By Jeff Cerda, Project Spurs
The much anticipated rematch from last years playoffs got underway at the American Airlines Area when Tim Duncan and the Spurs faced off against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
After being pulled early from the game against the Mavericks on Wednesday night after tripping over a camera man, George Hill returned to the starting lineup, while Tony Parker continued to come off of the bench.
The officiating was very questionable throughout the game tonight, calling one thing a foul on one end but not the same foul on the other end. It seemed like anytime a Spur player even thought about Dirk Nowitzki the refs were ready to blow the whistle and send him to the free throw line. There were numerous times when a Spurs' player would drive to the paint and contact would be made, but the whistle never came for the guys in silver and black. If you take away the six free throws during the “hack-a-Dampier,” the Mavericks shot 28 free throws to the Spurs 14. It seemed like every time the Spurs looked like they were going to make that real big run, the refs would make a questionable foul to stop any momentum that the Spurs had going.
The Mavericks won the tip to start off the game, but Manu Ginobili stepped in front of Jason Kidd to steal the ball and drive in for a lay up. The Spurs jumped out to a 6-1 lead early before Richard Jefferson picked up two quick fouls in just the first two minutes of the game to get Keith Bogans off the bench and in the game. Dallas then went on a 10-2 run led by Caron Butler and Nowitzki to go up 11-8 before Coach Greg Popovich called time out to stop the run.
Coming out of the time out, Ginobili connected on a driving layup to stop the bleeding and put some points on the board for the Spurs who went scoreless for three minutes. After the two teams traded baskets for a few minutes Mavericks' Kidd hit a three-point shot and another 23-foot jumper that was just inside the three-point line to have Dallas up 20-14. Parker would answer with a 16-foot jump shot and another 12-foot shot for the last points of the quarter. At the end of the first quarter the Mavericks were up 23-18. Both teams struggled shooting ball, ending quarter shooting 45%(Spurs) and 36.4%(Mavericks) respectively.
The Spurs started the second quarter on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 25, led by Ginobili who got a steal from Kidd and went from end to end to finish with a driving layup and capped off the run with a three-point shot assisted by Bonner. Shortly after that Nowitzki and Matt Bonner got into a small scuffle after a foul was called on Bonner for being to aggressive and not allowing Nowitzki to gain position. Nowitzki looked frustrated as he shoved Bonner’s hands away from him and walked away from the play.
After going scoreless for the next 2:19, DeJuan Blair got a monster slam dunk over Nowitzki to put the score at 27-29, Mavericks. The two teams still continued to trade baskets as this was a back and forth battle with each teams’ defense not really playing up to par. Ginobili had 9 of his 16 first-half points in the second quarter for the Spurs while Nowitzki led the Mavs with 11 of his 19 first half points to have the Mavericks up 50-45 at the break.
After Nowitzki hit a 16 foot jumper to open up the third quarter the Spurs went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 54. Antonio McDyess had four of those nine points which included a slam dunk and a 22 foot jumper that quieted the crowd in Dallas and forced the Mavericks to call a time out. The teams went back and forth again, exchanging the lead a couple of times before Nowitzki went on a 7-0 run by himself to have the Mavericks up 67-61 with 3:46 to go in the quarter. With Erick Dampier shooting 60% from the charity stripe on the season, the Spurs decided to go to a “hack-a-Damp” approach to put a clamp down on the Mavericks offense. Dampier went 4-6 during this time and made the last two in a row before coach Popovich decided to ditch the move. Nowitzki had 13 points in the third to lead the Mavericks to their biggest lead of the night at the end of the third, 76-69.
Caron Butler scored five quick points to start off the fourth to push the lead to 12 points, 81-69. Coach Popovich called a quick time out to settle down the Spurs and talk things over. After the time out the Spurs went on a 11-4 run that included two "and 1" plays, one from Ginobili and one from Duncan, to pull back within five, 85-80.
Yet again the teams would go back to trading baskets. With 5:28 to go in the game the Mavericks answered that run with a 12-6 run of their own that included a three-point shot from Kidd and Jason Terry, to push the lead back up to double digits, 100-88 with 1:54 to go in the game. Although Dallas would not score again, the game the game was out of reach.
With the Spurs not getting any of the calls, not making any baskets, nor getting any key stops down the stretch, Spurs fans knew that the Mavericks would take game one. The scoreboard didn’t reflect how the game was played late, the Spurs got the last six points to end the game but the Mavs out rebounded (45-37), out assisted (23-19), out blocked (4-1) and had less turnovers (15-17) than the Spurs, which all added up to a 100-94 victory.
- Dallas shot 34 free throws to the Spurs 14
- Dallas scored 39 points off of free throws and turnovers
- The Spurs benched only produced 27 points, down from their average of 39.2 and only grabbed 7 rebounds also down from their season average of 17.2
- Dirk Nowitzki shot 12-14(85%) as far as field goals and 12-12(100%) on free throws