Both Dallas, Utah hoping shots fall their way
Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2001 11:32 AM
"The other day, I heard Dirk Nowitzki saying if they would have made their shots, they would have blown us out," Russell said. "Well, if we would have made our shots, we would have blown them out."
Nowitzki went 7-of-20. Russell shot 5-of-15. It's no surprise that each wants to perform better Tuesday night in Game 2 of the best-of-five series, which Utah leads 1-0 after an 88-86 victory Saturday.
"I had wide-open shots. I just missed them, but they missed the same thing," Russell said Monday. "You can go either way. We missed shots, both teams, and I don't think both teams are going to miss shots tomorrow."
Nowitzki stayed 40 minutes after practice Sunday to work on his shooting. The Mavericks know it's important for them to hit shots, especially early.
Dallas went 15-19 during the regular season in games where the Mavericks trailed after the first quarter. Utah led 22-17 after the opening period Saturday, so this time Dallas wants to set the pace from the start.
"I think we can probably run more than we did in Game 1," Dallas point guard Steve Nash said. "We missed more shots than we normally do."
Donyell Marshall of the Jazz expects the Mavericks to run all day.
"They're going to try to come at us right from the beginning," Marshall said. "They didn't get off to the start they wanted to. They want to prove they can play with us and beat us. They're a good team."
As for the Jazz, their half-court offense depends on getting the ball close to the basket, then putting it in. Utah blew a 13-point third-quarter lead after missing nine straight shots, many of them inside 10 feet.
"We've always tried to play inside," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "You don't always get to do that because the other teams take a shot at double-teaming us. ... Our objective is always to get layups."
Dallas also hopes to rebound better after losing 48-37 on the boards in Game 1. The Jazz had 19 offensive rebounds, and the Mavericks were lucky Utah was able to convert them into only 18 second-chance points.
"We need to be more aggressive, get more rebounds," Shawn Bradley said. "Even though we gave up so many offensive rebounds, we still had an opportunity to win. If we turn that around, we'll have a good opportunity to win Game 2."
Russell was the main beneficiary of Utah's rebounding advantage. Because the Mavericks had 6-foot-7 Michael Finley guard John Stockton at the point, Russell was defended by Nash, the Dallas point guard.
"I'm going to post him up," said Russell, who had 12 rebounds.
The swaggering Mavericks have been boasting about beating the aging but battle-tested Jazz since the playoff pairing was secured. They felt Saturday's game closed the gap in playoff experience between the teams.
"They've got more experience, but we feel like we're better," Nash said. "If we add some lessons to our repertoire, we feel like we can win."