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Wrap Up: Mavs Fall to NBA-Best Spurs

by Greg Higgins on April 11, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

WrapUpDirk

In a game in which the Dallas Mavericks (48-32) really needed to win to help their playoff chances, the San Antonio Spurs (61-18) showed why they are the top seed in the Western Conference. For the second straight year, the Spurs have swept the season series with the Mavs after a 109-100 victory Thursday night.

How it went down:

Dallas didn’t get off to a great start in the first quarter and it didn’t help that Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard finished that quarter 4-7 from the three-point line. Trailing by eight after one period, the Mavs would get a much-needed lift from their superstar. Dirk Nowtizki, who was scoreless in the first period, poured in 12 during the second quarter as he help give the Mavs a two-point lead at the break.

The second half was a different story, though. Dallas could not keep the Spurs off the glass and they couldn’t defend the three-point line. Dallas was out-rebounded 27-19 in the second half, including 10-4 on the offensive glass. San Antonio also hit nine of the 19 three-pointers they made in the second half.

Patty Mills, who started in place for the injured Tony Parker, finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-25 shooting, including 6-11 from three-point range. Leonard finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds, including six offensive rebounds.

The loss doesn’t move the Mavs out of the playoffs, however, they are now in the eighth spot with two games remaining. The Suns, who currently own the seventh seed, will play the Spurs Friday night before visiting the Mavs for a crucial game Saturday night. Dallas needs to avoid playing the Spurs in the playoffs at all cost. In order for this to happen, Dallas needs to finish in the seventh seed or higher. The loss to the Spurs made this a little more difficult.

Inside the Numbers:

San Antonio has now defeated the Mavs nine straight times.

The Spurs became the 13th team in NBA history to win at least 30 road games in a season.

Impact Play of the Game:

With 1:17 left in the game, Jose Calderon hit a three pointer to bring the Mavs within six points. Just a minute and a half earlier it was a 14-point lead for the Spurs. After the 8-0 run, though, Leonard calmly sinks a three pointer to put the Spurs back up by nine and the game out of reach.

Step-Up Mav of the Night:

Monta Ellis

Once again, Monta Ellis tried to do what he could to get the win for the Mavs. Monta finished with 24 points, with 12 of them coming in the final quarter. Monta also had four rebounds and four assists.

Quotes:

 

 

On Deck:

The Mavs will play their final home game of the regular season Saturday night as they face the Phoenix Suns. The Mavs and Suns are playing for their playoff lives and both will want to win this game. Tip is at 7:30 on NBATV/TXA 21. If you’re coming to the game, be prepared for a playoff-style atmosphere.

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Photo: AP Photo/LM Otero & AFP Photo/Ronald Martinez; Quote Via Earl K. Sneed/Mavs.Com

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MGN: Will Dallas Bring Its Road Cooking Home?

by Terence Huie on April 10, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

MavsGameNightChantel

The Dallas Mavericks (48-31) look to keep their 7th seed berth chances alive with the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies breathing down their neck. But Dallas faces another bump in the road to the playoffs as they defend home court against the division rival San Antonio Spurs (60-18).

The Game at Hand:

The Spurs currently hold the top seed in the Western Conference, clinching fourth straight Southwest division title and 17th consecutive playoff appearance. A win against Dallas would help keep their first seed with the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing just three games back in the standings.

Tonight is a must-win game for the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs couldn’t get help from the Miami Heat or New Orleans Pelicans last night, as those teams failed to win against the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns respectively. Coming into Thursday night, the Mavericks have on momentum on their side thanks to winning four straight games on their 4-game road trip. Tonight will be a true test for Dirk Nowitzki and the 7th seeded Mavericks.

Keys to the Game:

1. Force Turnovers: 

San Antonio is a team full of countless veterans and a great coach in Gregg Popovich. This team has been successful for so many years because of their limit of mistakes on the offensive side of the ball. The Spurs are ranked first in offensive efficiency this season. Dallas has to come out and play their best defense of the season and force turnovers. There is no room for error when facing a team like the Spurs.

2. Offensive Contribution: 

Looking at the previous Mavs-Spurs matchup, Dallas came up short 106-112 against San Antonio. In that game, only three Mavs players finished with double figures in points; compared to six Spurs players finished in double figures. Every player in a Mavs’ jersey has to contribute the moment that guy steps on the floor tonight.

X-Factor of the Night:

Sixth Man of the Year Candidate Vince Carter has made a huge impact for the Mavs this season. The 15-year veteran may have lost his touch in the dunking department, but has put in a great deal of effort on the bench.

Carter averages 12 points a game, shooting 39% from behind the three-point line. Vince needs just 13 points to place himself 25th on the NBA All-Time Scoring List. Expect the 37-year old to put up monster numbers tonight to get that 25th spot and help the Mavs win tonight.

Quotes:

“I don’t know if it’s an advantage against a team like San Antonio. … It doesn’t matter who they’re missing.”

- Jose Calderon on Parker’s injury

 

“He’s such a great player. Nobody stops him, at least giving him a different look makes me feel better like I’m trying, like I’m doing something.”

- Gregg Popovich on game planning for Dirk

 

When and Where:

The big game starts tonight 7 p.m. CST in the American Airlines Center and will air on TNT.

GO MAVS!.

WildWestRace

Playoff Watch:

5. Portland Trail Blazers (51-28) | Next 3 – @UTA, GSW & LAC

6. Golden State (48-29) | Next 3 –  DEN, @LAL & @POR

7. Dallas Mavericks (48-31) | Next 3 – SAS, PHO & @MEM

8. Phoenix Suns (47-31) | Next 3 – @SAS, @DAL & MEM

9. Memphis Grizzlies (46-32) | Next 3 – PHI, @LAL & @PHX

 

 

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Photo Source: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports; Quotes from Earl K. Sneed & ESPN.com

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Wrap Up: Mavs Get A Feel For What 7th Seed Will Feel Like In Loss

by Terence Huie on March 3, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

Wrap Up Mavs Drop Rough One

The Dallas Mavericks could not walk out of AT&T Center with the victory, losing in a 112-106 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Game At Hand:

San Antonio exhibit their offensive dominance in the first quarter, as they have all season. Tony Parker returned to the court after missing four games, scoring 12 points in the first period. The rest of the team helped Parker by outscoring the Mavs 14 to 8 in points in the paint.

Dallas had no answer for the Spurs 3-point shooters sinking wide-open jumpers, giving the home team a 10-point lead midway through the second quarter. The Mavs shot an uncomfortable 40% from the field and 38% from the free throw line. Vince Carter would not let his team fall apart that quickly in the game. Back-to-back three-pointers and a smooth reverse layup would produce a 14-6 Mavs run. Dallas ended the half trailing 47 to 48.

The Spurs tried to kill any momentum from the Mavs late in the thrid quarter. After the Spurs lead was trimmed to three, Manu answers with a 10 points in under two minutes to close out the quarter. By the fourth quarter, the Mavs could not gain ground and keep themselves in the game. Careless turnovers, easy missed jumpshots and layups, being outrebounded in the paint really put a crucial blow to Dallas’ comeback chances.

Inside The Numbers:

Free Throws were one crucial factor towards the Mavs losing this game. Dallas usually averages 80% from the free throw line, ranking top three in the league. The team shot a grueling 64% from the charity stripe vs the Spurs, compared to the Spurs 85% shooting from line.

Quotes:

“I thought Parker looked great again coming off a nice little 10-day break they can afford to give him, and he just comes in and looks great.” - Dirk Nowitzki

 

“He’s been an MVP candidate, really each of the last three, four, five years. Look, he’s that good and he was obviously fresh tonight. He hit shots that were the shots that were there. You’ve got to give him credit for that and we needed to be a little bit better on our coverages.” – Rick Carlisle

 

On Deck:

The Mavs start a two-day rest to rejuvenate after this two-game losing streak. The team flies up to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Wednesday night.

GO MAVS!

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Wrap Up: Mavs Get A Feeling of What 8 Seed Could Mean

by Greg Higgins on January 9, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks

Wednesday night the Dallas Mavericks (20-16) travelled down I-35 to face the San Antonio Spurs (28-8) on the second night of a back-to-back. Coming into the game, Dallas had a four-game road winning streak. This streak, however, would come to a crashing halt against the Spurs. San Antonio beat Dallas for the seventh consecutive time as they beat the Mavs 112-90.

How It Went Down: In order to understand this game, all you have to do is look at the numbers. For instance, Dallas never led in the game and there was only one tie (2-2) during the game. The largest lead in the game was 29 by the Spurs. San Antonio out-rebounded Dallas 55-32 for the game and 12-9 on the offensive glass. The Spurs shot a ridiculous 81.3% in the third quarter as they were 13-16 from the floor and two of their three misses were from beyond the three-point line. Tony Parker put in 14 points during the frame as he shot 6-6 from the field and went 2-2 at the free throw line. In the quarter, Dallas was outscored 37-24. The Spurs increased the lead in the third quarter to 23 as they scored 11 straight points during one stretch of the game.

Inside the Numbers: During the seven-game losing streak to the Spurs, Dirk Nowitzki has only averaged 14.4 points a game including only eight points Wednesday night. Dallas only had eight turnovers in the game as opposed to 17 for the Spurs. However, the Mavs only scored 18 points off those turnovers.

Step-Up Mav of the Night: Monta Ellis It’s hard to pick a player as the step up Mav when they played so poor but Monta had a really good game. Ellis scored 21 points on 10-18 shooting. Only him and Vince Carter finished in double-digit scoring on the night.

Quotes:

“It is tough, especially against the Spurs. We have stunk it up against them the past two years. We completed with them one game last season; other than that, it’s been lopsided.” – Brandan Wright  

“The third quarter was a demolition. We got out competed.” – Rick Carlisle

On Deck: The Mavs will travel to New Orleans on Friday night for the first game of a home-and-home series with the Pelicans. Tipoff is at 7:00 Central and can b

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Mavs Game Night: Dallas Visits Rival San Antonio

by Terence Huie on January 8, 2014 in Mavs 09 comments

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Tonight is an intra-divisional showdown where the San Antonio Spurs (27-8) host the Dallas Mavericks (20-15). The Spurs hold first place in the Southwest Division and the Mavs are seven games back from the Spurs.

The Game At Hand:

The Mavs look to regain some ground after a 110-97 win against the Lakers on the previous night. The Spurs are still dominating the Western Conference, winning five of their last six games and averaging 112 points per game in that six-game span.

So far, the Spurs have a 1-0 season series record against the Spurs. The Spurs beat the Mavs on the road 116 to 107, thanks Spurs guard Danny Green’s 22 points and shooting 100% from the field.

Shawn Marion (shoulder) did not travel with the team to San Antonio. Jae Crowder and Vince Carter who had 19 off the bench last night will see extra minutes.

Keys To The Game:

1. Stop the Fundamentals:

Part of Greg Popovich’s success with coaching the Spurs is making his players play by the fundamentals. The Spurs are ranked first in the lead in the efficiency and commit the fewest turnovers in the league. The Mavs have to somehow force the Spurs to turn over the ball on defense.

2. Perimeter Shooting:

The Mavs struggled to guard the 3-point line in the previous game versus the Spurs this season. San Antonio shot about 44% from behind the arch. The Mavs should guard deadly shooters like Danny Green and Marco Belinelli aggressively. This will hopefully help prevent this game from getting away from Dallas.

Matchup Of The Night: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Tim Duncan

When the Mavs and Spurs meet it’s always treats those watching to a Dirk vs Timmy battle at the power forward position.

The way each embraces the position couldn’t be more different. While Dirk revolutionized the “4″ spot with his ability to stretch the floor and score in numerous ways, Duncan has remained steadfast in his fundamentals that have carved out one remarkable career including four championships.

Dirk acknowledged he believes Duncan may be the NBA’s greatest power forward ever. It’s hard to disagree with him, a guy who probably sits in the top 5 best PFs in NBA history himself.

When and Where:

Tip-off starts at 6:00pm CST and broadcasted on both ESPN and Fox Sports Southwest.

GO MAVS!

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Mavs Game Night: Focused on Fifth Straight Win

by Damian Jackson on March 14, 2013 in Mavs 09 comments

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The prolific rivalry usually overlooked outside the state of Texas resumes tonight.

Right now the Dallas Mavericks have limited bragging rights over the San Antonio Spurs. They can still smile in the fact they’re the last of the two teams to win a title, but the Spurs in turn can flash four rings.

Let’s focus solely on this season though, that’s the matter at hand. Tonight’s nationally televised game with conclude the season series already won by the Spurs.

All three games between the squads were decisively won by the Spurs, the third meeting showing a closer final than the entire game would have indicated. The Mavs have lost by an average of 23 points in the those contests.

After the losing a hat-trick of games a couple weeks ago, the Mavs have won five of their last six games and four in a row. Dallas will attempt to make if five consecutive wins for the first time this year.

The Spurs remain the West’s best team and one of the main reasons for their Maverick domination – the 3-ball. In the three games, the Spurs have shot 51.4% (37-for-72) on triples.

One would believe the Mavs place this game at a higher importance, but they’re letting it be know all games are equal and just want to win regardless of the opponent.

“We’re going to let it all hang out,” said Rick Carlisle. “We’re going to throw the kitchen sink at everybody, and we’re just going to hit every arena with guns blazing. That’s just how it’s got to be.”

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With the Spurs coming off a bad loss in Minnesota, we have to expect they’ll be ready to rebound with a much improved effort. Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard expect to suit up tonight which will certainly help since they continue to miss Tony Parker (ankle).

Mavs’ forward Shawn Marion will miss his fourth straight game with a sore calf. Rookie Jae Crowder will continue starting while Matrix is out. Crowder had 14 points and eight rebounds in 36 minutes Tuesday night.

Playoff Picture Update:

MAVERICKS - 10th seed in West; 2.5 GB of the Los Angeles Lakers for final playoff spot.

SPURS - 1st seed in Wast; 1 GA of Oklahoma City Thunder.

Team News:

MAVERICKS – Mavs officially signed Iowa Energy and former Georgetown Hoya point guard Chris Wright Wednesday. He will be with team in San Antonio.

SPURS – Tony Parker has missed five games with the ankle and Cory Joseph has filled in well according to Gregg Popovich.

Asked to assess Ricky Rubio’s first pro triple double, Stephen Jackson said: “He’s alright.” Then he said some more. More Jackson on Rubio: “He’s got some upside, I’ll say that.”

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Mavs at Spurs tip at 7:00 p.m. CT and will air on TNT

All season I’ve been in a battle with my thoughts on whether it’s best for the Mavs to land the best lottery pick or make the playoffs as the 8th seed and likely get booted early. l talk plenty with friends and family concerning this matter and it’s obvious my choice will be all in for a playoff push. Dirk and the team are NOT at all thinking about what mid-first round rookie can help them NEXT YEAR!

Let’s Go Mavs! Make it 13 straight Postseasons!!

 

 

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Thunder Back In Series

by Ryan Wilson on June 1, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The streak is over. The series might only be beginning.

Kevin Durant scored 22 points, Thabo Sefolosha set playoff career bests with 19 points and six steals, and the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped San Antonio’s 20-game winning streak by beating the Spurs 102-82 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Thursday night.

Oklahoma City closed its series deficit to 2-1 and will host Game 4 on Saturday night.

“We never thought these guys had an advantage over us even though we had lost a few,” Durant said. “It was just good that we took it to 2-1. We didn’t want to go down 0-3.”

Sefolosha threw a wrench in the Spurs’ well-oiled offense at the start, getting four steals in the first 3 minutes. The Spurs ended up committing a postseason-worst 21 turnovers and scoring their fewest points all season.

San Antonio had been averaging 109.4 points per game during its month-and-a-half winning streak and had been held to double-digits only twice.

“We just played a good basketball game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We played with a lot of force, we played with good energy, but we played defensive-minded basketball.

“That’s who we are. That’s how we win.”

Tony Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points apiece. Tim Duncan had 11 points on 5 for 15 shooting, taking 11 of San Antonio’s first 25 shots as the offense went through the All-Star center instead of Parker.

“They played like it was a closeout game, both offensively and defensively,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “They were very active, physical; they moved the ball well on offense. They did all those things better than we did. They beat us good.”

The Spurs, who already set an NBA record for the longest winning streak carried over from the regular season into the playoffs, were trying to match the league mark for most wins to start the postseason. The Lakers won 11 straight to start the 1989 and 2001 playoffs, getting swept in the NBA Finals the first time and winning it all the second.

The Spurs hadn’t lost since April 11 at home against the Lakers.

“We are a prideful team. It’s no fun being down 0-2. It’s no fun,” Brooks said. “But we weren’t looking at the game thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, we have a chance to be down 0-3.’ We were looking at the game that we have a chance to be 1-2 after this game, and I give our guys a lot of credit. They believe in each other and they always play hard for each other.”

Parker and Duncan didn’t play in the final 15 minutes, and Popovich pulled the plug after a series of three straight turnovers allowed the deficit to reach 23 points early in the fourth quarter.

Sefolosha had a right-handed dunk off a lob pass from Russell Westbrook, who followed with his own two-handed jam on an alley-oop pass, and Sefolosha followed with a reverse layup on another turnover-fueled fast-break chance to push the lead to 86-63 with 9:48 left.

The Thunder put together another 9-0 run coinciding with Manu Ginobili coming out of the game and featuring Serge Ibaka sticking his tongue out after nailing a jumper from the top of the key. Brooks soon followed Popovich and pulled his own front-line players with the game well in hand.

“You’re not going to beat this team by playing one-effort basketball,” Brooks said. “You’re going to have to have two, three, four, even five. And they make you do that because they pass the ball so well, they spread the floor so well.”

Popovich said the Thunder played harder and smarter than the Spurs.

“They did definitely play with a lot more energy, a lot more passion than us tonight,” said Parker, who committed five turnovers.

The Spurs wiped out a 24-point deficit in Game 3 against the Clippers in Los Angeles in the previous round, but they weren’t recovering in this one.

San Antonio managed only 24 points in the paint after averaging 46 through the first two games of the series and 47.8 through the playoffs.

Oklahoma City already held a 28-8 scoring edge in the paint while taking a 54-41 halftime lead, and it never got better for San Antonio, which couldn’t get any closer than 11 points in the second half.

“We wanted to bounce back after two losses like that. We had to play better and we did that tonight,” Sefolosha said. “We played with energy; we played with passion in front of our home crowd. They did a great job giving us a lift.”

The Thunder scored the game’s first eight points, feeding off Sefolosha’s steals, but San Antonio recovered in time to take the lead with more than 5 minutes left in the opening period.

Oklahoma City took the lead early in the second quarter, and there was no looking back.

Sefolosha set up Ibaka’s two-handed dunk and hit a 3-pointer during a 13-1 run, with San Antonio’s only point coming on a free throw by Ginobili after Durant was called for a technical foul while arguing a call from the bench.

Oklahoma City’s lead ballooned to 15 when Kendrick Perkins grabbed Westbrook’s air ball and dunked it with two hands.

 

Game notes

Duncan did have five blocks to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA playoff record of 476 by one. … Rapper Lil Wayne tweeted before the game that he planned to attend but “was denied by the team to be in their arena.” Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney said the rapper’s representatives demanded front-row seats but none were available. “We’d love to have him at a game, but like anyone else, he needs a ticket,” Mahoney said. … Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin presented TNT analyst and former NBA All-Star Charles Barkley with a pair of boots, a steak and an order of lamb fries — a dish that leaves the otherwise undesirable part of the anatomy out of its name — during the pregame show.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Spurs Beat Thunder, Win 20th Straight

by Ryan Wilson on May 30, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Tony Parker has found balance in his role as a scoring point guard. Two more wins, and the San Antonio Spurs will find themselves playing for another NBA championship.

Parker had 34 points and eight assists, Manu Ginobili added 20 points, and the Spurs stayed perfect in the playoffs with a 120-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night.

The Spurs set an NBA record with their 20th consecutive victory bridging the regular season and the playoffs. They went in sharing the longest such streak with the 2000-01 Lakers, who won 19 straight before losing to Philadelphia in the first game of the Finals.

Those Lakers went on to win the championship, and Parker’s performance is yet another reason to think the Spurs will do the same.

Guided by the All-Star point guard, San Antonio shredded Oklahoma City’s defense with pinpoint passes for three quarters. The Spurs were shooting 63 percent from the field and 64 percent from 3-point range at one point in the third quarter, and stretched the lead to 22 points in the second half.

Parker went 16-for-21 from the field, including a 3-pointer.

“Tony’s been great all year,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He’s been really focused the entire season.”

Parker had his highest scoring average (18.3 points per game) since 2008-09, but he also averaged 7.7 assists in the regular season, a career high. In his 11th season, Parker finally feels comfortable knowing when his demanding coach wants him to pass and when to shoot.

“It’s always been a battle my whole career,” Parker said, “when you’re a scoring point guard and Pop wants you to score, then he wants you to pass, and he wants you to score, and he wants you to pass. You go back and forth.

“It’s always been the biggest room for me to improve, to find a happy middle between scoring and passing, and find that good balance,” Parker said. “I think, over the years, I got better at it.”

The Thunder made a late surge to get within six points, but Parker, Ginobili and Tim Duncanhelped San Antonio finish off the Thunder for a 2-0 lead heading into Game 3 on Thursday night in Oklahoma City.

“First, we’ve got to worry about Game 3,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said. “Regardless of what’s going on with this last game or the next game, we’ve got to worry about Game 3 and come in with the same mindset and try to get a win.”

Kevin Durant had 31 points, Westbrook had 27 points and eight assists, and James Hardenrebounded from a rough Game 1 to score 30 for the Thunder, who have lost two straight for the first time since early April. Oklahoma City dropped to 15-4 in games after losses this season.

“There are no moral victories for us,” Durant said. “We were down. We dug ourselves a hole. We did what we normally do, which is fight all game, and we lost.”

San Antonio picked up where it left off from the 39-point fourth quarter that turned Game 1 on Sunday. With sharp passes and hot shooting, the Spurs jumped to a 19-9 lead after the Thunder missed six of their first seven shots and had three turnovers in the first 4 minutes.

The Spurs shot 52 percent (12-for-23) in the opening quarter and led 28-22. Durant was on the bench at the start of the second quarter, and Parker and the Spurs put together a 14-4 spurt to stretch the gap to 13 points.

Westbrook hammered Parker’s arm on a drive, and he crumpled to the court. That didn’t faze Parker, who scored the Spurs’ next seven points to keep San Antonio rolling.

The Spurs shot 58 percent (22-of-38) and had 13 assists in the first half. They also cut down their turnovers, committing only six in the first half after giving away 14 in the first two quarters of Game 1.

“You never go out and say, ‘We’re going to start out fast,” Popovich said. “You don’t know what is going to happen. You just want your team to be aggressive. Good teams are aggressive, and it is, it’s a matter of making shots or not making shots.”

The Spurs resumed picking apart Oklahoma City’s defense with precision passes after the break, scoring on five straight possessions. The biggest cheer from the crowd came after Ginobili flipped a behind-the-back pass to Parker in the corner for another 3 and the lead ballooned to 78-58.

Late in the third quarter, the Thunder began intentionally fouling Tiago Splitter, a 32 percent free throw shooter during the playoffs.

That backfired, too. Splitter went 5-for-10 over a 54-second span before Popovich replaced him with Duncan, and Oklahoma City trailed by the same margin — 16 — that it did when Scott Brooks called for the “Hack-a-Splitter” strategy.

It might not have showed on the scoreboard, but the Spurs seemed to lose their edge after that.

“There’s a reason why you do it, to kill the rhythm,” Parker said. “I think it got us out of our rhythm.”

Parker returned with 10:58 left and San Antonio leading 92-78, but he was shaky on offense for the first time. Gary Neal promptly curled around a screen and swished a 3-pointer, the Spurs’ 10th of the game.

Parker, Ginobili and Duncan were on the court together at the 8-minute mark, after the Thunder cut the deficit to eight. Ginobili’s floater in the lane was only the Spurs’ third field goal of the fourth quarter and put San Antonio up 99-89.

The Thunder had the deficit down to six with just more than 5 minutes remaining. The Spurs missed 12 of 15 shots during one stretch, but Parker hit an off-balance, high-arcing jumper with 3:39 left for a 107-96 lead, and San Antonio controlled the game from there.

At least now, the Thunder get to return home, where they are 5-0 in the playoffs. But only 14 teams in NBA playoff history have overcome 2-0 deficits to win series, and the Spurs show no signs of letting the Thunder back in it.

 

Game notes

The Spurs’ winning streak is the longest in the NBA overall since the Houston Rockets won 22 straight between Jan. 29 and March 18, 2008, all in the regular season. … The Thunder are the first team to reach 100 points against San Antonio in the postseason. … Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points, including three 3-pointers for the Spurs. … Duncan blocked four shots to tie Hakeem Olajuwon for second in career blocks in the postseason (472). Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the leader (476). … Oklahoma City’s Derek Fisher went 2-for-11 from the field after scoring 13 points in Game 1.

 

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Spurs Continue To Roll, Bounce Clipps

by Ryan Wilson on May 21, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

The San Antonio Spurs mowed down another opponent, using their guile under pressure to close out another perfect playoff series.

Tim Duncan scored 21 points, Tony Parker added 17 and the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 on Sunday night to win their second-round matchup 4-0 and advance to the Western Conference finals.

“They played great, they made it tough on us,” Parker said. “The last 2 minutes we got the stops we needed. Everybody did something.”

The Spurs extended their winning streak to 18 games and their playoff record to 8-0, tying the third-best postseason streak in franchise history.

“Until we go all the way, I can’t compare this team,” said Parker, who has won three NBA titles with the Spurs. “We’re just trying to stay focused.”

Danny Green and Gary Neal added 14 points each, and Manu Ginobili and Tiago Splitter had 11 each.

“We needed a game like that. It arrived at the perfect time,” Parker said. “We battled. We executed our plays, made big baskets.”

San Antonio could find out as soon as Monday night who it will play next. Oklahoma City leads the Lakers 3-1 in their series, with Game 5 on Monday.

“We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve won two rounds,” Duncan said. “We haven’t done anything so you can’t qualify or classify our team as anything other than that we’ve gotten this far.”

The Spurs trailed much of the fourth until tying the game twice in the final 3:32 before their 30-something trio of Duncan, Parker and Ginobili took over most of the scoring.

“Their experience showed with their execution,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. “Tim looks great and the rest of the guys are feeding off that.”

Chris Paul had 23 points and 11 assists, Blake Griffin added 21 points, and Eric Bledsoe had 17 for the Clippers, who blew a six-point lead in the fourth quarter when Paul faltered in the final two minutes, usually a time when the All-Star guard is at his best.

“We had our opportunities and we couldn’t convert,” Del Negro said. “We made our mistakes at some key moments and that was the difference.”

Both nursing injuries, Griffin and Paul combined to score 21 of the Clippers’ 28 points in the third quarter when they took their first lead of the game. In the fourth, Bledsoe came up big, scoring 11 in a row, to extend the lead to 90-85 with 5:38 remaining.

After Reggie Evans missed two free throws, Green hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 92.

Duncan’s hook put the Spurs in front 96-94 before Paul tossed up a one-handed shot that rose to the top of the backboard before dropping straight in as he crashed into a baseline photographer. He made the free throw to put the Clippers ahead by one.

Parker scored consecutive baskets and the Spurs regained the lead, 100-97, with 1:47 left.

Paul’s two free throws drew the Clippers within one. After a timeout, Paul drove the basket and lost the ball. He fouled Green, who made the first and missed the second to keep the Spurs ahead for good.

“I messed up, bad decisions,” Paul said, holding his 2-year-old son on his lap. “I should have shot it and I missed the shot, all on me.”

Paul then missed another shot, and Mo Williams fouled Parker, who missed the first and made the second with a second left.

“To let my team down in that situation is probably the toughest part of the season,” Paul said. “We scrapped, we played hard. At the end of the day, playing hard isn’t always enough. You got to execute. On that last play, at least we could have gotten a shot off and I turned the ball over.”

DeAndre Jordan added 10 points. Paul had best performance of the series after sub-par efforts in the first two games. He’d been playing with a strained right hip, while Griffin has a sprained right knee, an injured left hip and got stitches for a cut lip in the first half.

Neither team led by more than five points in the third period. Duncan had 10 points for the Spurs. Bledsoe’s putback slam dunk gave the Clippers 75-74 lead going into the fourth.

The Spurs stretched their lead to 12 points with Duncan sitting out the opening 7 minutes of the second quarter.

The Clippers closed on a 14-6 run to trail 51-47 at halftime. Paul got it started with a 19-foot jumper and ended it with a 3-pointer. Early in the spurt, Griffin ran into Ginobili’s shoulder, fell and one of his top teeth went through his lip. He left the court with 2:20 remaining to get two stitches on the inside and outside of his lip.

Los Angeles began the game on a 9-4 run before San Antonio scored 14 unanswered points, reminiscent of its 24-0 third-quarter spurt Saturday that led to the Spurs’ eventual 10-point victory in Game 3.

 

Game notes

Duncan, Parker and Ginobili played in their 130th postseason game together, the most played as an active trio in the league. … Duncan finished with nine rebounds, just short of notching his 135th career playoff double-double. … The Clippers have lost all seven of their playoff series after losing Game 1. … The Spurs had a 40-36 edge on the boards, while the Clippers outscored them in the paint, 56-50.

 

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Spurs Put Jazz On Brink Of Elimination

by Ryan Wilson on May 6, 2012 in Mavs 09 comments

Through nearly 40 minutes, the Utah Jazz made Tony Parkerlook average.

He had 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting, and the San Antonio Spurs were clinging to a five-point lead.

Parker the MVP candidate then took over.

“They threw a lot of guys at me, so I needed to be more patient and then in the fourth quarter I was more aggressive,” said Parker, who hit all five field goals and went 6 of 6 from the line in the final period to finish with 27 points.

His effort fueled a 102-90 victory Saturday night that gave the Spurs a 3-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

No NBA team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. The Spurs can close it out Monday night in Salt Lake City.

“My guys are experienced to realize an NBA game is 48 minutes. Anything can happen,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “You can look at the other games and other series and realize you don’t stop playing. They stick with each other and the system. That experience is something they have gained over a long period of time and they feel comfortable with each other, even in a tough environment like we had here tonight.”

A sellout crowd of 19,911 was energized from the start, standing from pregame festivities that saw a massive green-and-yellow balloon drop.

The fans were on their feet again when a young Utah lineup brought the Jazz back after they trailed by 13 in the fourth.

 

DeMarre Carroll scored on a putback, rookie Alec Burks sank a pair of free throws and Derrick Favors scored after grabbing another offensive rebound to get Utah to 81-74 with 8:58 remaining. Favors then hit a 7-footer to make it a five-point game.

 

“He’s a handful and he’s very physical,” Parker said about Favors, who had 15 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in his most extensive action of the series. “He goes to the boards hard.”

Parker, who took the Spurs on his shoulders this season, showed he can finish just as strong.

His 5-foot floater halted Utah’s run, then Matt Bonner blocked Favors’ shot to set up Stephen Jackson‘s fast-break layup.

Parker’s 18-foot jumper then bumped San Antonio’s lead back to 10 with 5:44 left.

Utah would only get within eight after that on Paul Millsap‘s dunk. But Parker was there to finish the Jazz off at the line.

“We needed to get this one because we know they’re not going to give up, especially in this building,” said Spurs guard Danny Green, who finished with 14 points, including a block and fast-break layup that helped seal the game midway through the fourth.

The Jazz, meanwhile, lamented the missed free throws — 12 in all in a game they lost by 12 points.

“Those were free points we need in a game like this,” said Jazz point guard Devin Harris.

Harris, after scoring just 12 points in the first two games combined, had 12 in the first quarter and finished with 21.

Al Jefferson also rebounded from two sub-par games and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds on 10-of-18 shooting.

Jefferson, in the end, was thinking more about Utah’s bad plays.

“We can’t make mistakes,” said Jefferson, playing in his first playoff series since he was a rookie in 2005. “We’ve got to play a perfect game to even have a chance to beat a team like this. We make too many mistakes during the crunch time of the game and they made us pay every time.”

Popovich gave reserve Tiago Splitter plenty of credit.

Splitter missed Game 2 because of a bruised wrist, but had 10 points, eight boards and a blocked shot. He had four points and five rebounds in the fourth quarter alone.

“I thought Tiago was huge for us,” Popovich said. “When Favors was giving us trouble, he made shots, got the boards and then scored a bunch during the most important time of the game.”

The last time the two teams met in the postseason, in the 2007 Western Conference finals, the Spurs went on to win the NBA title.

San Antonio, with coach of the year Popovich, its Big 3 and collection of castoffs, foreigners and rookies, looks intent on doing the same.

The Spurs won the first two games by 46 points combined, but figured Saturday’s would be the toughest of the series.

They were right.

“We expected them to have a much better effort,” said Tim Duncan, who had 17 points, six rebounds and three blocks for the Spurs. “It was a good win for us. We had a lot of guys really step up and play well for us.”

Utah’s Tyrone Corbin, still looking for his postseason coaching victory, tried several different approaches Saturday.

He put 6-foot-8 swingman Gordon Hayward on Parker. And Corbin went to his Big 3 lineup early and often.

Corbin had said he wanted Favors to play more, and Favors showed why he deserves more minutes.

He blocked Splitter’s jam attempt early in the second quarter then scored on a putback that gave Utah a 41-40 lead. He followed with a 9-foot turnaround jumper over DeJuan Blair, and then grabbed his own miss and drew the foul from Duncan. He made one of two free throws for a 44-42 Jazz lead.

In 16 minutes in the first half, Favors had seven points and seven rebounds, with a pair of blocks.

While Favors was 3 of 7 shooting in the fourth, Utah’s other budding star struggled down the stretch.

Burks was just 1 of 6 in the fourth quarter and finished with 11 points.

A stark contrast to Parker.

“The experience showed tonight,” Corbin said. “They know exactly what to do… They make adjustments and we didn’t get the energy and sense of urgency when we needed it.”

Game notes
Jazz Hall of Famers Jerry Sloan and John Stockton were in attendance. … The Spurs shot 60 percent and outscored Utah 18-2 in the paint in the first quarter (50-28 overall). … The Jazz made 8 of 16 free throws in the first half, with Millsap and Favors both missing three. … Manu Ginobili had six assists in the first half and finished with 10, but scored just six points. … Duncan, Parker and Ginobili have played 125 playoff games as teammates — the most among any active trio in the NBA.

 

 

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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