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Rivers caught in the Matrix

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  January 18, 2010 07:34 PM

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When he was reading his crystal ball in the preseason, Doc Rivers said the Mavericks were one of the teams to keep an eye on (full disclosure: he liked the Wizards, too). For the most part Dallas’ 26-14 record has made him look like a genius, though they’ve struggled in their last five dropping games to the Jazz and Lakers and getting smacked yesterday 110-88 by the Raptors. 
One of the reasons the Mavs caught Rivers’ eye: the Matrix. Shawn Marion is a quiet offseason acquisition who’s averaged 11.4 points abd 6.4 rebounds giving Jason Kidd yet another weapon. 

“Dallas is really good,” Rivers said. “It’s funny before the year started, I actually said that so I feel smart for a change. I said man, everybody’s sleeping on their little transactions that they made over the summer. It’s like Marion went to them and nobody noticed. And he’s playing well. And I think having Marion and Kidd together allows Marion to play better and Kidd to play better. So they’re a good basketball team."

Preparing for the Mavs was already a bear considering the Celtics have been shorthanded, but matching up Dallas’ unique set of weapons doesn’t make it any easier. 

“It’s tougher to prepare for a team that plays like them. Nowitzki, there’s only one of him. There’s nobody in the league like him. He plays the four. He plays the five. He even goes to the three. There’s just no one like him. I don’t even think there’s been a player like him. He is such a night mare to matchup with. Not only with his individual skill but with what he can do with his movement from the five spot, the four spot. I don’t ever know If I’ve ever seen a five coming off of screens. I couldn’t imagine seeing Bill Walton coming off a pindown. It’s just different.”
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