How have we lasted the past decade without getting one Kobe-Dirk, Mavericks-Lakers showdown in the NBA Playoffs? It seems like that should have happened at least a couple times, just by accident. In any case, here we are, with Dirk vs. Kobe for the first time ever in the NBA Playoffs.
And if it were just Dirk vs. Kobe... it'd be a pretty fantastic seven-game series.
Unfortunately for the Mavs, the other matchups count, too. And even though Dallas has plenty of size (Brendan Haywood, Tyson Chandler) to throw at the Lakers big men (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum), the Lakers just have too many advantages elsewhere. Everything Dallas does, L.A. does a little bit better.
It'll take Dirk Nowitzki becoming a superhero for Dallas to make things interesting, and even then, it's hard to see the Lakers going down. The Mavs' three-point shooting could be enough to win a game or two, but beyond that, it'd take a major collapse on L.A.'s side for things to get interesting.
The Pick: Lakers in 6.