<div align="center"> Dallas Mavericks VS Houston Rockets </div> Position-by-Position Analysis <u>Center to Small Forward By Aznxballer</u> C- Yao Ming vs Erick Dampier- This is a pretty crucial matchup here. Very different players here, Yao plays through jumpers and finesse while Dampier plays more physically and bodying. However, Houston's fate in the playoffs depends on this matchup. Yao Ming needs to really step it up and bring down rebounds and points. First off, since Dallas makes a lot of their shots, its very important to grab the ones that they don't. Between these two guys, Yao has more capabilities of scoring than Dampier- but has to score as well. He has the obvious height advantage over Dampier as well as a bigger offensive arensal. Question is, can Yao step it up for the playoffs and bring his A game? Houston Advantage PF- Ryan Bowen vs Dirk Nowitzki- Definitely not a matchup of the century. Here we've got Dallas' best player against Houston's weakest position. However, thats not really the point here. We already know that combined, all the power forwards on Houston probably can't outscore Dirk on a given night, so the key here would be for Bowen to contain Dirk's scoring. Bowen's got the height, speed, and hustle to do it, so the question is if he can keep up with Dirk and draw double teams away from McGrady. If Bowen gets open shots, he needs to take it to make Dallas think twice about doubling McGrady. Meanwhile, Dirk will probably have his usual game on- hitting the threes, scoring inside, and giving Houston a world of troubles. Dallas Advantage SF- Tracy McGrady vs Josh Howard- This matchup hopefully will even things out with the whole Dirk thing going on. Basically, Dallas is sticking their best defender on McGrady and trying to contain the game that he brings. On any given night, McGrady can light up the crowd and will the team to victory. Plus, he has a huge arsenal of offensive weapons at his disposal- the one on one game, the long range, the inside, and the midrange. Which is like the entire court. Don't underestimate Josh Howard however, if he stays aggressive, he can put up around twelve points a night and grab a decent amount of boards. However, the just doesn't equal McGrady. Houston Advantage <u>Shooting Guard to 6th Man by magnomonkey</u> VS. SG- David Wesley/Michael Finley Key matchup here, Finley still hasn't lost that explosiveness he once had, and Wesley is a deadly spot up shooter. Shooting-wise, both are basically even, but Finley's ability to score in the oddest situations, whether he is tripled, or throws up a random shot, seperates the two. If Wesley can just hit his shots, this matchup shouldn't be as uneven as it could be, but by going by pure talent and stats, Finley wins this. Advantage: Dallas VS. PG- Bob Sura/Jason Terry These two are very streaky players. Both can go off for 30, or give you 7 a game. But both have the ability to keep their team in the game. Whatever defense you throw at him, Terry can will his way into scoring points. Sura can will anything into happening, battling back from surgery and asserting himself in our offense well. Terry is to big of an offensive threat to be left alone, so do not expect Sura to be doubling Dirk. This is a tough one to call, so I'll say it even, but Terry has a bigger advantage on the offensive end. Advantage: Even VS. Sixth Man- Mike James/Jerry Stackhouse A Former Superstar in Stackhouse, versus an experienced, talented role-player who won a ring last year with Detroit in James. Most people would pick Stack' in this matchup, but they shouldn't be playing each other straight up consistently. James is just as explosive as Stackhouse, and his defense is rated higher. If the Rockets take out Stackhouse in this series, they have a HUGE chance to win it, that being said, Dallas should have a really hard time taking James out of the series. Like Terry, he can find a way to score. Advantage: Even <u>Keys to the game by Trip</u> Threes - The Rockets attempt quite a few three pointers every night. With great perimeter shooters like David Wesley, Jon Barry and Mike James on the roster, it should be deemed reasonable that the Rockets live and die by the three at times. If Houston wants to win on Saturday, they'll have to make their three point attempts. Yao/Mac Produce - Like a lot of teams that rely on stars to pull them over the hill, the Rockets' success each night depends on the MacMing combo. Both players will have physical defenders on them, so they would have to be smart and not get stupid offensive fouls. McGrady would have to make his shots and Yao would have to do a good job getting offensive rebounds and scoring in the post. Keep rest of Dallas in check - Houston will most likely feature Ryan Bowen, Scott Padgett and Clarence Weatherspoon in an effort to stop Dirk Nowitzki, he the same superstar who scored 53 points on the Rockets in December. The team will have to face this bleak reality: Nowitzki will score at least 30 on you. Thus, it is very important to make sure no one else on the Dallas roster scores too much. Keep everyone else from putting up big stats; Dirk can't win games by himself. <u>Keys to the game by Dan for Mavericks</u> Home Crowd ? This is the last game of the series, the winner of this game will head onto the second round to face phoenix, the winner of this game is a step closer to getting that championship, no matter what the crowd is going to be loud tonight, and this could be the small advantage that the Mavs need to finish off the series. Don?t Lose Confidence ?Well after every win you gain confidence, maybe not individually If you had a poor game, but you gain confidence in your team? It goes the other way too. After having to taste their own medicine in game 6 it?s no doubt that the Dallas Mavericks have lost some of their confidence heading into the final game of the series, and that could hurt them, you could see Avery Johnson get all riled up and angry in the post-game interview, they have to play the same as they have the whole series and not adjust anything, not anything major anyway? No Streaks ? The Houston Rockets are a team of streaks, they have to make a few shots in order to make a few more shots, confusing? Well think about it, when Yao scores his first 3 shots, he ended up only missing one game 2, when Mike James hit a few shots in game 6 he continued to hit more, but when he missed a few in game 4 I think it was he continued to struggle, other examples are Jon Barry?s threes as well as Sura?s, simple to say but hard to stop. Dan's Prediction I really don?t know who is going to win this game/series obviously I hope that it?s the Rockets but I said that Dallas would win after they beat the Rockets in game 4. I?m not going to predict the winner here, instead I?ll say who I think will do what?In this game I?m expecting T-Mac to go crazy again, I don?t know if there?s anyone in this series let alone one whole playoffs who wants to get into the second round as much as he does, I expect Yao to do well too, this here is also the closest he?s ever been to the second round. Mike James has already tasted championship gold, and he?s ready for more, he showed some great moves and fakes in game 6, hopefully he?s still hot and can help us end the series, I hope Wesley plays well but he?s been incredibly inconsistent so far in the playoffs, but if there was ever a game where I wanted him to play well, this is it, another player who I want to see do the 3 fingered rocket salute is Jon Barry, who played great in game 6, Sura was quite ineffective scoring 0 points but only taken 3 shots, but if he knew his shots weren?t falling it was smart for him to hand the ball off. Ryan Bowen I think needs to shoot more of those open jumpers, he?s shown he can hit them but it seems he?s too shy to shoot, and lastly?the ever so confident Dikembe Mutombo the amount of minutes he plays will depend on how well Yao is playing, personally I think we should let Yao play as hard as he can, don?t worry about the fouls and when he gets too tired or has at least 5 fouls, but Deke in that way we get all of Yao?s game as well as a fresh Dikembe. This could very well be our last game, let?s all enjoy it! Let's Go Rockets!