Strategery for Game 2

Putting Game 1 behind us is one option. First let's look at few things the Blazers might look to do differently in Game 2.

Offensive Rebounding

The Mavs are a poor offensive rebounding team. Hard to know that from Game 1. The Blazers let the Mavs have too many offense rebounds, especially in the first half. LMA and Wallace must establish better position and corral the ball. The Mavs coaching staff had their players looking for Blazer tip-outs. Miller must stay in front of Kidd and keep him off the glass. If the Blazers can box out and keep the Mavs one-and-done, the odds tip in the Blazers' favor.

Getting Out on the Fast Break

If the Blazers scour up Dallas misses, they should be able to push the ball at back them. A few early fast break baskets, some mismatches exploited in early sets, and the complexion of the game suddenly changes. The Mavs will be forced into a more one-and-dones in the effort to get back and set up on D.

Defending the Pick and Roll

Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzski played great pick and roll basketball in Game 1. Both had great games. Rather than guarding Kidd with Miller, some folks have suggested using Batum. This puts a good defender on Kidd, disrupts the passing lanes, and also leaves Dirk well defended in switches.

In any event, leaving Kidd undefended when he's hitting 3s won't work.  So when Miller does play Kidd, and he might the bulk of their minutes, look for weak-side rotations across the lane to cover Dirk's roll into space, especially to cut off the drive to the hoop.

The Blazers can't let Dirk and Kidd beat them two straight -- they've got to put the pressure on the rest of the Mavs show up and make shots.


Playing Roy alongside Miller isn't working. Roy isn't moving well without the ball, and Miller will never be an outlet shooter. Both need the ball in their hands to play their game. Roy needs a quality 3-point threat in the backcourt to give him space to operate. Rudy, a good playmaker in his own right, is option one. Oddly, Nate might try going big, with Brandon at PG and Batum at SG for short stretches.

Roy Matthews and Camby need large and productive minutes with the starting unit. I see Roy playing less overall, but perhaps more effectively by using him in spots. [Having a healthy Oden, or a Vanilla Gorilla, would make the rotations SO much easier and flexible. Against a bigger team, in Round 2, it gets even harder.]

But the main thing is to play through LMA on the post. No waving LaMarcus out of the post; if I am LMA, I am not clearing out, I am calling for the dang ball. Find him, feed him, make the defense respond to him. Trust LMA to make the right pass when doubled, and otherwise to go hard to his move, make the bucket and make the refs call the foul. If the Blazers own the paint like they did in Game 1, it won't take much of an improvement elsewhere to take Game 2.

Get Chandler in Early Foul Trouble

The Blazers won easily in the regular season when they worked Chandler to the bench. Without him, Dallas has trouble collecting rebounds, and the middle clears for drives and for LMA on the low block. So Nate might take the ball at Chandler early. Look for LMA, Crash Wallace, and Miller to challenge him at the hoop.

The Mavs got away with some moving picks in Game 1. Look for Miller to run into a Chandler hip-check to draw the offensive foul, and help keep the Mavs and the refs honest.

Can Some Threes

The Mavericks pack the lane at the defensive end, either by sagging in their man-to-man or by playing a crowded zone. The Blazers need to clear space for LMA to operate and for cutters to the rim. That means someone must hit an occasional 3 just to keep the Mavs defense honest.

Show More Hustle

As much as anything, the Blazers were a step slow to the ball for most of Game 1. Expect Wallace, Batum and Matthews to come out with extra energy for Game 2.

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