Drexler

DALLAS, June 8 -- Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler, who helped lead the Houston Rockets to the 1995 NBA championship and who will be in attendance as the Mavericks take on the Heat tonight, offers his Game 1 analysis:

MIAMI WILL WIN TONIGHT IF… They can control the pace of the game. If they can keep it in a half-court set. Let Shaq go down low on the low block and dominate the post area and let Dwyane Wade penetrate in a half-court setting, then they will control the game and win Game 1.

DALLAS WILL TONIGHT IF… Only if they make it a track meet. Dirk Nowitzki, Josh Howard, Devin Harris, they have to get out and run the ball and get some easy transition opportunities. If they do that, the game will be in their favor.

X-FACTORS: There is no question about what Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade will do in Game 1 or Dirk Nowitzki. The X-Factor is players three through eight on each team. If those players can come through and shoot the high percentages that they have been able to shoot in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, I think both teams will be in great shape.

For Miami, you have guys like Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, James Posey, Udonis Haslem, Jason Williams, those guys have to come through and make open shots because Shaq and Wade will command the double team. For the Mavericks, Jason Terry has to show up, Jerry Stackhouse, Devin Harris, Josh Howard, they will be wide open on the perimeter and they’ll have to knock down the open shots because Nowitzki will also be doubled. So, it’s going to be a chess match. The emphasis for both teams is on defense and stopping the other team. The problem is nobody has been able to stop anyone yet. This matchup is going to make for one whale of a series to see who imposes their will on the other.

MY PREDICTION IS… Since Game 1 is in Dallas, and the Mavs have homecourt advantage, there is a lot of enthusiasm and as a result, they will be a little bit tighter than the Heat because the pressure is on them. I think at the beginning of the game the Heat will come out relaxed and take an early lead. Dallas will settle down, start to pick up the pace a little bit in the second quarter and by the half it should be even and in the second half, I think it will be all Mavericks.