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Series Preview: [2] Dallas Mavericks vs. [7] San Antonio Spurs - Return of the Manu

Foreword: The PtR "staff" is a group of people who would probably be accurately described as nerds. So, when I proposed a theme and series of photoshops for this preview, it was met with eager suggestions and help from many of them. With that in mind, the following is probably the nerdiest post you will ever see on a basketball blog. At least, it will be until the next series.

Our story begins with an evil force from a land just as evil, who some say is really a man, while others really won't commit to calling him that. A creature who once had a magical ring, and ultimate power, almost within its grasp before its one weak point was exposed, and the ring was taken away. After taking a series of steps to regain its strength, it has now marshaled an army the likes of which has never been seen in that evil land the creature calls home. I speak, of course, about Dallas. And the creature? Well, our Dallas correspondent CMoney managed to catch a snapshot of the creature and send it to us. This is what we're up against:

Oh yes, we did.

The man who can turn the tide

The Dark Lord has summoned all the forces of evil at his disposal, like the witch-king (who allegedly has a facial urination fetish) and his ugly-as-sin "flying" companion.


The Dark One also has at his disposal a former Wizard who has turned to evil to support himself. He is called Caronuman.


Caronuman uses an associate named WifebeaterTongue to manipulate others. He does this through hypnosis, as he is too old and slow to have any real fighting skills.


There is also a creature who is extremely ugly and foul smelling, and yet somehow manages to sneak up on almost everybody. It's hard to know what this creature is up to, and even the commander of the Dallas army has no idea what to do with it. No one is quite sure what to call it either, but some say its name is Bareollum.


Bareollum may attempt to lead our heroes into the grasp of another disgusting creature, Shelob Marion. A giant spider who protects the entrance to Dallas, it provides a formidable obstacle to those who would enter.


But there are heroes who will stand up to these abominations. Let's meet them. First, the great wizard who can defeat any large creature in his path, Tim Ganduncan.


Here we see him in action:

Just one evil beast who SHALL. NOT. PASS.

The most important human to the cause is Aragornobili, who is heir to the throne, and therefore known as The Manu. His good looks drive women(and some men) wild, but his superior skills have earned the respect of even the most evil of men.


Pledging to fight alongside Aragornobili is an extremely fast, mobile marksman who always seems to find his target - Les TonyLas. His skills are vital when needing to vanquish a great number of foes quickly.


Here's another fighter on the side of good, one who is known to work well with either Les TonyLas or Aragornobili. A stocky fellow who in nonetheless very nimble, and known to sever limbs by accident on occasion, but who is always smiling and laughing while vanquishing his foes. This character is known only as BLLLAAAAIIIRRR. Do not get in his way.


One of our heroes is somewhat of an enigma, a man who is probably noble at heart, but sometimes lets his desire for power and attention get the best of him. This man is known Borichardmir.


There is also a man who was injured during the last battle against the forces of Dallas, Faramir Hill. His return to the battlefield may swing the tide for the forces of good, but we will have to wait and see.


Finally, there is the rather unimpressive man tasked with bailing the rest of these out. You wouldn't know it by his exterior, but Matt Baggins is crucial to the victory of good. He has experience with the ring, and knows its power.


But there is one man whom the ring holds no power over, a mysterious drunkard who seems to be able to control every detail of everything. In this case, he is the driving force behind the forces of good. I speak, of course, of Pop Bombadil.


Who will triumph? Only Pop Bombadil knows.


And now, on to the actual preview.

San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks [Game 1]
Where: American Airlines Arena - Dallas, TX
When: April 18, 2010; 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: TNT


How They Stack Up
29-12 Home 28-13
21-20 Road 27-14
Offense 102.0
96.3 Defense 99.3
47.3 FG% 46.5
3-pt% 37.2
FT% 81.6
Rebounds 41.7
TOs 12.9
6-4 Last 10 8-2
Lost 1
Streak Won 5
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Southwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 9:00 PM
West Coast
5:00 PM
Philippines 8:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
6:00 PM
Perth, AUS 8:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 9:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 10:00 AM



George Hill

Point Guard

I'm expecting Hill to start, as he's had time to rest his ankle and the starting unit is fully meshed. George needs to concentrate on locking his guy down on defense, while staying aggressive on the offensive end and hitting the corner pockets.

Although Kidd has slowed down, he can still run the offense and dish the rock. The Spurs need to guard him on the 3-pt line, while trying to exploit his oldness on the defensive end. Experience gets the slight nod.

Advantage: Dallas

Jason Kidd


Manu Ginobili

Shooting Guard

Butler has provided Dallas with another scoring option since his trade from the Wizards. However, can he reproduce Howard's production from last year on both ends? I'm doubtful.

Manu has gone absolutely Supernova this last month. His competitive fire, all-around skills and unpredictable game have lifted the Spurs from their pre-All Star mire. Sorry, Mavs fans, but there's no freaking way that Butler > Manu. That's just ridiculous.

Advantage: Spurs

Caron Butler


Richard Jefferson

Small Forward

This is a tight matchup. Marion is the defensive force for the Mavs and will be a pest for whoever he guards. He also has the ability to score a few points, especially with Kidd running the show.

For as much grief as we've given RJ, he could be a real X-factor for us this series. Defensively, he just needs to be steady, but his newfound aggressiveness will be imperative on the offensive end. Jefferson needs to get to the line early and often. I'm calling this a tie.

Advantage: Tied

Shawn Marion


Tim Duncan

Power Forward

Dirk always seems to kill us with his patented fadeaway jumper. I don't know that we can stop that, but we need to aggressively exploit his defensive and rebounding lapses.

Timmeh may not be the German's offensive equal at this time, but he's still a better rebounder and defender. Plus, Duncan always seems to step up his game in the Playoffs. For now, I'm calling it even, but I'm not happy about it.

Advantage: Tied

Dirk Nowitzki


Antonio McDyess


Dice needs to concentrate on playing solid defense and grabbing boards. If his sweet, sweet jumper is falling, that's just gravy.

Dampier got the last start, but Haywood's been getting the minutes. Brendan is a decent defender and good rebounder, but will his lack of playoff experience hurt?.

Advantage: Dallas

Brendan Haywood


Tony Parker

Bench & Role Players

Tony is now playing the part of SMOTY Ginobili. His health has returned, and Parker should be able to slice and dice the Dallas defense like a Ginsu knife. Blair matches up well with the Mavs (as witnessed by the last game) and should get some serious burn (please, Pop). I have faith that Matty will eat a good sandwich and find his form this year. The rest of the bench gives Pop the flexibility to mix and match at will. Whoever plays well will get the minutes.

Terry is a _____ who can still pour in the points, Barea is an annoying little gnat who always gives the Spurs fits, and Beaubois is an exciting young player, who Carlisle doesn't play enough for some reason. They've got more depth than in the past, but so do we.

Advantage: Tied

Jason Terry


Gregg Popovich


Pop has finally gotten his rotations figured out. Plus, he's already messed with their heads by benching Timmeh and Manu right before the last game. Classic CIA.

Carlisle is a good coach and has kept the Mavs ship righted this season. However, he doesn't always give his best players the most burn. I don't think Carlisle has the ability to pull a Pop or PJax.

Advantage: Spurs

Rick Carlisle

images via


Other Factors



You can pretty much throw out all the stats for this game. The Spurs and the Mavs know each other well. Both teams will be raring to go and brining it.

Advantage: Tied


The mojo is dead, but don't dare break the "Rules".

Advantage: None


Spurs steal the first game on the Mavs home floor, setting up an epic series.

Keys To The Game

  • Intensity - It's the PLAYOFFS! We need to come out with energy and start strong. BAM also needs to impose their will when on the court, especially on the defensive end.
  • 3 Point Shooting - It's no secret that our 3-pt shooting has been hit and miss this season. One of our gunners needs to hit consistently to keep the lane open for Tim, Tony and Manu. It's imperative that we hit the corner pockets.
  • Defense - Containing Dirk may be difficult, but Howard is no longer around to torch us. We need to ensure that no one else steps up.

Strength of Schedule

First game of the playoffs. The next game isn't until Wednesday. I'm so excited, I'm going to plotz!

Last Time They Met

The last game of the season was an interesting one. Dallas won 96-89, but Timmeh and Manu didn't play. The Mavs had trouble with our bench, especially DeBeast. Let's hope this is an omen.

Some Other Reading


Mavs Moneyball - The SBNation home of the Mavericks. They played nice with us last year during the playoffs, so go say hi, but please don't be trollish.
The Two Man Game - The TrueHoop blog for Dallas. 48MoH quotes and links them pretty often, so it can't be all that bad. Some good analysis can be found here.


48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is still going strong, "pounding" out some of the best analysis there is on our beloved Spurs.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Where to Tune In


This game will be aired nationwide on TNT. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.


As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.


If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

The Credits

Preview by CapHill
Photoshops and story by LatinD, silverandblack_davis, and Tim C.
Character suggestions and ideas from all of the above, plus WVATS, jrw, and Lauri