Posted: Monday May 8, 2006 4:25PM; Updated: Monday May 8, 2006 4:27PM
Asking Larry Hughes to chase around Rip Hamilton seems like a cruel joke. Hughes can slither and slide with the best of them when he wants to, but he's made a habit of shooting gaps and hanging in the passing lanes since entering the league in 1999. Hughes likes steals, and not forcing his way past screens set by two guys named "Wallace."
San Antonio Spurs-Dallas Mavericks
As Sunday's dominant 31-point, 14-rebound, four-assist and three-block performance showed, Tim Duncan is feeling better and looking to take over. Dallas may have a solid center lineup (DaSagana Diop, Erick Dampier, headphone-wearin' DJ Mbenga), but they don't really have a legitimate 6-11 power forward-type to stay in front of Duncan. Unless, of course, Avery Johnson wants to make things interesting and throw Dirk Nowitzki at TD. Until then, Duncan will continue to remind us what he was like before his arch started causing trouble.
If he decides to, Jason Terry can make life miserable for the Spurs. All he has to do is demand screens and look for his shot. Tony Parker will fight through the picks and try to stay with Terry, but size issues will prevent him from keeping the seventh-year guard in check. But it's up to Terry. His 6-of-18 shooting performance in Game 1 was an inauspicious debut.
Over the last two summers, the Spurs have acquired the rights to Nick Van Exel, Michael Finley and Brent Barry in hopes of creating a dynamic and level-headed backcourt in reserve of Parker and ManuGinobili. Thus far, Van Exel has disappointed, Barry has been up and down, while Finley has played well, but only in comparison to his slow start as a Spur. Sunday's output, a combined 11 points, two assists and four rebounds in 47 minutes, will not be enough.
Though his per-game averages have gone up, Marquis Daniels regressed in his second and third years as a pro. Though expected to contribute in several different areas off the Dallas bench, Daniels hasn't scored a basket since April 23, finishing with zero points (over 37 minutes) in his last three playoff appearances. When he's on his mark and thinking straight, Daniels can devastate -- as a 13-point, three-rebound, three-assist, two-steal performance in Game 1 against Memphis (over just 25 minutes) attests to. Dallas' bench is solid enough, but with Daniels contributing it turns into something special. And we all want to be special, don't we?