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April 19, 2:00 PM ET
Mavs with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (2:00 PM)

Welcome back everyone. Looking forward to Game 2 tonight and I really don't care who's officiating the darn thing. The big question for me is whether the Mavs can exert a little muscle and take a 2-0 lead to Portland for Games 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday.Let's go.

Jaime (Mexico)

Hi Jeff hope you are doing fine, Game 1 has gone and looks like Mavs got a little bit of Mojo back, still need to improve. I don't know why nobody and really nobody has talked about Haywood, he actually was the only Mav who not just did a good job on LaMarcus, he owned him, I wonder how this matchup will be as games go by. Gotta show some love has been playing awesome even the stat sheet doesn't show it! See ya and thank you.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:02 PM)

Jaime...I think owned might be a bit strong, but you are right,Haywood has done a nice on Aldridge in the last couple of games going back to the regular season. The Mavs need Haywood to be a solid defender and rebounder in the series. It seems evident that Aldridge is more adversely affected by Haywood's size than Chandler's height and athleticism.

Luke (portland) [via mobile]

Call the game tonight? Think we are going to portland 1-1 or mavs up 2-0?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:03 PM)

Luke, why is the pressure always on me to make the call? Why don't you make the call...OK, yes Mavs go to Portland up 2-0. I think they are exorcising some demons in this series. My original call was Mavs in 6.

Ihab (Murphy)

If the Mavericks happen to get Caron Butler back and the Lakers get passed the Hornets like they're supposed too, do you see Caron having an impact to where the Mavs can advance past the Lakers?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:04 PM)

Ihab, there is just no way to know. Caron has made fabulous strides, but can he be ready to play playoff basketball in two weeks. I just don't know. We'll have to see if he can come back which is iffy at best.

Bailey Rogers (Winston-Salem, NC)

Why is Danny Crawford still allowed to officiate, and even more questionably, to officiate Mavs games? There is clear empirical evidence (2-16 record, differentials in fouls called & free throws taken, etc.) that he has an anti-Dallas bias. Why hasn't the NBA done anything?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:06 PM)

Bailey, Crawford is considered one of the best refs in the league. His record officiating Mavs games is crazy at 2-16. If the league did anything they would be admitting that there's funny business going on, which they are not going to admit and frankly I'm sure they don't think there is any funny business. It's time for the Mavs to stop worrying about the refs and calls and just play.

Mike (NYC)

I know it's waaaaaay too early, but if the mavs win the championship, they would have beat portland, then lakers, then spurs/thunder, then the winner of the east (Bulls/Heat/C's). I looked at the past dozen or so championship teams and none had to go through this difficult of a path in the playoffs. how high in difficulty wud this path be in nba history?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:07 PM)

Mike,I don't know. I'm sure there have been some tough roads before. But,if you look at it like this,it's not that bad. Portland is 48-win 6-seed. The Lakers won a ho-hum 58 games and no one considers the Spurs invincible. What's so hard?

Wilmer (Puerto Rico)

Very impressed with Jet in game 1, he attacked the basket and made things happen. Marion needs to be more involved in gm 2 and Barea's aggression should translate in more points as he adjusts to the defense. The thing that worries me is our defense, need to control those entry lobs. Right?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:10 PM)

Yes, Jet did make things happen and attacking the basket was a nice surprise that he'll need to do more of, especially with Brandon Roy and his bad knees guarding him. Marion is also expending a lot of energy on defense against Gerald Wallace, who did not have a good Game 1 with 8 points. The Mavs are working on those lobs, but look, the Blazers got six of them and still only scored 81 points. The big thing is for the Mavs to keep the Blazers around their season FG percentage. This is not a good shooting team, but has had good shooting games against the Mavs.

jordan (Murphy)

How much of an impact is Danny Crawford going to have on Game 2?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:11 PM)

Jordan, just watch the game. If you think Crawford is crooked after the game and if the Mavs lose, then we'll have something to talk about. Otherwise, he's just a ref, so watch the game and enjoy it.

Wilmer (Puerto Rico)

Just tell me, what are the chances of NO beating the Lakers, after the outcome in gm 1. Just the possibility of LA getting eliminated is to good to be true?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:12 PM)

Wilmer, you're lucky, you got a second question in, I hit the button too quickly...since you're in, I'll answer your question. The Hornets' Game 1 win simply avoided a sweep.

mike (ohio)

although people praised kidd for his performance in game 1, i felt it was not enough. when he was on court, the mavs had direction, when he was on the bench, the mavs looked awful.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:13 PM)

Mike, you are correct, sir. When Kidd sat the Mavs had major problems. He had to come back and in and hit a step-back jumper to end an 11-minute FG drought. I don't expect the Mavs' bench to struggle so badly tonight, but the Blazers' bigger guards off the bench do present some challenges.

Josh (Chicago, IL)

Does everyone realize that if the team stays intact (except DeShawn), the Mavs have an even better shot at a title next year? They were the best team in the league with Caron healthy.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:14 PM)

Josh, yeah sure maybe...but you don't know what the CBA is going to look like and you don't know how much salary the Mavs might have to shed to fit under the new salary cap. Nothing is certain. Plus, you assume the Mavs just re-sign Tyson Chandler. He loves it here, but he'll have other offers from some young and up-and-coming teams. Just look at the seeds 4-7 in the West.

lamont (dallas)

does rick even have a clue about rotations? at one point in the 4th for about a 5 minute stretch he trots out terry, barea, peja, dirk, haywood. u put all of our worst defenders on the court at one time and we end up down 6 and have to play catch up..... why?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:15 PM)

Lamont, well, Carlisle does what he does. He goes by feel and that's what he felt. I can't tell you why he went that direction.

Eric L. (Plano)

What about playing Haywood and Chandler at the same time for short periods? Particularly against a stout team like Portland, we could secure the paint and allow Dirk to roam the perimeter as a 3 -- he will be double teamed by a 3 and a 2 and will be able to easily get a shot up over them.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:17 PM)

Eric, you're not the first to bring this up so it won't be the first time for me to say that that is a horrible idea. Now you have players at the 4 and 5 that don't really score at all. So, with Dirk at the 3,is he going to guard Gerald Wallace? I would not want to see that. Typically Kidd is not a big threat to score, so now you'd have 3 virtual non-scorers on the floor. Not going to work.

Jason (Montana)

Jeff, that was a pretty darn good game considering an off shooting night from Dirk, but J Kidd's 3 point shooting kind of bailed em out. Are his 3 pointers an "X factor" for winning this series?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:19 PM)

Jason, I don't think there's anything X-factor about Kidd's 3-pointers. If you had read my column after Game 1 at espndallas.com (and why didn't you) would have seen that I say his 3-pointers have to be a factor, period. He's not going to make 6 every game, but he's got to hit the wide-open shots he gets to help alleviate pressure on Dirk from double-teams and make the Blazers think twice about jumping off Kidd and onto Dirk.

Drew (Dallas)

Although it'd be nice for Kidd to play the way he did in Game 1 I find it unlikely. If that's the case, who realistically would be able to fill the void based on the defensive play of the blazers?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:21 PM)

Drew, well, Marion and Terry combined for 11 points in Game 1. That's Marion's season average. The Blazers do play to take Terry out so maybe he doesn't get off. But, I wouldn't expect both of those guys to be in single figures. Plus, Barea was 1 of 7 in the game and Peja had just six points. There's a lot of firepower there that needs to come through. But, it's not unlike the Blazers who got just 2 points each from Brandon Roy and Wesley Matthews and eight from Gerald Wallace, who was being guarded by Marion.

Jason (Montana)

Even if Roddy B gets healthy enough to go, I say play him off the bench. Especially in this series. Deshawn kept Gaurds in check Game 1. Made open shots too. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:23 PM)

Jason, he will play off the bench if he plays at all. Believe me, Roddy is not sniffing the starting lineup.

Ken (Fort Worth)

Do you believe the Mavs will enter Game 2 with the right amount of passion and intensity to level the playing field tonight at the AAC?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:24 PM)

Having a technical difficulty posting questions. bear with me a second.

casanova (the colony)

why no run for brewer in game one? he would be ideal for this series, good defender, long, athetic, good motor, he may not be a big scorer, but this is not a series our little guards are going to excel in.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:26 PM)

Casanova, don't know what to tell you other than it's Rick's call.

Evan (New York)

I love the Mavericks, but I feel like they are at their best with Peja in the starting lineup instead of Marion. Marion and Terry off the bench is deadly, and Peja helps space the floor for Dirk. I know hes not great defensively, but with a player as talented as him, i feel like u need 2 take the good with the bad. your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:29 PM)

Evan, that's a call Carlisle had to make. Actually, when he first went with Marion in the starting lineup after Peja returned from missing 6 games I was suprised. Carlisle had gone to great lengths to keep Marion and Terry as soft of co-sixth men and Peja makes sense in the starting lineup. I think at the time, they were trying to work in Roddy at the 2 so having Roddy and Peja in the starting lineup presented severe defensive challenges. Now with Stevenson, Peja could work, but I think Carlisle is sticking with Marion because he's played really well.

Ravi (Southlake)

We keep talking about how good Portland is scorng points in the paint. Why can Mavs not score in the paint..Does have to be Dirk all the time.if we are going to get somewhere with this playoffs..Carlisle needs to drum this into his players..

Jeff Caplan
  (2:30 PM)

Ravi, where have you been? This team is a jump-shooting team. Always has been. They get their points in the paint mostly from Dirk drives, alley-oops to Chandler or offensive rebounds. Now, in Game 1 Dirk and Terry did a nice job driving and it paid off with free throws. JJ does a nice job, too. Remember, Roddy was the player the Mavs hoped would be their key penetrator but that never happened.

sahar (Israel)

Why Jason Kidd doesn't get to the paint like Nash's style and then he could pass the ball better and even score more

Jeff Caplan
  (2:31 PM)

Sahar, it's not Kidd's style. He's not nearly as quick and shifty as Nash. Kidd is much stouter and he's just not a guy that can dribble around like that slicing inside the lane. In the half court, he gives it up and sets up on the weak side for a 3.

Jack (Dallas)

Portland doesn't shoot three's very well, why don't we double team Aldrige with Miller's man or somebody else that doesn't have confidence to shoot the three?(Tyson has hard time handling him)

Jeff Caplan
  (2:33 PM)

Jack,The Mavs seem set on playing Aldridge 1-on-1. But, you are right, they are not good 3-point shooters.

Kobe (Dallas)

no team in the world could win it all just by shooting three pointers, so in my opinion Peja is not useful because he just shoots the threes. Brewer should play his minutes, he drives, defends better and brings great energy.. Agree?

Jeff Caplan
  (2:35 PM)

Kobe, wow, never met a Kobe other than that other Kobe. Peja can be useful, although I admit his six points in 18 minutes in Game 1 wasn't very impressive. I don't know if everyone is over-valuing Brewer or if Carlisle is being hard-headed, but I'm going to side with the coach and believe that he will use the best players he has. I'm pretty sure Carlisle doesn't want to get fired.

Josh (Iowa)

What's your take on the FT disparity from Game 1's 4th quarter? We hear the media siding with Nate, but after looking at the boxscore, how the FTs were earned, etc. it doesn't seem they have much of an argument. Skip Bayless just sounded silly in his defending of Nate and his argument that the Mavs get calls because of how vocal Mark is... seems most would think the opposite effect has been true.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:37 PM)

Josh,Any coach on the wrong side of that 19-2 is going to be upset. Would have been the same if the Mavs were on the other end, in fact Cuban probably would have ranted. The Mavs earned their free throws, but it's hard to say Portland didn't get more than 2. I thought they drove to, but I'd have to consult the tape for a possession by possession look. I just wouldn't expect such a disparity.

Tucker (St Louis)

I thought the foul story was more about the no calls in the first 3 quarters than the calls made in the 4th... Was it just me or did the Blazers push, pull, and grab Dirk no stop the 1st three quarters???

Jeff Caplan
  (2:40 PM)

Dirk thought he should have gotten some fouls in the first 3 quarters. Even LaMarcus Aldridge said Dirk was driving in the first three quarters too but was getting the calls in the fourth.

Jeff Caplan
  (2:41 PM)

OK, everyone. We've got to end this chat. Busy day ahead getting prepared for Game 2. Join espn_caplan and espn_macmahon on Twitter for the game and check espndallas.com throughout the day and tonight for the best coverage in the Metroplex.Take it easy.