Matchups, matchups ... Mavs' many options vs. Shaq
Originally Published: June 4, 2006By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Two days ago, I wrote that the Suns had to figure out a way to get DeSagana Diop off the floor in order to win Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. It speaks volumes about the Mavs' depth and flexibility that Phoenix won that battle and still lost the war. Boris Diaw repeatedly torched Diop off the dribble en route to a 20-point first half, exiling the Dallas big man to the bench for most of the final 24 minutes. Another starter, guard Devin Harris, was equally deficient, suffering from early foul trouble and spending the entire second half on the bench. Instead, the Mavs flaunted their versatility by switching to an alignment they hadn't used all series. Dirk Nowitzki moved over to the center spot alongside three quick swingmen -- Jerry Stackhouse, Adrian Griffin and Josh Howard. The result was a suffocating defensive blitz that saw Dallas hold the NBA's best offense to 21 points in the first 18 minutes of the second half, sending the Mavs to their first-ever Finals. Now that they've made it, what Mavs lineup will we see against Miami? Will it be the big lineup that pounded Memphis into submission in Round 1? The small-ball whirling dervishes that terrorized San Antonio in Round 2? Or the endless stream of wingmen that finally hounded Phoenix into submission in the conference finals? Or how about (D) none of the above?