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April 20, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (3:01 PM)

Welcome hoops fans to our live chat, playoffs style. Lots of questions in the hopper so without further delay, I thank you for your participation, so let's get startes...

Evan armstrong (Philly)

I was watching game 1 and it appeared that Haywood was too much for Duncan to handle on the offensive end of the floor but Duncan got everything he wanted when he was on offense. What does this mean going forward in the series?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Evan, Brendan Haywood certainly played well on the offensive end and particularly so on the offensive glass in the second quarter. He had seven of his 10 points then and on one particular put-back dunk you could see Duncan shake his head afterward. After having Erick Dampier pound on him all of the first quarter, having the more athletic and longer Haywood contesting rebounds probably isn't a lot of fun for Duncan. As far as moving forward, I think the Mavs' two centers have to continue to do what they did, combining for 15 points and 18 rebounds. They outboarded Duncan 8-1 on the offensive glass and that is a big, big key.

Jason F (Montana)

Jeff, I was listening to Michael Wilbon and Jon Berry talking about this matchup and they don't think that there is anyone on the Mavs squad who can check Manu?... They talked about Butler defending him, as well as JET or even J-Kidd. funny though, neither one of them brought up the Matrix... your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:05 PM)

Not sure why they wouldn't mention the Matrix, who, by the way, just finished 13th in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Not bad. But, they do have a point. Shawn Marion isn't exactly the best matchup on Manu, whose quickness, especially moving around picks is tough for Marion. Really, who does have someone that can defend Manu and hold him in check? You've just got to do the best you can on him, switch up defenders, get good help from your bigs and when he drives to the rim make sure he pays a price (within the rules, of course). On the other side of the coin, the Spurs have no one to match up against Dirk Nowitzki.

Austin (Dallas)

It seemed from game 1 that Marion was the odd man out in the rotation in the fourth quarter... do you think this will be the case throughout the whole series? Carlisle seemed to be most comfortable with the line up of Kidd, Jet, Butler, Dirk and Damp in crunch time.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:08 PM)

Carlisle has changed up his finishing five throughout the season and the bottom line is someone has to sit out. He likes Kidd on the opponent's best player a lot of the time late in games and you saw Kidd on Manu Ginobili at the end of Game 1. In this case, Carlisle put Caron Butler back in the game and for obvious reasons, he was having a great game and had the hot hand. Marion is clearly more of a defensive guy for the Mavs, what, I think he finished with nine points or thereabouts, so Carlisle was looking for more offense while trusting that Kidd will lock down defensively for a few minutes at the end. I believe Manu was held in check late so the plan worked.

Austin (Dallas)

Jeff,Looking ahead a little bit...Now that the series between Denver and Utah is tied at 1-1, who do you think the Mavs would rather play in round 2? I definitely think a depleted Utah team would be slightly more favorable that the athletic Denver team that seems to give us fits.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:09 PM)

Just to clear things up a bit, the Mavs will face the Phoenix-Portland winner. The Utah-Denver winners gets the Lakers-Thunder winner.

Andrew (Dallas)

Where would you rate dirk against the great larry byrd now? If he continues his career for another 5 seasons?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:10 PM)

Well, Larry is a Hall of Famer with three championship rings. Dirk is a sure-fire Hall of Famer with no rings. Bird is 6-9, Dirk is 7-foot. How do you compare two great players who played in different eras. Dirk's teams have been nowhere close to the type of clubs Larry played on with the Celtics.

Kevin (College Station)

Hey Jeff, Thanks for doing these chats. Do you think mav fans should be concerned that the spurs made a ton of mistakes the other night and still made it a close game?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:12 PM)

Of course I do. The Spurs were incredibly sloppy, yet the Mavs didn't make a move to put them away until late, and then even sort of left the door open, although I have to say, I never felt as though the Mavs were going to lose that game. Dallas' big problem all season has been an inability to close out an opponent. The Spurs are dangerous. I don't think you'll see them turn it over 20 times again and I don't think you'll see a 34-14 free throw discrepancy in favor of the Mavs again. Having said, if the Spurs get nothing out of George Hill and Richard Jefferson, the Mavs should win in five or six.

dan (preston center)

is george hill healthy enough for game 2? i assume we will see parker as the starting PG? should mavs be making adjustments for this?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:15 PM)

Speaking of Mr. Hill. He will be a game-time decision for Game 2. Popovich just said, and this comes from out in San Antone, that even if Hill is a no-go that Parker will come off the bench, which would mean rookie Garrett Temple will start. I guess Pop wants to make sure he has some scoring punch off the bench with Roger Mason having a terrible season. Now, how healthy is Hill? We don't know. After Game 1 Pop seemed to indicate that he didn't like Hill's aggressiveness and seemed to suggest that it was because of Hill's foot. Hill refuted any talk of his ankle hurting and even refuted Pop that he wasn't being aggressive enough. I tend to go with Pop seeing how Hill went scoreless. I've maintained that Hill is the key to the series for the Spurs. They have to get scoring out of him.

Sawyer (Dallas)

Do you see Roddy B. ever getting any significant minuets in this seris? Watching JJ try to play defense on the Spurs guards certainly didn't hurt Roddy's case to get playing time one would think...

Jeff Caplan
  (3:17 PM)

I decided to answer one Roddy B question, oh, just because. But, really stop thinking about Roddy B. Unless there's an injury, I just don't think you're going to see the kid. Is that right or wrong, I don't know, but that seems to be the way Rick Carlisle is going to play it. Remember, Roddy is just a rookie and for all the exciting plays he makes, Carlisle clearly doesn't trust him enough on defense and he tends to play out of control on offense. Plus, who are going to sit?

Taylor (Nashville)

Why does JJB play at the 2? He got 7 minutes there last game

Jeff Caplan
  (3:19 PM)

J.J. Barea did play at the 2 alongside Jason Kidd. I don't know, that's how Carlisle played it. Jason Terry struggled with his shot and played I believe like 23 minutes in the game. Sure, many of you would like those 7 minutes to go to Roddy B., but again, I can only judge Carlisle off how he plays things, and right now he likes what Barea is giving him. Also, it's easy to say that Barea wasn't very good in Game 1 since had no points, but he made positive impacts and the Mavs extended their lead when he was in the game.

Greg (Fort Worth)

If the mavs fail in their playoff hunt will big changes be on the horizon?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:21 PM)

There certainly can be. We know that Erick Dampier's contract is very attractive to other teams because it expires. The Mavs have to decide if they want to keep Caron Butler, who has one more year on his contract, which makes him a valuable trade asset. Brendan Haywood becomes a free agent. Plus, there's other smaller contracts on this team that can be packaged into deals, to you could see some more roster maneuverings. But, you could see that if they win, too.

alex (fla)

I am a huge Dirk fan is this is last shot at a championship or is there a couple of years left?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:24 PM)

Dirk will be 32 this summer, so while he's got a lot of mileage on those legs, I think he's still got several years of dominant play in him. He can opt of his contract this summer, but he won't do that and then he's got one more year left on his current contract. While he's speculated about retiring, that would be a shocker. As long as Donnie and Mark continue to put a competitive team around him, his championship window remains open.

derrik (nacogdoches, texas)

hey jeff what do you expect pop to do with dirk next game i see double and triple teams coming? if that happens then that means terry needs to produce and i think he will he doesnt want to have another bad playoff performance. do you see terry stepping up?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:27 PM)

Derrick, Dirk thinks that Pop will try to double him more in Game 2. And really, what choice does Pop have, Hack-a-Damp? So, Dirk will have to get his passing hand ready to make outlets, which will give Jason Kidd more opportunities at 3-pointers, one would think. To the second part of your question regarding Jason Terry. Yes, he needs to produce. 2-of-9 shooting is not going to cut it and really I don't know what's going on with Jet. He had an awful playoffs last season and he didn't shoot well in the regular season either. The Mavs need him to get hot because they don't have great scoring off the bench otherwise.

jp (dallas)

neither team particulary well on sunday, but everyone only points out that sa can improve and get better. why i have no idea, but who do you think need to step it up on the dallas side?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:28 PM)

As I just noted, Jason Terry is the guy that needs to step up from an offensive standpoint. Shawn Marion will be busy playing defense. Caron Butler needs to continue to be a force attacking the rim and nailing those mid-range, step-back jumpers he likes.

al (dallas)

why are they starting Damp? I understand he is a slightly bigger build and can "push" Timmy around but don't you think Haywood would be more productive if the minutes were flopped? Is Carlisle trying to look ahead at future matchups to rest Haywood's legs...if so, why would he do that because a win in this series is going to take a lot of Haywood and less Damp.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:30 PM)

Big Al, Damp is starting because in my estimation he's the guy who plays the best defense on Tim Duncan. Dampier has played Duncan well since he came to the Mavs. Sure, you can look at the stats and say Duncan kills the Mavs, but Damp makes Duncan work. The combo of Damp and Haywood gives the Mavs a physical presence in Damp and then a more athletic guy to come, contest shots and battle Duncan on the boards. I'm not sold that every game will be like Game 1 where Damp gets 20 minutes and Haywood 18, but with this matchup, I could go that way. Now, look ahead to Phx and Amare Stoudemire or Portland and Marcus Camby and you're likely to see Haywood get the starters minutes, even if Damp continues to start.

Joe (Cleveland)

Jeff is it an advantage or disadvantage to have game 2 bumped to wednesday?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:31 PM)

Joe, advantage to the Spurs in a sense because of Duncan, but also advantage to the Mavs with 37-year-old J-Kidd. Duncan had to play 40 minutes in Game 1 so he appreciates the rest. After Game 2 all the games are every other day. If Duncan has to play 40 in each, that could be in the Mavs' favor.

Baily, California [via mobile]

If Dirk is limited to 20 points per game or something like that, will the Spurs be able to win the series?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:32 PM)

Depends if they keep Caron Butler and Jason Terry in check, as well.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

OK, folks, another fast half-hour, now it's time to get back to cranking out playoff copy. Be sure to check espndallas.com often for best Mavs and NBA playoff coverage. The content will keep on coming and let others know we're here and here to stay. Thanks again! Enjoy the playoffs.