The ability of Batum to hassle Nowitzki on the defensive switches was critical to the Blazers's success (and MavMelt [TM]). At times he had Terry or Kidd and when the switch came, he ended up with Dirk and really made it hard for him to operate. So much of what the Mavs have been running is basic Pick and Rolls, with an eye toward getting Dirk's first defender off of him. Likewise, with Batum quick enough to guard the perimeter guys, he could handle that as well if he came off Dirk. Nic's value is always going to be a bit invisible, but his ability to rotate onto practically anyone is huge. Hence, a new nickname to add to his menagerie: Masterswitch!
A shout out is deserved, too, for Aldridge, who twice picked the entry pass (from Kidd both times?) after he'd been switched on to the perimeter player, which led to fast-break baskets both times.
Bless his cold-streakin' heart, but even Rudy played a key role on the defensive end. He was ball-hawking, really going after the man on the ball. Simply taking 3 or 4 second off the shot clock with his peskiness, he did what DeShawn Stevenson was doing to us in the first half--disrupting the sets, and taking a few precious seconds away from the offense. It was good to see Rudy giving it his all and not pouting despite getting yanked (which was entirely understandable).
We really need to keep getting into Kidd's grill. It's clear that he's not going to blow past anyone much, and as long as everyone plays the pass when he does get by, he will often just circle back to the perimeter.
D 'em up, Blazers!