Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “Still, the Nuggets will be a big change from the Spurs. ‘It’s a different level of athlete we’ll see, top to bottom,’ coach Rick Carlisle said. ‘There’s going to be technicals and flagrants in the playoffs. We always talk about the importance of keeping our aggression but also having poise. Denver’s an aggressive team, but so are we.’ The Mavericks still don’t physically intimidate their opponents, but they have become mentally tougher this season, a trait that can be traced to Jason Kidd’s arrival. Asked about the Nuggets’ zest for mixing it up, Kidd said: ‘We’re not going to back down. They probably will be physical. But this is the playoffs. We’ll be fine.’” The article also mentions that George Karl plans to start the series guarding Dirk one-on-one with Kenyon Martin. Of course those are based on Karl’s own comments, so draw conclusions at your own peril.
David Moore of the Dallas Morning News: “Expect Denver to leave Jason Kidd or Antoine Wright when they are on the court to run an extra defender at Nowitzki. Look for them to shadow Jason Terry off the pick-and-roll the way San Antonio did. ‘The wild card I like in this game is A.C. [Anthony Carter] on Jason Terry defensively,’ Karl said. ‘Jason is a tough match-up for a lot of teams, but we’ve done a good job on him. Knock on wood.’ The Nuggets believe they can live with 20 to 25 a game from Nowitzki. What they don’t want is for Terry to explode. He didn’t during the regular season. Terry failed to score more than 20 points and shot 39.4 percent from the field in four games against the Nuggets.”
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: “J.J. Barea’s response to those who think he can’t match up with any of the Nuggets players: ‘Hey, they’ve got to match up with me, too. … They’ve got strong guards, but I’m just going to do what I do.’”
Revisiting the relationship between Rick Carlisle and Chauncey Billups from their Detroit days.
Dave Krieger of the Denver Post: “Kenyon Martin admits that Dirk Nowitzki, the next NBA star on his playoff menu, has an advantage. He’s taller than me, of course,’ Martin said of the Mavericks’ 7-foot forward. ‘But I think I make up for height in other ways.’ At ‘other ways,’ he raised his eyebrows and grinned. The wretches knew what he was talking about, but just in case, he spelled it out: “Hold him, grab him, push him, whatever you can do.’”