Mavs-Lakers Preview: Lakers in 5

Some of us have waited 23 years to "Beat L.A.!" Sorry, I don't see it happening in 2011 either.

When the Lakers and Mavs begin their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal series tonight at 9:30 in Staples Center, there is an undeniable fact that overrides any and all X's and O's:

The two-time defending champs are bigger, better and they possess not only Kobe Bryant, but also homecourt advantage.

Ouch.

Because of the Lakers' size advantage -- with 7-footers Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol and 6-10 Lamar Odom -- and the Mavs' inability to penetrate via the dribble, Dallas will have to produce an almost perfect shooting series in order to win. Without Caron Butler's defensive toughness on Kobe or Roddy Beaubois' creative offense, the Mavs' margin for error is skinnier than Shawn Bradley.

And, oh yeah, the Lakers have zero fear of the Mavs. In the March 31 game that basically determined the West's No. 2 seed and home court in this series, L.A. won by 28.

Can the Mavs win? Sure.

Will the Mavs win? ...

Point Guard -- The Hornets forced a 2-2 first-round series with L.A. because of penetrating point guard Chris Paul. With 38-year-old Jason Kidd, the Mavs have no such player to exploit Derek Fisher's defensive liability. You gotta think at least one game will be decided on a clutch play by one of these grizzled veterans. Edge: Mavericks.

Shooting Guard -- Gimpy ankle or no, Kobe Bryant will be by far the best player on the court. Dallas' only hope is for DeShawn Stevenson to get him out of rhythm with early-game antagonism. Look for Dallas to play lots of zone defense. Edge: Lakers.

Small Forward -- This is where "soft" comes into play. The playoffs are always increased intensity, and the more physical the game the bigger the edge for Ron Artest over the finesse game of Dallas' Shawn Marion. Edge: Lakers.

Power Forward -- Dirk Nowitzki will get his 25+ points against Pau Gasol, but the Lakers' 7-footer also makes Dirk work defensively in the paint at the other end. Edge: Mavericks.

Center -- With a 40-pound edge and better refined low-post skills, Andrew Bynum has eaten up Tyson Chandler this year to the average tune of 20 points, 14 rebounds. L.A. is often fueled by extra possessions thanks to his offensive rebounding. Edge: Lakers.

Bench -- Lamar Odom won Sixth Man of the Year and gives Dallas fits because he's a big who can handle the ball on the perimeter. Like it was against Portland, Jason Terry's jumper must be going down for the Mavs to have a chance. After no-showing in the first round and basically since arriving in Dallas, maybe Corey Brewer gets a shot to check Kobe? Guaranteed at some point Matt Barnes will piss you off. Dallas' Brendan Heywood and Peja Stojakovic need to be better than they've been all season as far as rebounding and 3-point shooting. Edge: Mavericks.

Coaching -- Rick Carlisle got two third-place votes in Coach of the Year balloting. Phil Jackson has 11 championship rings. Through the years Jackson's teams are an astounding 48-0 when winning Game 1. Edge: Lakers.

Intangibles -- In the March 31 showdown the Mavs became frazzled, then frustrated. Terry lost his composure, shoving Steve Blake in the back before assistant Terry Stotts inexplicably tried to harness Barnes along Dallas' bench. At some point the Lakers will mischeivously flick the Mavs' ear, just to see how they'll respond. Edge: Lakers.

Prediction -- If Game 1 was in American Airlines Center I'd give the Mavs a 49 percent chance of winning this series. As is, it's about 19 percent. Lakers in 5.

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17 comments
Darrylrs
Darrylrs

MAVS WIN GAME !What do you have to say now WHITT?Still Lakers in 5?

Candi
Candi

Newy was actually fired because he was caught ripping me up in the restroom. Lacey Gee was let go at the same time cuz she repeatedly told to stop cleaning my carpet. WTF? I gotta get mine somewhere.

Scott
Scott

Question: Who has home court in the upcoming Mavs vs Miami NBA Finals?

Thanks

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Can the Mavs win this series? Yeah, but I think Richie has it right. The Mavs have to be on. No clunkers, no Terry shooting 25%, no Chandler getting 3 fouls in the 1st period, no margin for error.

Lakers in 6 or 7. If the Mavs win, it'll be in 6. No way they get Game 7 out there without Kobe being immobilized by doctor's orders.

Tad Banyon
Tad Banyon

I don't believe in referee conspiracy theories that posit a deliberate gaming of the outcome, but I do believe refs are subject to psychological influences to favor a player or team in ways they aren't consciously aware of. The Lakers, and particularly Kobe, always seem to benefit from close calls that are impossible to accurately judge at those speeds. I think you need a Refs category, and I think the Lakers get the nod there, too. And when the Lakers are playing at home, forget about it..

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

NEWY speaks the truth, the fan is a failure when it comes to treating its hosts well. He thought highly of you Richie, its a shame your show got broken up. And well done Bruce, you fired the only show getting decent ratings and you didnt even tell him

http://www.newdawg.com/commerc...

thefansucks
thefansucks

Gilbert was clueless not to tell Newy he was getting canned. Seriously, how do you not do that especially to a guy who was a trooper for your crappy station and actually getting good ratings? It's pretty clear Newy is a bit bitter about it but took the high road. An afternoon time slot and a good co-host could've been a good show. The Fan chooses crap over quality, what else is new.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Yes thank you Mr. Merkin very informative.

Davy Crockett
Davy Crockett

So Newy was going to quit when they had the third kid? That must make RW insane, given his Colby stance and all.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Thanks Mr. Merkin, I wouldn't of went out of way to search out Newy's blog..but was entertained by his take of the Titanic..I mean the Fail.

Greggo deserves better
Greggo deserves better

Thanks for posting this ScottsMerkin. Its good to get the truth since Richie would never say anything negative about the fan. I'm glad that they fired him since now they will have to pay out his contract.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

What the What, richie injecting thought and common sense into this prediction, why would you do that Richie, what are your haters going to say today. Well, I'm going mavs in 6, no particular reason except that if Im right i can say I told ya so. I mean absoultely nothing in the stats or intangibles says the mave have a shot so let dey logic and when this thing

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Welp, RW says Lakeshow in 5...gimme the littlest of Mavs in 7, instant classic? Deshawn needs to be up in Kobe's jock for every jumper, maybe get his feet under Kobes a little..y'all know ..like the Spurs do to Dirk. Make him think about that sore ankle and the way we're constantly getting under his feet.

Mishon
Mishon

I see what you are doing RW. You want the Mavs to win, so you pick the Lakers. Good Job!!!

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