This one wasn't always pretty, and it wasn't always pleasant. But it was a typical meeting between these neighboring teams, going all the way to the wire.
Perhaps the most salient piece of information regarding the beginning of the game was that Dirk didn't touch the ball in the first four and a half minutes. The Mavs in general couldn't get much going to start- Vince Carter and Shawn Marion both badly missed their three point attempts. Dallas didn't get points on the board until Rodrigue Beaubois scored with 8:41 left to play.
Then Carter got himself an and-1 with some generous continuation, and Marion hit one of those typical Matrix-Floaters to get the offense going. When Jason Terry and Lamar Odom came off the bench, they jumpstarted it even more, with Terry having an immediate impact, going 3-3 for six quick points.
Brandon Haywood couldn't catch a pass to save his life, suffering from an apparent case of DampierHands. And most surprisingly of all (not that Haywood's fumbling was even remotely surprising) was that Dirk Nowitzki did not score in the first half. He took one shot and missed. Weird.
The second quarter saw Dirk getting his first points on a tip-in off of Delonte West's miss. His points capped a 14-2 run by the Mavericks while the Spurs could not find any offense anywhere. Jet continued to play with enthusiasm, making a rare fancy layup after speedily driving through the lane.
The French Connection continued to work well, with Roddy finding Ian Mahinmi under the basket for an easy bucket. Roddy is still earning his minutes well, and he made some gorgeous jumpers with pressure all up in his face. VC, still gunning, grabbed a funky rebound from between his legs and hit a bank/hook shot for some second-chance points.
After Haywood made a monster block, he came back the other end with a strong finish. His defense picked up considerably in the second quarter, and he looked a little less lost under the basket. Dirk's defense looked decent as well, but he wasn't getting many looks at all. Like, not touching the ball. Until he made a vintage Dirk jumper for the last basket of the half, and Dallas went into the locker room up by 11. They shot 52%, and the bench contributed 18 points, to the Spurs' 6.
The first few possessions for the Mavericks looked a bit scrambled right out of halftime, but the Matrix got them going with a corner three (I know, I know) and then a sneaky steal on the defensive end. He couldn't finish the ensuing fast break, however. Dirk still couldn't get a hand on the ball. To be fair, he was pulling in defensive rebounds, but his offense was just about invisible.
Carter, however, continued his high level of play, with a perfectly executed three-pointer off the dish from Roddy. Terry came out hot as well, stretching the lead to 15 with just over six minutes to play in the third. Along with his assists, Roddy was able to contribute on the defensive end, skying for rebounds.
With about three minutes left in the third, Rick Carlisle threw in the three-guard lineup with Terry, West and Dominique Jones. DoJo came out of a timeout and turned the ball over when he was trapped up high. The kid is still young, yeah? Yeah. Anyway, he got a nice offensive rebound to give the Mavs a second chance, on which they were unable to capitalize. The quarter ended with some momentum for the Spurs, but the Mavs still held on to an 11-point lead.
Two quick threes by the Spurs to start the final period brought the once 18-point lead down to 5. Dirk finally got his hands on the ball and hit a high-arcing jumper, but the Spurs kept coming at them and cut the lead to two. Suddenly, after a Dirk miss, the Spurs dropped another three and they commandeered the lead. And then the Red Rocket hit ANOTHER three and Carlisle said TIME THE EFF OUT.
Terry and Odom came back in to try and right the ship, and Dirk, who couldn't get his offense going, took a seat on the bench. Terry immediately made his way to the free throw line to stop the bleeding, and brought the Mavericks back to within two. Unfortunately the threes kept falling for the Spurs, and they opened up the lead even further.
Terry and Beaubois were able to make a little offense happen, but right after a HUGE three from the Jet, Gary Neal answered on the other end with a long ball of his own. The Spurs bench came alive and made the Mavericks look like chumps. Well, most of them. Terry kept pushing and got himself a crucial and-1, bringing him to his season high in scoring.
This game looked to be all but over, until the Jet dug deep and hit a last-second shot to tie it all up. Danny Green, with .05 seconds left on the clock, hit a three, but after a closer look at the replay the refs determined that he didn't get it off in time. To the extra period they went.
*here's where it gets a bit play-by-play-ish, my apologies*
Carter hit a quick jumper, followed by a RARE Dirk make to give the Mavs the lead. The ball was knocked out of bounds and the refs took their sweet, sweet time to determine that it was in fact the Spurs that sent it there. Mavs ball, 3:21 left in overtime. Dallas played some clamp-down defense for a full 24 seconds, but down on the other end, Dirk missed yet again. It's painful to watch him struggle so hard. A pair of free throws gave the Spurs a one-point lead with 1:35 to go.
After a long timeout, the Mavs sent Dirk into the post and he was able to work under the basket for a pair, making it a one-point game. A Splitter foul on the other end after a missed three from Bonner sent it back to the Mavericks hoop, where Terry took the lead back with a turnaround jumper. He made his way to the line again and hit both, giving the Mavs a three-point cushion with 17.9 seconds left to play.
Then, of course, Marion fouled Neal on a layup, giving him an opportunity to tie. And yet, somehow, Neal missed the extra point and Ian Mahinmi was fouled on the rebound. Unfortunately, Ian couldn't make either, and the Spurs got the ball back with 10.2 seconds to play. This story doesn't end how you think, however. Vince Carter attached himself to Matt Bonner with some insane defense, and knocked the ball out of his hands. The Mavericks were able to hold off a ridiculous surge by the Spurs bench for a crazy win, 101-100.