by Alejandro de los Rios
Well it all comes down to tomorrow, folks. The Hornets will face off against the Dallas Mavericks in the city's first NBA playoff series since the invention of the wheel (or so it seems). I went back and asked the panelists from Part 1 to give me their predictions for this series. Since not all were able to reply on time, I'm also took a look through the internet and found out what others were thinking. First, here's how our panelists are looking at the series:
Bethlehem Shoals of Free Darko: I honestly have no idea what is going to happen in this series. I do, however, doubt that the Hornets will win a championship this year. (Ed note: What a cop out)
(UPDATE: Shoals insists that his original answer was, in fact, not a cop out. Respecting his basketball acumen as I do, I present you his e-mail in full):
That was totally not a cop-out! It was supposed to build excitement and suspense.
Apparently, in another writing incarnation, I think it's Hornets in 7
Rohan from At the Hive: I think the Hornets take this series 4 games to 2. Key number one will be the bench. The Hornets' starting five has consistently been among the best units in the League, but the bench really hasn't. It showed some great progress immediately after the acquisition of Wells and the promotion of Wright to a more prominent role, but as the season wound down they took a step back. If the bench can successfully spell the starters, this team is in great shape versus a Dallas squad that lost Diop and Harris. We're healthy, we've got terrific shooters, and the best point guard in the game.
The second key will be defense. Right now, we're a top ten defensive team in the league; however, it's really important to note that we have only the 6th best defense in the West. So we'll have some stepping up to do especially since Dallas has picked up their game of late. To be specific, it'll be the help defense that needs to come alive. West and Stojakovic aren't the greatest man-on-man coverers, so guys like Tyson need to have court awareness at all times. Giving Dirk open looks is a great recipe for losing.
Kinnon Yee writer for Hoops Addict: Hornets in six. I just don't believe the Mavs will have what it takes to overcome the balanced talent of the Hornets. Jason Kidd will be completely over matched by Chris Paul's speed and youth, while David West will continue to have a great run in the playoffs. As for how deep the Hornets will manage to get, I believe that a second round exit will probably be likely. I'm still not convinced the team has enough experience.
And now the rest of the internets:
ESPNtheMag.com has fun facts you might not know about these two teams but no prediction. To their credit, they tell readers to check out ESPN.com which breaks down every series. What are they saying on the Hornets-Mavs series page? Not good things. No one picks the series to last less than six games and only two "experts" pick the Hornets to win.
In the interest of leaving on a positive note, go to Ball Don't Lie, which gives the series to the Hornets in six. Or you could go to HornetsHype and read about last night's pep rally on Fulton Street. No predictions but pleasing anyway.
That's all for now. Remember that tip-off tomorrow is an hour earlier at 6 p.m. If you got tickets, rejoice. If you don't, rob someone who does. If you're against robbing, try sneaking into the stadium. If that doesn't work, go watch it at a bar. If you don't like bars...well, you get the picture.