Best defenses against T-Mac and The Diggler

Updated: December 10, 2004, 12:52 PM ET
By Brian James | ESPN Insider
On Dec. 2 in Dallas, the Mavs' Dirk Nowitzki and the Rockets' Tracy McGrady had an old-fashioned Texas shootout. Nowitzki scored 53 points and McGrady, the two-time defending NBA scoring champion with the Magic, finished with 48. The Mavs won in overtime 113-106, with Nowitzki scoring the extra period's first 10 points.

Saturday in Houston, the superstars are paired again. Since their first matchup, Nowitzki has averaged 29.5 points in four games. McGrady has averaged 22.7 ppg in three outings, but he demonstrated how fast he can ignite Thursday against the Spurs.

McGrady scored on a running 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left, capping a one-man rally in the final minute to lift the Rockets to an improbable 81-80 victory. McGrady scored 13 points in the final 35 seconds, including four difficult 3s, to finish with 33 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

In this Mavs-Rockets' rematch, many fans will want to see the scoring fireworks again. Chances are the coaches will not.

What game plan will the respective coaches implement to slow down the opposing star?

Guarding McGrady

  • The teams that have had the most success against T-Mac have picked him up way above the 3-point line, so McGrady cannot walk into his 3-point attempts. On most screen-roll situations when McGrady is the dribbler, many teams lately will switch the screen if positions 1-4 are setting the screen.