DALLAS _ In less than a year, Derek Fisher has seen the Dallas Mavericks up close and in person from two different perspectives.
Last year Fisher was playing for the Los Angeles Lakers when the Mavs swept the Lakers in the second round of the playoffs. This year Fisher is playing for an Oklahoma City Thunder squad that leads the Mavs 3-0 in a best-of-seven first-round playoff series that resumes Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
So why were the Mavs able to sweep the Lakers last year in the playoffs but trail the Thunder in this year's playoffs? By Fisher's analysis, the Mavs are sorely missing glue players like Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, DeShawn Stevenson and Peja Stojakovic.
Fisher said: "It's tough to compare teams on a year-to-year basis, but I think it speaks to how you obviously need your stars to be stars, you need Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, guys that have been All-Stars -- Jason Kidd's a Hall of Famer. You need those guys to be who they are and I think by in-large they have been.''
As far as those glue players the Mavs are missing, Fisher said: "There's no way to, I think, overstate the importance of those guys, the importance of guys that are willing to sacrifice shots and playing time and individual success for what's best for the team.
"So when you think about Tyson Chandler, a guy like a DeShawn Stevenson who added toughness and three-point shooting last year, JJ Barea, Peja being a veteran guy that had been on successful teams before, you throw that in the pie, those are key guys to miss.''
-- Dwain Price
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