Playoff matchup


Western Conference

No. 1 Sacramento vs. No. 4 Dallas

Playoff path: The Kings eliminated Utah in four games in the conference quarterfinals, while Dallas swept Minnesota in three games.

Season series: The Mavericks beat Sacramento three times in four regular-season games, including twice on the road.

Kings outlook: Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac all shot below their average in the Utah series. ... The Jazz outscored Sacramento in the paint in three of four games. ... In the four regular-season games with Dallas, Mike Bibby's scoring average was 3.4 points lower than against the rest of the league. ... Stojakovic shot 44 percent from three-point range against the Mavericks. ... Sacramento is 3-7 in the opening games of seven-game series and 1-1 in home openers.

Mavericks outlook: Dallas completed its first three-game sweep in franchise history, but is 0-for-5 in the first game of seven-game series all time. ... Point guard Steve Nash, averaged 22.3 points and 8.8 assists against Sacramento, above his season averages (17.9 points, 7.7 assists). ... Dirk Nowitzki averaged 29 points and 15.3 rebounds against Sacramento, and is averaging 35.5 points and 16 rebounds in his past four playoff games. ... The Mavericks are 8-0 since inserting second-year forward Eduardo Najera into the starting lineup.

Bottom line: Dallas and Sacramento are the top two scoring teams in the league, so points will come fast and furious. The Mavericks have more weapons, are playing better as a team, and are the only team to beat the Kings twice at Arco Arena. They only need one in this series and should get it early.

Prediction: Dallas in six.

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