Denver Nuggets Versus Dallas Mavericks

 The Denver Nuggets, the second seed in the West, easily beat the New Orleans Hornets four games to one in their opening series, while the Dallas Mavericks, the sixth seed, surprised the third seed San Antonio Spurs, winning their series four to one.  The result is the Denver Nuggets will take on the Dallas Mavericks in the second round. Both teams have had plenty of time to rest and prepare. Which team looks to have the advantage in this one?

The Nuggets top the NBA playoffs thus far in offensive efficiency earning 117.8 points for every 100 possessions. They also lead all 2009 post-season clubs in three-point percentage. The top playmaker on the team is point guard Chauncey Billups. The vet was potent in round one, averaging 22.6 points per game, posting 7.4 assists and hitting 48 percent of his shots from the field. In the frontcourt, Carmelo Anthony, at small forward, led all Nuggets in points with 24.0 per game and hit 46 percent of his shots from the floor. He also proved to be a solid playmaker, offering 5.2 APG. Power forward Kenyon Martin was tough on defense in the first round while averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.3 RPG.  In the center spot, Nene Martin, who did not play up to his potential versus the Hornets, has been a force against the Mavs in the regular season, averaging 17.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.0 BPG. He also hit 59-percent from the field. Off the bench, Denver offers some of the finest scoring in the league. In starting spots, they have two excellent go-to guys in crunch time—Billups and Anthony.

The Mavs also offer a fine offensive squad. Thus far in the post-season they are rated third, making 110.6 points for every 100 possessions. Along with proving that they could score in round one, they also showed that they could contain their opponent, placing second in rebounding, steals and defensive efficiency. Against San Antonio, point guard Jose Juan Barea played tough “D” when guarding Tony Parker. He was also good for 10.0 PPG and 4.6 APG. Opposite him, Jason Kidd is the ultimate on-court organizer and sure-handed, quick-thinking defensive presence. At the power forward spot, Dirk Nowitzki has played well versus the Nuggets in the regular season, scoring more than 23 PPG in each meeting. In round one, he shot 94 percent from the foul line and 49 percent from the court. Josh Howard, at small forward, hit 49 percent from the field and averaged 18.8 PPG against San Antonio. Center Eric Dampier proved to be a dependable, stalwart defender. He took down 8.4 rebbies and blocked 1.4 shots in round one.

This will be a tough head-to-head series. There’s plenty of talent and skill on both teams. Denver took the regular season series four games to none. They hold home court and that should prove to be the difference. Expect to see a high-speed series with great offensive and defensive plays from both teams. In the end, the Nuggets will take this one in seven. 

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