Golden State Warriors @ Dallas Mavericks - "Playoff Practice" Begins Against Dirk Nowtizki and Friends

During the Nellie-ball era, the Warriors owned the Dallas Mavericks. Who could forget their David-versus-Goliath showdown in the 2006-2007 playoffs, which seemed to shatter then MVP Dirk Nowitzki's confidence. The Mavs weren't quite the same the next few seasons with early exists in the playoffs, but they look like they're read to compete again for a title sitting at 16-4, right behind the San Antonio Spurs.

The Warriors have struggled to score against even the worst defensive teams (the Phoenix Suns) and tonight they face a team that has one of the best defenses in the league, #4 to be exact. Tall, long and athletic, the Mavs might be the closest to matching the Spurs and the Lakers in terms of defensive abilities. Tyson Chandler looks to be healthy once again and has, in the past, demolished the Warriors through block shots and his alley-oops from Chris Paul. With Jason Kidd lobbing passes, its no wonder that Chandler is having one of this best season in years.

Nowitzki has never been a great defender, but the Mavs have shored up their perimeter defense with Caron Butler, who when healthy is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league.

The biggest question really is who will guard who. Biedrins, as solid as he has been this season, always gives up size to Chandler and has struggled to score against bigger and stronger defenders. Lee will most likely guard Nowitzki, which should be a helluva challenge, but is that the smartest idea to put one of the worst Warrior defenders against the Mav's best scorer? But if Dorell Wright guards Nowitzki, I can't imagine Lee defending Butler. I can't imagine anyone keeping up with Butler besides Wright and maybe Carney.

The Mavs looks like they are a match-up nightmare for the Warriors. In spite of their average scoring mark (19th), they're a team that could get up and down the floor fast even with aging wings in Butler and Marion.

Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry found their offensive chemistry again, but the Warriors will need more from Lee and/or Wright to have a chance.

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