James Harden and the division champion Houston Rockets will face the Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in a epic playoffs battle destined to go the distance. The Rockets own the regular season matchup with a 3-1 record– Dallas winning their only game at home on Fri, Feb 20 with a final score of 111-100. But don’t sleep on the Mavs as they have added a several key pieces to the puzzle with the acquisitions of Rajon Rondo, Tyson Chandler, and Chandler Parsons. And with only a six win disparity separating the second seed Rockets from the seventh seed Mavs, each team equally has a shot at making a serious run at the Western Conference title.
Will James Harden and Dwight Howard proved to be a formidable duo, or will a stacked Dallas team play spoiler as they make their case for the best team in Texas? Team S.U. delivers the run-down with their NBA playoffs predictions.
2015 NBA Playoffs: Rockets vs Mavericks- Round 1 Series Predictions
Keith Rivas (Editor): Yes, I know that James Harden is on the Rockets. Yes, I also know Dwight Howard is on the Rockets, too. But you know who’s not on the Rockets? Victory.
Let me tell you why.
The Dallas Mavericks were the only team to come remotely close to touching the San Antonio Spurs in last year’s playoffs — and that was in the first round as an eight seed. IF the Mavs were good enough to stand toe-to-toe against the eventual champs (who wouldn’t have been much of anything if Dallas had won Game 7), they’ll have no problem competing with James Harden & Co.
And by no problem, I mean coming out victors. Perfection will not be necessary, but clutch play over hype will make the difference in the battle for Texas.
The Mavs will come up on top in this one — no doubt about it.
Prediction: Mavs (4-3)
Steve Turner (NBA Writer): The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks matchup is going to be the most exciting first round in my opinion! James Harden has been on fire lately, establishing himself as the best shooting guard in the league. Harden can easily make you pay from the three-point line, even with a defender in his face. He finished second in the league in points per game. This guy is going to make the difference for this Rockets team in the postseason.
Harden can draw fouls effortlessly and easily cash in for those two points. Watch out for him in the playoffs. Also, Dwight Howard is back for Houston and he’s been showing some signs that he’s ready to go. The injury of Houston’s point guard Patrick Beverly is going to hurt them a lot. Although Rajon Rondo hasn’t been the best for the Mavericks this season, Rondo is another player that can turn it on once the playoffs come.
Dirk Nowitzki has the experience to make a run in the playoffs as he can still hurt teams with a barrage of threes and score in the post. Also, Monta Ellis is a great shooting guard. The matchup of him and James Harden is going to be really interesting. The Mavericks are also in injury trouble too. The Mavs need Chandler Parsons to come back for the playoffs. Parsons, who would be facing his former team, can really help this Mavs team.
He’s been huge for them all season and I don’t think he’s done just yet. Although the Mavs are going to give the Rockets a run for their money, I’m taking Houston in 7. Let’s see what James Harden can do this postseason.
Prediction: Houston (4-3)
Sauping R. Arguello (NBA Contributor): MVP candidate James Harden has propelled the Houston Rockets to the two seed as they will face their Texas counterpart, seventh seed Dallas Mavericks. Though Dallas will not have an answer for Harden, Houston may be outmatched in the other positions. Rajon Rondo has had difficulty fitting in with Coach Carlisle’s system but he is a proven winner who has won in the past. His experience will be beneficial during the playoffs.
I’m not sure Houston has answers for Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, and Dirk Nowitzki. Parsons will be at his best, while trying to put it on his old team. Tyson Chandler will try to neutralize Dwight Howard, who is still not 100 percent healthy. Houston will miss the defensive, gritty presence of point guard Patrick Beverley.
Prediction: I will go with the underdog on this one and take Dallas in 7(4-3)
Jr. Williams (NBA Editor): The Houston Rockets have been an exciting team to watch throughout the regular season but I’m not quite sure they are properly equipped to handle such a talented Mavericks team. From a offensive perspective, I give the Mavs the edge as the combination of Ellis, Parsons, Dirk, and Rhondo may prove to be overwhelming for a team that leans so heavily on a single player (James Harden).
The Mavs were built to make a run at the finals, and I just don’t see where the Rockets can stop them. Rick Carlisle is a brilliant coach while Kevin McHale is still learning the ropes. Not this year Rocket fans.
Prediction: Mavs in 6 (4-2)