Is there anything either of these teams could do in this series to earn some respect across the league?
I don't think so.
Despite earning the number two seed in the West and Chris Paul earning legit MVP talk... Nobody believes this team can win the Western Conference. All of the experts are pointing to their lack of playoff experience as the fatal flaw that prevents expectations from rising too high.
Is it just me, or does this team remind you a little bit of that first Sacramento team when Chris Webber lead them to the playoffs and several years contender status? Or maybe they remind me of that first Mavericks team to crack the first round of the playoffs with Dirk, Nash and Finley guiding the way?
Nobody really thought much of either team until they had made some noise in the playoffs. Then, they spent several seasons in the limelight, knocking on the door.
Is that what we have in this New Orleans team? Is this the first of many trips deep into the playoffs for CP3, West and Chandler? Or are they going to be back in the 7th, 8th, 9th seed battle with recent almost contenders like the Nuggets, Clippers, and Rockets?
Notice what I just did? I tried to talk them up and ended up dismissing this season's chances and started judging the team by what they might do next year instead of what they might do in this playoff run.
So, yeah, I'm with most of the rest of the critics. I just don't think the Hornets can win the West. Actually, I don't even think they can make it to the Western Conference Finals.
IF the Hornets knock out the vulnerable Mavericks they will run smack into the winner of the Suns-Spurs series. Nash-Shaq-Amare or Duncan-Parker-Ginobli. CP3 is really good. But this team isn't going to the Western Conference Finals.
What about the Mavericks? What are we to make of this team?
Dirk is playing with fire, even on a bum leg. Jason Kidd. Yeah, all of these years later and you can still call him "ason Kidd" because he doesn't have a J (jumpshot). But seriously, what does a guy have to do to earn your respect? He's lead a team to the finals twice already. He has inspired Dirk, which is worth a large chunk of his contract by itself and he has made Dampier into a legit center.
Seriously. Go watch the tape. Dampier hasn't played like this in any season with the Mavericks. Dampier has a legitimate chance to hang with any center in the West this year (since Yao is out). Yes, even Shaq. Have you SEEN Shaq play this year? I didn't say he could beat Shaq. He can hang with Shaq.
This Mavericks team really is quite talented.
But, Avery has looked like his is in over his head since Game One of LAST years playoff series. He hasn't made much sense all season and has made lots of wacky moves during the games and said lots of wacky stuff between games.
Dallas should have the talent to win this series. I just don't know if their coach can get them there now. He could two years ago. But, he seems lost and panicky.
Chris Paul appears to be on a mission. But he also seems doomed to failure. If Steve Nash couldn't will the Suns to the Finals how is CP3 going to do it?
This probably is a cop out, but I think the winner of Game One will win this series. If the Mavericks come out and get the job done, their confidence may soar and the Hornets may face an impossible task.
On the other hand, if the Hornets get the job done at home and find a way derail Dirk then I suspect Avery will overreact and send his team into a tailspin.