November 8, 2007 -- When the 42-40 Warriors defeated the 67-15 Mavericks in the First Round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs, it was one of the biggest upsets in postseason history. A team that had cruised through the regular season was unceremonious knocked out before anyone could have expected.

On Thursday, the Mavs and Warriors will meet at Oracle Arena in Oakland for the first time since last May. The game will be televised on TNT at 10:30 p.m. ET. Calling the game will be Marv Albert, Mike Fratello, Reggie Miller and Cheryl Miller. In anticipation of the rematch, we spoke to Fratello about the Mavs and the Warriors.

Why are the Warriors such a bad matchup for the Mavs?
Mike Fratello:
Golden State has become tough for everyone because of the fact that they went to a very, very small team, a very athletic team with great quickness. They had the ability to shoot an unusually high number of three pointers during the course of the game which came off of their dribble penetrations. So, not only did they have a great point guard in Baron Davis, who could put the ball down, drive, draw and kick, but they had other guys that were either small forwards or power forwards, even as a center, that could put the ball down and try and beat their guy off the dribble.

Then, in turn, the defense would collapse to help out. They would kick out and shoot threes. So the threat of dribble penetration would lead to three point shots. And then their ability to get out in the open court and take this athletic talent that they had and make you pay in transition led to a very high number of points.

What can the Mavs do differently this time around?
Mike Fratello:
At the time when it first happened, you have to make a decision: Do you stay with your lineup and do you play a bigger team and say "OK, we're just going to pound them with our size and ability to go inside, and we are just going to have to dig in and get enough stops that we are going to punish them with our size."

If you don't think that is the way to do it, then you have to size down and decide, is my small team better than their small team? Now if their small team athletes are quicker, faster, run and jump higher, shoot better than your small team, then you have a problem. That is the decision a coach is left with. That is why it was interesting.

People were waiting to see what Avery Johnson was going to do in Game 1, go with the same team that got them to 67 wins last year or was he going to make some adjustments? He made some adjustments early on and that began the chess match. That leads to all the second guessing, because if you stay the same way you will have X number of people that believe you should stay the same way and go with the same team that got you the 67 wins, and then you make adjustments afterwards.

Others will say if you lose the first game, and you went with your regular team, you gave up the first game because you were too stubborn. You wouldn't adjust to what you should have adjusted to, which was to go smaller. So you are kind of caught in a tough situation there. Now when you play in the games, you look and say what combinations could we possibly play with? There was no time I don't think any person on this earth felt that Don Nelson was going to try and go with a big lineup. Nellie wasn't going to change anything for them. The Warriors were who they were, and that is a small fast team, which was there best team.

Dallas can play so many different ways, because of the depth that they have and the roster they have, it was a decision of how do we play to best match up with Golden State. And believe me, it wasn't just Dallas. I had talked to two other coaches in the Western Conference who were in the playoffs and neither one of them wanted to wind up with Golden State last year. They all feared winding up with Golden State as a matchup because of how well they were playing and because of the matchup problems that they play.

Is Avery Johnson the type of coach that circles a game like this on his calendar?
Mike Fratello:
You can say what you want, never mind Avery Johnson but the entire team, there is not one of them that don't realize, through the pain and suffering through the offseason, what they had to live with, winning 67 games and then being eliminated in the first round. That does not sit easy, particularly with a team that won as many games as they did, who had worked as hard as they did to get to that point. To be eliminated in the first round, that is a bad feeling. You have to live with that. That is a terrible thing to live with as a pro athlete, coaching staff, ownership. You have to live with that all year just to get back.

Remember when you live with that you have to live with that not only through the summer, but you have live with it through the exhibition season, through the regular season and you have to earn another trip back to the playoffs just to get a chance to show in the playoffs that you are better than what happened the year before. So this Dallas team is going to play this year with more of a purpose, a chip on its shoulder and when this team's name comes up, they know what this team is capable of. They went through the pain and suffering understanding that.

Dallas has been without Devin Harris the last couple of games. He says he is going to try and play on Thursday. Is important to have him back Thursday for this game to help match Golden State's athleticism?
Mike Fratello:
You are talking about a young man who initially, going back to last year, was the guy coming off the bench and then, for whatever the reasons are, they obviously felt they would be better with Jason Terry coming off the bench and Devin Harris starting.

If Harris is healthy they may elect to put Harris on someone else besides Baron Davis. There are other teams that have crossed matchups with the feeling that Baron Davis is too strong for the smaller guard. He backs them down or goes down in the low post area. Then you have to double-team him and you give up the three point line as opposed to maybe playing a two guard on him or a small forward on him if you have the ability to do that. It depends what your roster is like but that is another thought, cross matching and playing a bigger stronger guy on him because Baron is so strong.

So far, Golden State is 0-3 and they are the worst defensive team in the league. Is that just because of their lack of size? Do you think they miss a presence down low?
Mike Fratello:
Perfection in the league would be, score 115 point a game and hold your opponents to 80, if you could do it. But it doesn't work that way. When a team places its emphasis as strong as Golden State does, as strong as Phoenix does, on the offensive end, it's tough to get the same kind of commitment on the defensive end. It has a lot to do with the three pointers, the shots going up, covering the back court, the other team pushing back at you getting easier scores. There are a lot of things we could talk about here but I think number one, you have to talk about offensively, how do they play? How do they want to play? What is their style of play? And then in turn that leads into your defensive conversation.

Are the Warriors missing Jason Richardson right now? Should we be second-guessing that trade?
Mike Fratello:
It is tough answering questions for another organization when you're not sure what was behind the scenes. If you base it on Charlotte's record, they are 2-1 right now. I think he had 29 in one game for them. So from Charlotte's standpoint, they think they have done a hell of a deal. But only Nellie and Mully know what their reasons were.

When you look at it you are losing a guy who has the strength to post up. He is obviously very athletic. He can score in flurries. Maybe, they liked the way Monta Ellis had developed. You are going to have Ellis and Davis on the floor. Maybe they felt that they couldn't keep everybody happy time-wise. You give up an experienced player to get a young prospect (Brandan Wright) that you feel is going to be terrific down the road.

It could also be that Nellie and Mully sat down and said that this thing that happened last year was an aberration because you are not going to win all the time with that. Eventually you come up against a team like San Antonio. What we need to do is maybe take a year and get us heading in the direction of a more conventional type roster. That is maybe why they bite the bullet for a little bit and say we really think this kid Wright is going to be terrific down the road, he is going to be a great small forward in the NBA, a Tayshaun Prince type. So let's do it, let's go grab this guy. He may not be ready to play next year, let's grab him now. To get him, we are going to have to give up a veteran guy in Jason, but let's do it now rather than later where we miss this opportunity and make our move back towards a more traditional type team.

They also have Kelenna Azubuike, whose minutes have gone up a lot.
Mike Fratello:
He did catch my eye once when I saw him go for 33 in one game. I see them as seeing him as their replacement for Richardson. They probably felt we got a chance to let this kid take Richardson's minutes right now. So he grows and develops as a two guy. We got Wright who will be our three man. You have Baron for a while. But God forbid Baron's back goes out and how many more years can he go, we move Monta Ellis, who's young, to point guard. Now you have got a one, two and three and then whatever you do with Mickael Pietrus and Al Harrington and these other kids. Your back up one or starting one could change or fluctuate. Then you got to get your four and fives settled in and there you go.