A Mavericks - Rockets Breakdown
Mavericks: Erick Dampier
Rockets: Dikembe Mutombo
Brown's take: If the Damp that has played in games prior to Utah shows up, then this is going to be a fun matchup to watch. Mutombo has been playing out of his big African mind, and I expect that if Damp nuts up tonight, you'll see some banging in the post. Mutombo has been playing very well in Yao's absence and over the streak. If Yao was healthy, no friggin' contest.
Mavericks: Brandon Bass (I guess)
Rockets: Luis Scola
Brown's take: I happen to like Brandon Bass, and I think he does well in a reserve roll either at the 4 or the 5. Do I think he's going to make noise as a starter? Not so much. And who's going to play behind him when the Rockets bring in the surprising, Carl Landry. Scola's averages about 15 and 7 in the past few games, which is serviceable as a role player. If Dirk were playing, no friggin' contest.
Mavericks: Josh Howard
Rockets: Shane Battier
Brown's take: Doesn't this really depend on which Josh Howard shows up tonight? If it's the poor shooting, lump of crap, that we've seen the past few games, then Battier has this wrapped up. If J-Ho pulls his head out of his ass, then maybe he'll remind everyone why he's part of the trio that is this team. Battier is exactly what the Rockets need him to be, steady and consistent force. Battier is a glue guy, and you can't really underestimate that.
Edge: Mavericks (I'm betting on J-Ho to find himself...God I hope so.)
Mavericks: Jason Terry
Rockets: Tracy McGrady
Brown's take: I'm a homer, but I'm not that much of a homer.
Mavericks: Jason Kidd
Rockets: Rafer Alston
Brown's take: The aging veteran against the And-1 tour. I happen to like Rafer Alston, but I don't think he's quite on par with what Jason Kidd brings to the table at the 1.
Mavericks: Jerry Stackhouse, Eddie Jones, Devean George, Malik Allen (TB&TB Favorite), Jamaal Magloire
Rockets: Carl Landry, Bobby Jackson, Luther Head, Gerald Green, Steve Novak
Brown's take: I think the Rockets have a stronger bench presence. They've adjusted to Yao being gone, and they've made the necessary changes to the rotation. The Mavericks are without their guy, and now they are depending on an steaky bench to bring this home.
Mavericks: Avery Johnson
Rockets: Rick Adelman
Brown's take: Boy, ask me a year ago, and I'd have said that Avery is your guy left, right, up and down. Now a days, the "overcoacher" seems to make the wrong decision every which way he turns. Adelman on the other hand has his guys playing as a team and getting hot at the right time in the West right now. He's adjusted for the loss of his anchor, and has his engine humming.
Brown's take: The Mavericks have matched up very well against the Rockets, and they are playing at home. Dallas has proved that at the AAC, they are much more of a force to be reckoned with. The fans are going to be bumping because they know that Dallas needs support with Dirk out. I'd love to say that Houston is "due" for a loss, but I'm not one to believe in those kinds of things. I just think that given the circumstances, the Mavericks know how much of a "must win" this really is, and that gives them an edge that really can't be discounted.
Brown's Final Take: Mavericks in OT.