ESPNDallas.com will break down the matchups in the Mavericks-Spurs series throughout the day.
JEFF CAPLAN: Caron Butler has acknowledged that the move from his traditional small forward position to shooting guard since joining the Mavs during the All-Star break has been a tough adjustment. He struggled through a monster shooting slump before coming on of late. But, no one's come on like Manu Ginobili. He took off when he replaced Tony Parker in the starting lineup and so did the previously struggling Spurs. Ginobili's amazing play down the stretch sent Spurs management scurrying to put together a three-year, $39 million extension to prevent him from getting to free agency this summer. Ginobili has averaged 21.4 points and 5.6 assists since the All-Star break. While Butler is capable of scoring 20 a night, this matchup goes to the playmaking Argentine. EDGE: San Antonio
TIM MACMAHON: Neither of these guys were around for last season’s series, with Manu Ginobili nursing an injury and Caron Butler watching in Washington, D.C. The Spurs sorely missed Ginobili’s ability to create on offense, something he’s done spectacularly down the stretch this season. Butler might defend him some, but Manu will see much, much more of Shawn Marion. Butler has been hot and cold since arriving in Dallas at the All-Star break. He needs to take advantage of the defensive attention the Spurs will pay to Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, as Josh Howard did during last season’s series. EDGE: San Antonio
JEFF "SKIN" WADE: The Spurs are very dangerous right now and the primary reason is Manu Ginobili. San Antonio put the ball in Manu’s hands once Parker got hurt in early March and they really started to click. It’s unlikely Caron Butler will win this match-up (though I assume the Matrix will be covering Ginobili more than Butler will) but he doesn’t have to. He just has to be efficient and productive and pick up the slack in the half-court sets. I think he will be. But he ain’t Manu. EDGE: San Antonio
SPURS 3, MAVS 0