Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

May 10, 3:00 PM ET
Mavs with Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan
  (3:02 PM)

Hello everybody...Thanks for joining me today. With the big Lakers series concluded, the Mavs are in wait and see mode. So let's talk about it.

Ted (Dallas)

Why is the national media not giving the Mavs any credit for beating the Lakers? They are all about how the Lakers lost, not the Mavs winning.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:03 PM)

Ted, I don't know that the national media is not giving the Mavs any credit. I think they are. But, and Mavs fans you just have to deal with this... The Lakers' demise is a major story, especially with the meltdown factor. It's the Lakers, it's Kobe, it's th two-time champs. There's plenty of time for the Mavs to get the national love.

Jaime (Mexico)

Hi Jeff again, I think that the bench of Dallas is one of the most balanced in NBA, they got pure shooters, dribblers and a big man who is earning his salary right now, what are your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:05 PM)

Jaime, you said it. The bench has been tremendous. I mean look, Jason Terry, Peja Stojakovic and Brendan Haywood are long-time starters in this league. J.J. Barea is proving invaluable as a penetrator and an agitator. And look, Corey Brewer was a starter in this league and now he's basically the 10th man. It's a stocked bench for sure, and the Mavs need it.

Dan (CA)

If the Lakers offered Pau Gasol for Marc Gasol, the Grizz say "no", right?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:06 PM)

ha, funny. Let's all remember that Pau basically saved the Lakers franchise. Kobe went on the radio whimpering about wanting to be traded. They get Pau and they go to three consecutive finals and win back to back titles. Yes, he had a poor series, but come on. Marc Gasol has had a nice season and is improving all the time.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Will the Dallas Mavericks beat either the Grizzlies or the Thunder to reach the NBA Finals?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:08 PM)

Chris, I do believe they will. I think the Mavs are far more experienced than both those teams and I think that will be the decisive factor when it comes to closing out games.

Roger (Hillsboro)

I have been a Mavs fan since I was a kid and sweeping the Lakers was just as sweet as beating the Spurs and Kings in 2006. I like the Mavs vs anyone left, except the Bulls. But, I expect the Heat to advance out of the East. What's your take on the Western Conference Finals and the Mavs' chances in the NBA Finals?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:10 PM)

The way the Mavs are playing I do like their chances to go all the way. As I said, I think they will handled OKC or Memphis. In the Finals, Miami has two tremendous players and not much else. The Mavs would have distinct advantages in the paint and at point guard. The Mavs have proven to be very good defenders against LeBron and Dwyane Wade to be honest. The Bulls might prove to be a more difficult matchup because they are a more complete team. Carlos Boozer could be the key there depending on how he decides to play...not to get too far ahead of ourselves.

Marc (Greenville, SC)

Hi Jeff, Good job with the coverage....Given the superb adjustments the Mavs made against LA, Wouldn't you as OKC/Memphis focus on the perimeter shooting stops and lane clogging.Offensively/defensively, what adjustments if any will Carlisle make?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:12 PM)

Marc,That's a good question. When Jason Terry and Peja are on the floor together, teams have to keep a man on both. When Dirk is on the floor with those two it presents a real problem for defenses, which have to pay close attention to Dirk and some teams like to double. Both shooters are streaky, but when they're on, they're on.

Jason ((Approx 17 mi. from Phils vacation home), Montana)

Jeff, who's a more favorable matchup for the Mavs right now? Z Bo seems to be losing his magic a little bit and I don't see another solid scoring threat for a whole series, except for maybe Marc Gasol. Though they're big, I think the Mavs have shown that they match up well with big, physical teams like Memphis. Your thoughts?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:14 PM)

Jason, I keep going back and forth on this. Initially I was thinking OKC is the more favorable matchup because I like Memphis' size and defense. But, I'm skeptical about their guard play and that has a direct effect on decision-making. I have been leery of OKC's defense and their own decision-making. I think they can be dumb offensively, not knowing situations and I don't understand some of the Iso stuff they run and then get poor shots. In the end, I guess I'd prefer Memphis because Durant and Westbrook can kill you at any time and they present more matchup problems.

Curtis (Grand Prairie, TX)

Caplan,I almost feel that we slightly may have a "Rangers vs Yankees" moment with the Mavericks. We beat the champions and now what? But my alter ego tells me Mavericks have found how to win no matter what and I don't see any team stopping them even Miami. What do you think of that comparison?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:17 PM)

Yeah, sure, it's a good comparison other than the Mavs went to the finals in 2006 and have won 50-plus games for 11 seasons. The Rangers were awful for a decade. To the larger point, the Mavs do seem to have changed colors since Game 4 at Portland. They are playing confidently and they were the ones that closed out Games 1, 2 and 3 in L.A. It's still stunning to me because even in Game 6 at Portland, the Mavs let a 17-point lead with about 1:20 to play in the third quarter, dwindle to 86-85 with about five minutes to go.As well as the Mavs played last series, I still can't help but think the Lakers' unraveling was a big, big factor and started well before the series.

John Martin (Los Angeles)

I'm a big Boston fan, but it looks like the tides maybe changing in the East with the Heat rising. I believe they would get by Chicago or Atlanta. If Dallas makes it into the Finals do you think Dirk would be reminded every game during that series of what happened in 2006?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:18 PM)

John,Of course, and I would think that's a good thing. I would think it would motivate him beyond belief.

Dallin (Washington DC)

Any news on Roddy B? Any situation where he might be used off the bench? Or is Carlisle not going to mess with his rotations?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:20 PM)

Well, Carlisle is using a four-man bench and Ian Mahinmi,Corey Brewer and Brian Cardinal are active. So who are you going to deactivate to play Roddy B. I just don't know if there's a spot for him. I think at this point you have to keep Brewer and a third big man active, especially against Memphis. If it's OKC maybe Cardinal can sit, but I don't see Carlisle deactivating Cardinal. He offers to much in spot situations if need be.

Eddie Lopez (Fort Worth Texas)

Is there a possibility Caron Butler will be back for the playoff run???

Jeff Caplan
  (3:21 PM)

Eddy ... well, that question got a little murkier today... check out this link from talking with Carlisle just about an hour ago.

West Coast Mavs Fan (San Francisco)

Does Kidd's speed (or lack thereof) create a match-up problem for the Mavs against younger and faster guards on either the Thunder or Grizzlies?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:23 PM)

Neither team presents a great matchup for Kidd. Against Memphis, Kidd will likely take OJ Mayo, the bigger shooting guard instead of the quicker Mike Conley, although Conley isn't a tremendous break-your-defense-down penetrator, but he is doing a solid job and growing up. Clearly, Kidd would not guard Russell Westbrook either except for late-game situations if need-be.Westbrook is taking a lot of heat for shooting too much, but he can take over a game and is fast and athletic.

Justin (Dallas)

Other than this last Game Four, the end of the first half/beginning of the third quarter continues to be a BIG PROBLEM for the Mavs each game. How are they addressing this over the break, so it doesn't continue to be a problem in the next series?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:25 PM)

Justin, no doubt. The Mavs don't seem to close out quarters well. I'm not sure there's any way to really address the issue other than just pounding home good, solid defense without doing anything stupid, Jason Terry. Sometimes guys make lucky shots and you can't do anything about it. But, letting a team get a good look at the end of a quarter or half has the potential to change momentum.

C.J. (Iowa)

When is the Western Conference Finals scheduled for (if its known)?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:25 PM)

If OKC-Mem ends in 6, the series starts Sunday at the AAC. If it goes 7, the series starts Tuesday.

Angie (Little Elm)

Remember I said people need to pay attention to Haywood, even though Chandler is the Sexy pick. I think after the Lakers series this two man center combination is the best of the remaining field that is left. Sorry Memphis.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:26 PM)

Angie,Tyson and Brendan have been very good, particularly defensively. But, you can't compare those two to Marc Gasol and Randolph. Those guys are go-to scorers.

Russ (NJ)

Can the mavs realistically beat Miami, assuming both of them make the finals? What about Chicago?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:27 PM)

Russ, Why not. The Mavs have a big advantage in the paint and at the point vs. Heat. Rose presents a huge challenge for the Mavs, plus the physicality and defense of the Bulls. Remember, during the regular season, the Dallas swept Miami, Boston and Atlanta and were swept by Chicago.

Carlos (dallas)

If we dont win it all this yr who do u see not returning on this team? Woulld JJ or chandler leave through FA?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:30 PM)

Carlos,Whether the Mavs win it all or not, huge changes could be in store. First of all, there will be a new CBA in place and the salary structure will be much different, possibly a hard cap. Tyson Chandler will be a free agent as well as Caron Butler and J.J. Barea. Jason Terry will be heading into his final year and had he not performed well in the playoffs, he could have been a trade chip. So there will be plenty of business to take care of during the offseason, whenever the lockout comes and goes.

John S (Addison)

I am shocked with Cuban being able to keep his mouth shut and the focus on his team and players on the court, is this a grown up Cuban we are seeing? Now I'm all for him talking when this run is over...but for now...keep it Shhhhhh.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:31 PM)

John, this might be the biggest story of the playoffs and good for Cuban. He recognized that he doesn't need to inject himself as the story. He became the story in 2006 and well all the time. Give him credit for staying in the background and just enjoying what is happening with his team. Although it might take just one perceived bad call to change all that.

Jim (Chicago)

How much do these playoffs mean to Dirk's legacy?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:33 PM)

Jim, great question and I wrote about this at the start of the postseason. Dirk is in the process of changing perceptions right now with this performance. If he wins it all he suddenly enters the pantheon of the greats. I thought his legacy was changing over the last couple years, especially with his performance against Denver a couple of years ago.

Suda (Grapevine)

Rest is good for us, whats the practice and workout schedule for the mavs during the down time. Rest up J-Kidd! Go Mavs! STUDY FILM!!

Jeff Caplan
  (3:34 PM)

Suda, today they had an optional practice, which basically was players coming in, getting some shots up, some treatment etc. They'll get back to work Wednesday and workout daily.

Rett (Dallas, TX)

Hey Jeff,Who do you got playing the Mavs in the Western Conference Finals?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:34 PM)

After last night I've got OKC.

Nick (New York)

How do you think the Mavs will play as the favorites?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:35 PM)

I don't think that stuff really matters, although people think differently.

Jay (Allen)

It seems to me that the Mavs will have to establish a paint presence besides JJ Barea to continue to be successful so they don't have to rely on the 3. Do you agree, and if so, how can this be done?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:35 PM)

Yes and you know Jason Terry has done a pretty decent job of putting the ball on the floor and even Jason Kidd, to me, has been more active than usual trying to get into the lane. And of course Dirk has done a good job of driving.

Larry David (LA)

Meeting me was prettayyyyy, prettayyy, prettayyyy, pretty cool wasn't it?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:36 PM)

Highlight of my trip. One of my heroes, sir.

James (Atlanta)

Good, Great, or Amazing: Memphis and OKC having so many OT games while Dallas is resting up?

Jeff Caplan
  (3:37 PM)

Can't hurt the Mavs, but both those teams are young, it shouldn't be a problem.

Jeff Caplan
  (3:38 PM)

OK, everybody, thanks for all the questions. See you next Tuesday when we'll either be one game into the WCF or we'll be looking forward to Game 1 that night. Thanks again and remember you won't find more or better Mavs content than a friend.