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5 Matchups That Matter
Jack McCallum
May 01, 2006
With the help of an NBA scout, SI's Jack McCallum broke down individual battles that will be pivotal in the first round
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May 01, 2006

5 Matchups That Matter

With the help of an NBA scout, SI's Jack McCallum broke down individual battles that will be pivotal in the first round

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After a passive Game 1 ( Bryant took only 10 shots through the first three periods in L.A.'s 107--102 loss), there is virtually no chance Bryant doesn't come out firing in the rest of the series. No one checks Bryant one-on-one; the Suns' plan is to simply have Bell play Bryant aggressively and make him shoot outside.

Scout: "Bell's an underrated offensive player, and he can wear Kobe out a little at that end. Kobe's a good defender, but he'll give up a little bit if someone runs him."

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VINCE CARTER, New Jersey vs. STEPHEN JACKSON, Indiana

This looks like a mismatch, but it's the Pacers forward, not the high-flying, free-firing Carter, who played a key role in a Finals ('03, with the Spurs). Carter had 31 points in Game 1 but took 33 shots, while Jackson had 18 on 8-for-15 shooting.

Scout: " Jackson can get spacey, but he's a terrific competitor. New Jersey needs Carter to score, but when he's forcing everything and other players feel uninvolved, they're very vulnerable."

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