As the Mavericks were leaving the court after ending Portland’s
season, some of the Blazer fans were understandably yelling at them.
But the message wasn’t one of anger.
“They were great,’’ Dirk Nowitzki said of
the fans. “When we won and were walking off the court, a lot of them were
yelling “go beat LA.’’
The Mavericks will give that their best shot, of course, but
they understand that it will not be easy. They went 1-2 against the Lakers in
the regular season and everybody knows that beating the two-time defending
champions is going to be a huge challenge.
The Mavericks will be massive underdogs, even though Charles
Barkley of TNT already has predicted that the Mavericks will win the series in
“It’s going to be hard,’’ coach Rick
Carlisle said. “They’re great. They’ve been playing great.
They had their stretch of struggles, but they’re back on track. Both
teams will be rested. We’re looking forward to it.
“We know how good they are, but our team has a strong
belief in itself. We’ve got great fans. We know we’re going to have
to win on the road at some point in the series and we’ve been a good road
team for two years. That bodes well, but it doesn’t guarantee us anything
and we know that.’’
Nowitzki said that the Mavericks have to approach the Lakers
with respect, but also with a frame of mind that they have to be the
aggressors. But they have to do all that without losing their poise against a
team that is bigger and more athletic than the Mavericks are. In the final
meeting in the regular season, the Mavericks became agitated down the stretch,
losing their cool on their way to a blowout loss.
“We got to go for it in Game 1 and Game 2 and let it
all hang out,’’ Nowitzki said. “You got to go for it in the
first one. That’s how we’re going to approach it. You never want to
trail in a series, so Game 1 is big.
“We got to learn from that (the regular season against
the Lakers). They’re going to try to do the same thing Portland did and
that’s being physical. We can’t let that bother us. We can’t
lose our composure like we did in the last game there. We got to fight through