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The Friday Morning Links

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I never got a chance to post this yesterday, but I thought this was a really interesting and honest quote from Dirk after the game on Wednesday.

"We wanted to get this win," said Nowitzki, who shot just 4-of-16 for 12 points. "The West is stacked, but [the Lakers] pretty much are the favorites. To me, right now they're probably the best team in the West, so definitely didn't want to face them in the first round."

"They [the Hornets] had a great year, but I think we match up well with them," Dirk Nowitzki said. "They're a beast at home all year. They beat us there twice. So one game we've got to get there in a tough environment. It should be a great series, and there's a lot of great matchups all over the court."

OK, so he's kind of saying the team is scared of the Lakers, but by admitting they really wanted to win the last game he's also saying they really like their chances against the Hornets.  I like that confidence.

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Bethlehem Shoals previews the series for Deadspin.

Maybe, at some point, we'll realized that these two teams are essentially playing themselves — in more ways than one. Both are wrestling with issues of identity that may linger until they're eliminated, and yeah, these two teams do have their similarities.

Let's just hope they don't look each other in the eye, or else they might all catch on fire and bring about the end of the world.

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David Moore did a chat at DMN.com yesterday.  I thought his answer to a question about the coaching matchup was interesting.

For a coach who has led a team to The Finals twice – check, by the way, what New Jersey did before and after that burst – Scott doesn't get the respect he deserves. Anyone who assumes that Avery Johnson is a better coach than Scott is wrong. I think they're evenly matched with one difference – Scott has more experience as a head coach.

If Dallas gets knocked out of this series and the case can be made again that Avery being out-coached was one of the reasons it could make for an interesting offseason...

Avery has already made one interesting decision.  The team will travel back to Dallas between games one and two in New Orleans.  Given that there are two full days off between games and the short travel time, this really isn't that unusual.  Dirk has come out in favor of the decision.

"I don't think we want to be there for three days," Dirk Nowitzki said. "You want to go home and sleep in your own bed. So actually, I like it."

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Sefko has a really good article on the way New Orleans has double and triple teamed Dirk this year.

"Even when I catch the ball at 15, 16 feet, they don't want me isolating and looking at them and dancing. They don't even want that. Usually teams come at the low post when I get the ball deep down there. But they're coming early trying to get the ball out of my hands."

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David Moore doesn't think the Mavs playoff experience will give them much of an advantage.  Moore writes this article as if Dallas is considered the favorite, and indeed most 'experts' are picking the Mavs to win.  It should be noted however that the Hornets are favored in Vegas.

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Here's an article from New Orleans about all the pressure Avery has to win from Mark Cuban.

Of course, Josh Howard is saying the Mavs should have less pressure as the lower seed.

"We're flying under the radar," Josh Howard said Thursday after a film session to prepare for Saturday's Game 1. "Guys are more loose and looking to have more fun out there. The pressure's off."

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Nice stat from Caplan in his article about Kidd this morning.

Mired below 30 percent [3P%] for a chunk of the season , Nowitzki has made 38-of-79 for 48.1 percent with Kidd. More than ever, Nowitzki is getting the ball in position to catch-and-fire just as he likes it.

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Mike Fisher previews the series.  I particularly liked his list of storylines that will become old.

6.      Brandon Bass, a native of Louisiana, product of LSU and former Hornet, was raised in the swamp. By alligators.

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This Day in Mavs History

2002 A blood clot was found in Avery Johnson's left calf after an MRI
exam. He would have been out for at least 3 weeks and, as a result,
he was left off the playoff roster.