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March 31, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Chuck Cooperstein

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:01 PM)

Hi everyone. Greetings from Sunny LA. It's the game everyone (The Mavericks included) has been waiting for. Playoff vibe for sure inside Staples Center tonight. On to the questions...

Paul (Bay Area)

Hi Chuck! If the Mavs and Thunder have the same record who gets the higher #3 seed? The Mavs won the season series 2-1 but the Thunder are division champs.

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:04 PM)

If OKC wins its division, then they would be the higher seed. It's the same principle we've been talking about as it relatrs to the Lakers. The Mavericks could win the season series, but that would be trumped by the Lakers winning the Pacific Division (Against whim, the Mavericks are 13-1 BTW). So in both cases, the Mavericks would have to finish with a better record. (Assuming of course that the Spurs don't continue their free fall and the Mavericks pass them :)

Barry (Illinois)

Did you go to the Mavericks vs. Bulls game in Chicago where Benny the Bull humiliated the Mavs fan? That was pretty mean, and if you want retribution, I can wear a Bulls jersey to a Mavs game sometime if I ever go to Dalls

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:05 PM)

It's OK. Benny does that to a lot of folks. But I happen to like Benny. Definitely one of the better mascots in the NBA. And hopefully you and the Mavs will have the chance to repay the favor with a meeting in the NBA Finals

Rob (Akron, OH)

Hi Chuck, I really like Tyson Chandler but I fear for even the near future of this team. We have to resign Chandler but the team will remain static as it resigns current players, leaving less money under the cap for gaining the additional help that we need to win a championship. Any optimism here?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:06 PM)

You don't have to worry about the near future as long as the health of a certain Big German is good. If the team remains static winning 55-57 games. Excuse me, but I'll take that

Jason (Dallas)

Hey Coop, been traveling alot lately and the negative national reputation this team has for being mentally weak is astounding and exaggerated. Do the Mavs recognize what people think of them? Do they even care?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:07 PM)

They certainly are well aware what people say about them. They also know there's only one way to change the perception, and that's win at least two playoff series.

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:11 PM)

All the indicators point to the Lakers. Their red hot record. The fact they are playing total lockdown defense. The fact they will have had four days to prepare for this game while the Mavericks are playing the second of a back to back (Albeit with no travel). The fact the game is in LA (Although the Mavericks have the NBA's best road record). But this game comes down to rebounding. The Mavericks have to find a way to keep the Lakers from killing them there. That the Clippers beat them up 47-31 last night wasn't encouraging. Then again, with my predicting record, the Mavericks might just come out and beat them by 15. I can't wait to see how this plays out

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

Chuck, bigger venom to the Mavs: Kobe Bryant making his jumpshots and driving to the hoop with contact or Andrew Bynum scoring 20+ points in the paint by himself and securing 15 rebounds.

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:17 PM)

Depends on how many shots Kobe is taking. He's been taking a bunch lately (making them too) so that is clearly a problem. But the Mavericks have defended Kobe well in the last couple of years. He shot only 40 percent last year. And shot only only 6-20 in the last meeting. I think they're going to try to establish Bynum early again, since he seems to give Chandler as much trouble as anyone with his length and girth

Darius Smith (Dallas)

Biggest key to win against the Lakers tonight: securing more rebounds or fastbreak points?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:24 PM)

More rebounds. I see your point, though. You don't want the Lakers to be able to get their defense established. The best way for you to do that, though is to get the defensive rebound which gives you the chance to get out and run. And again, it's not necessarily about FB points per se, as much as it is about early offense. The pother thing that has to happen is when the Mavericks do get caught in the half court game that they constantly move the ball from side to side. If you let the Lakers load up on one side of the floor, you're in trouble. I think Peja could be a huge factor tonight because that could give them the weakside shooter to counter the overload

B (Dallas)

Do you think Roddy will be up for the test this evening or do you think nerves will still be an issue?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:28 PM)

The Roddy question tonight is absolutely fascinating. The Mavericks need his speed and creating ability to counter the strong LA defense. But on defense, who does he guard? The last time they played his presence forced the Mavs to have to use Jason Kidd to guard Ron Artest and that didn't work out every well. Kidd was exhausted from wrestling with him the whole game. The Mavs would match up much better if they played Stevenson to start so he could guard Kobe and Marion could handle Artest. This is why Rick Carlisle gets paid the big bucks. To come up with an answer to this question.

B (Dallas)

Besides Dirk, who do you think is the most important player for the Mavs in beating the Lakers?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:29 PM)

The combo of Hywood and Chandler. They have to be able to control the interior. That's where the Lakers want to play. If they can't, it could be a long night

Chris (Dallas)

I know this isn't idea offensively but if we cant cover Gasol and Bynum then we need to put Chandler on Gasol and Haywood on Bynum and Dirk on Artest. I think we would have the advantage as long as a scorer is in at the 1 and 2. please dont put cardinal on gasol agian OMG SMH.

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:31 PM)

This has been talked about a lot by fans, but it simply won't work. Artest can get by Dirk on the dribble. And even if he shoots three's (Which he has been doing well lately), why do you want to take one of your best (If not best) defensive rebounders away from the basket?

Shawn Jacob (Carrollton, TX)

Any chance Corey Brewer has any minutes, possibly guarding Kobe or will DeShawn Stevenson get the call?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:38 PM)

Brewer is not in the rotation. It appears he is a developmental project. Both Rick Carlisle, and special assistant Tim Grgurich have been working diligently with Brewer on his shot, having him clean up some bad mechanics. I think when he played, he was was so anxious to show he belonged that he just couldn't get into the right flow and wound up picking up a lot of fouls. I don't worry about that end of the floor with him. Stevenson is the proven commodity here, and that's why he'll get the call.

Matt (Nev)

:negative national reputation this team has for being mentally weak is astounding and exaggerated:Really? How have the last 4 years of playoff basketball done for you?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:40 PM)

I'll always take my chances on my team winning 50+ a year and then see what happens in the playoffs. The thought of seeing 20-25 win seasons turns my stomach. I KNOW it turns Mark Cuban's. There's just no guarantee that you'll ever get back there. Unless, of course, teams are just willing to gift you excellent players (Yes, we're talking about you, Charlotte, and you, Memphis)

Freddy (Los Angeles)

If the Mavs do indeed re-sign Tyson Chandler, would they then actively shop Brendan Haywood during the offseason?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:42 PM)

I think that is safe to say, although with Mahinmi being as foul prone as he is, you still need to have someone who can play 20 minutes every night

Freddy (Los Angeles)

What stance do you see the Mavs voting with regards to upcoming Sacramento relocation?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:46 PM)

I'm sure Mark Cuban will vote to approve. The situation here is much different than the situation in Seattle in which a carpetbagger came in to steal the team with no willingness to try to keep the team in a town that had loved it for 41 years. The Maloof's, on the other hand, have tried, for years, to get a new building in Sacramento and have been turned down. There's a beautiful building in Anaheim, and money making opportunities through a TV deal with FSN West, now tat the Lakers have cut their 43 billion deal with Time Warner. This is going to happen

Rob (Akron, OH)

Does the L.A. area really need another basketball team?

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:48 PM)

Personally, I would prefer if they had tried to move to Seattle or vancouver. Both would support the NBA. Vancouver never had a chance the last time around because of a bad team and a horrible Canadian dollar. It's a lot better situation niw. And Seattle is just a great place. But there's no doubt that the Royals (That will be their new name, harkening back to Cincinnati days of the franchise) will be a hit down there, and especially if the team gets good.

Chuck Cooperstein
  (12:50 PM)

That will do it for today. Thanks, and make sure you stay up late with us tonight on 103.3 ESPN. Brad Davis joins me courtside at Staples. 9:45 tip or whenever TNT tells us we can play. We'll talk again next week