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First Look

May 19, 2003|Mark Heisler

NO. 1 SAN ANTONIO

VS.

NO. 3 DALLAS

* Season series: 2-2.

* The skinny: Do you get the feeling there's something missing? In recent years, there were exciting conference finals, followed by one-sided NBA Finals. Now we're coming off a marquee second-round matchup between the Spurs and Lakers that figures to be better than anything that follows. Dallas started the season 44-12, finished 16-10 and made it this far only after an injury to Sacramento's Chris Webber whittled the Kings down to their size, and the Mavericks still needed seven games to get rid of them. The Spurs started 12-9 but finished 48-13, eliminated the Phoenix Suns in six games and then slew the three-time defending champion Lakers, as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson showed they're ready for prime time. The Spurs got an extra two days' rest by finishing off the Lakers in Game 6. Oh, and the Mavericks can't defend inside, so unless fate takes out Tim Duncan too, they're in trouble.

* Prediction: Spurs, 4-1.

-- Mark Heisler

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