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Talk of the small lineup has been replaced by talk about Dirk today.

Sefko says he knows what Dirk needs to do.

1. Be patient with the ball. Wait on the defense to make mistakes as his teammates move and give him the chance to initiate the offense.

2. Make strong moves to the basket. He usually gets to the foul line a lot, but he only went eight times in Game 1. When he shoots just 16 times from the floor, he needs more free throws. "

Sefko also has a mini article saying Avery won't win coach of the year because he won last season. He's right. Sam Mitchell will win the award today.


Marcus Thompson writes that the Warriors need to watch out for Josh Howard, saying that a hot Howard might also open things up for Dirk.
The Warriors have done a noteworthy job of shutting down Nowitzki lately. He was held to 13 points on 3-for-11 shooting the previous time he'd faced the Warriors, in Oakland on March 12. They are certainly game-planning for a motivated Nowitzki in Game 2 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a perennial producer, one of the league's future stars, is lurking in the shadows. Mavericks forward Josh Howard is hoping he gets overlooked.

"Whatever we can do to make the game easier for him," Howard said after the Mavericks' practice Monday. "I know what I've got to do night in and night out. I've got something for you, but I've got to play within my game. When it's time for me to shine, I'll shine."

"Josh is a very special player," Warriors swingman Mickael Pietrus said after practice at American Airlines Center. "Everyone looks at the first option, which is Dirk. You just need to make sure you keep an eye on Josh Howard. Because when he's on, he's hard to stop because he's slashing and rebounding and making shots and passing and (playing) defense."

I knew the Mavs missed a lot of layups, but I didn't think it was in the double digits.
One of the Mavs' biggest problems Sunday was that they couldn't finish around the rim. The Mavs missed 11 layups or shots within three feet, Johnson said.

"That would have been 22 points," Josh Howard said. "We'd have covered the spread then."
The spread was nine, and I'm surprised Howard knew that.


Geoff Lepper reminds us of the last time Avery might have over thought things to star a playoff series.
It was this same time two years ago when Johnson entered his first playoffs as a head coach after taking over the Mavericks from Don Nelson with 18 games left in the regular season. When Johnson unilaterally decided to change Dallas' way of defending the pick-and-roll on the eve of his club's first-round postseason matchup with the Houston Rockets, a team that lives on a steady diet of such plays, the move couldn't have turned out any worse.

The Rockets took advantage of the change to win the first two games on Dallas' home floor, and appeared poised to send theMavericks to a second consecutive first-round postseason knockout.

Except Johnson took corrective action, tweaked his previous game plan and Dallas took four of the next five games to eliminate the Rockets.

Don Nelson has said he expects Dirk to have a big game tomorrow because he never has two bad games in a row. Mercedes Mayer agrees.
Just last season, Nowitzki rebounded from an 11-point, 3-for-13 night in a Game 4 loss to Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals to score a franchise playoff-record 50 points in a Game 5 victory.

In Game 1 of the Finals against Miami, Nowitzki scored 16 points and shot 4-of-14, but the next game he made 8 of 16 shots for 26 points.

So expect the Warriors to keep throwing everything they have defensively at Nowitzki.

Jason Terry didn't like what he saw when he watched the game tape.
"It was disappointing to see," Terry said after the second team session. "We didn't play with any passion. We definitely have to come out and play with more urgency."

David Moore has a Don Nelson/Mark Cuban article.


Impossible to tell from this quote what lineup Avery intends to start for game two.
Johnson didn't indicate if he would stick with the same lineup in Game 2. But he didn't necessarily think it was a mistake.

"No, early in the first quarter, I would say the first six or eight minutes when we started the game, I think the game was tied, 13-13," Johnson said. "I thought when we started subbing, then our intensity went down.

"No matter what lineup we had out there, we just had poor execution and had some breakdowns defensively."
I can't argue with that.


Tim MacMahon thinks the Warriors might be the best 8 seed ever. That's about like being the hottest girl in the worst sorority on campus, but I see what he's saying.
Golden State became the first 8 seed to win nine of its last 10 games. And no other 8 seed had a better record in its final 21 games than the Warriors' 16-5 run, which started with Baron Davis' return from a knee injury.

This Day in Mavs History
1993 Finished the 1992-93 season with a record of 11-71. It is the worst record in team history.