MATCHUP TO WATCH POWER FORWARDS

Dirk Nowitzki vs. Udonis Haslem

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Thursday, June 8, 2006

Nowitzki arguably has been the most valuable player in the postseason, having led his team to a Game 7 win in San Antonio and exploding for 50 points in Game 5 against Phoenix. The 7-foot Nowitzki has made comparisons to Larry Bird more palpable and practically has been unguardable, given his ability to mix it up; he'll shoot over shorter defenders and go around taller, slower ones. Nowitzki already has made light work of San Antonio's Bruce Bowen and Phoenix's Shawn Marion, two of the best defenders in the league. With Shaquille O'Neal clogging the middle for Miami, Nowitzki might spend more time on the perimeter. Either way, Haslem, a solid defender and rebounder, will have his hands full. Haslem won't score much; he quietly has provided timely offensive bursts for the Heat in the playoffs.

ADVANTAGE: MAVERICKS


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