SMALL FORWARDS

Josh Howard vs. Antoine Walker

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Howard is Dallas's most versatile player, a rangy defender capable of guarding four positions on the floor and scoring whenever the opportunity presents itself. When Howard plays aggressive on offense, the Mavericks are unbeatable: They are 24-0 this season when he scores at least 20 points. After struggling with his role as sixth man, Walker finally found his comfort zone when he slid into the starting lineup after James Posey was suspended for one game in the first round against Chicago. Walker surely will get open looks with Dallas focusing on O'Neal and Wade, but he has to avoid getting too comfortable camping out on the three-point line. Walker is a dreadful defender, so Coach Pat Riley may have to use Posey more to defend Howard.

ADVANTAGE: MAVERICKS


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