine will be good enough to send the Spurs off into the sunset without a second round berth. But it won’t come easily. Final prediction: Mavs in 7. And what a great series it will be — saddle up, we’re in for some entertainment in Texas.
Jackie Taylor aka That Sports Babe
Experience is going to play a part but only a small one in this series. Jason Kidd has been there done that many times but with different teams. Timmy’s been there done that 15x with the Spurs. Cohesiveness of team play is going to be the most integral thing and although the Mavs haven’t had much time to get to know one another’s post-season styles, I still think it’s going to cause problems for the Spurs.
Personally, if I were Pop I would consider benching Richard Jefferson entirely and going with a defensive powerhouse of Timmy at center, DeJuan Blair at small forward & Matt Bonner (“The Southern Ginger”) at power forward. I’m not sure if that’s an OPTION but I see that as a major key in San Antonio getting out of this alive let alone carving out a few wins. Typically this would not be the time for San Antonio to “test the waters” with a new lineup but I don’t think there is much choice considering what the Mavericks are working with.
I foresee Carlisle going with Dirk-a-licious at center & Haywood at power fwd and anything after that is just gravy. The Spurs biggest problem is not that their old….they just don’t have ENOUGH good players. With the Mavericks bench housing people like JJ Barea, Roddy Boo-boo & The Jet, they are always going to have some fresh legs to go out there and tear it up whereas San Antonio is going to have to rely on the same ol squad to carve them out a W. Their young guys are not that good in comparison and although I love Antonio McDyess, the fact of the matter is that San Antonio had better be out to a horrendously large lead before they throw him in and rely on him to keep the peace while Timmy takes a breather.
Dallas has come on like a house on fire this year. With the addition of Caron Butler for scoring and Haywood for blocking, the Mavericks are staring the Western Conference Playoffs in the face, in my opinion. This is just a small hurdle in their post-season. I say Mavs in 6.
Matt Scheelar, Bust-a-Bucket
Last year the Mavericks took it to a Spurs team that seemed to be in decline. With the two teams matching up again in the first round, both teams look very different. The Mavs have shown flexed their muscles by beating San Antonio 3 times during the regular season, but things will be different in the playoffs. Manu Ginobili has been playing incredible basketball while Parker and Duncan have limped to the finish line. I think the Spurs are that snake waiting in the grass, they hate how Dallas rolled them last year and will want revenge. I think Timmy and Tony are going to show up like they did during their championship runs. I like the Spurs in 7, this will be a great series.