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ENEMY LINES an opposing team's scout sizes up the Mavericks
Ian Thomsen
October 28, 2002
"I see them improving just because Dirk Nowitzki keeps getting better. You can't stop him—he can score inside and out—so you just ask your defender to be physical with him and not give him any open shots....
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October 28, 2002

Enemy Lines An Opposing Team's Scout Sizes Up The Mavericks

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"I see them improving just because Dirk Nowitzki keeps getting better. You can't stop him—he can score inside and out—so you just ask your defender to be physical with him and not give him any open shots....

I'm a big fan of Michael Finley. He's the third star there, behind Nowitzki and Steve Nash, but it has to be awkward for him because there's always talk about him being traded. He doesn't complain and he continues to act as a leader....

Don Nelson does a great job of explaining things to his players and keeping them aware of their roles. It looks like he's gotten Nick Van Exel to accept coming off the bench....

The Mavs are loaded when it comes to making last-second plays. They can put Finley, Nash, Nowitzki, Van Exel and Raef LaFrentz out there, knowing each guy's got experience at hitting a game-winning shot....

I don't think the Mavericks can change their identity and become a defensive team. Their up-and-down style leaves them unbalanced; they're always going to give up easy baskets because of the way they play offense. When they were having trouble on defense in the preseason, they were switching to a zone. If they were sincere about getting tougher on defense, they would stick with man-to-man and force their guys to play it—even if it means embarrassing them....

There aren't any quick fixes. The most important thing for Dallas is to stop making trades and see if the core players can grow together over time....

It's going to come down to playing hard defense on crucial possessions, and those key plays aren't going to be decided by the coaching staff. The players have to decide whether they're committed. It's a moot point anyway. Unless Shaq gets hurt, there's no way the Mavericks are beating the Lakers."

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