|Videos||• Latest||• Feature||• Sports||• Your Videos|
For just the second time since 1998, neither the Lakers nor the Spurs will represent the West. Instead, the veteran Dallas Mavericks will match up against the young-but-rapidly-maturing Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Mavericks are a collection of 30-some things bonded by a collective pursuit of their first championship. With strong defense and so many scoring options, they never know who'll share top billing with Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas swept the two-time defending champion Lakers in the second round. Nowitzki says together, the Mavs can beat the Thunder.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks forward, said, "Well, first of all I never lose faith in Jet, I mean we both have been through a lot in our last six, seven years here together and, we always came back. We ride each other often all the time. In games we yell at each other and all that is forgotten after the game and we just, we want to win together and it's been a fun ride, so, we'll see how far it can go this year."
Oklahoma City went the full seven games and then some, playing three overtimes in one game and one extra period in another. Most clubs would have wanted some down time, but the Thunder might be the exception. With their age and exuberance, a lone day off between series may have felt like an eternity.
All eyes will be on how each team covers the other's superstar. The 32-year-old Nowitzki, deadly accurate for the Mavs, will be pitted against the league's 22-year-old scoring champion Kevin Durant. It will be a battle of experience and youth.
Nowitziki and his hardwood teammates include sharp shooting Jason Terry and Peja Stojakovic, alongside ace delivery-man Jason Kidd. They will match up against Durant's sidekick in the Thunder attack, fellow 22-year-old point guard Russell Westbrook, as well as tough players like James Harden and Serge Ibaka.
Dallas won two out of three from Oklahoma City during the regular season, but the slate is clean in the playoffs with both sides hungering for a chance to play for the league title.