Spurs win despite valiant Mavericks effort, 116-107

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas kept it close and made it a game, but they couldn't overcome their missed free throws in the first half.

If ever there's a night to face the rival Spurs, it's on their second night of a back-to-back, after just having lost to the Rockets (whom the Mavericks bested a few nights before). Dallas would be without Brandan Wright, due to illness, and up until gametime they were unsure whether they would have Samuel Dalembert (they would). Would this game be known, then, as the DeJuan Blair Revenge Game?

Regardless of relevance, facing a team with Tim Duncan is inadvisable without SOME kind of interior presence. Fortunately, Blair was up to the challenge and scored early and often, getting six points in the first six minutes. He was then replaced by Sammy D, who had one of the highlight dunks of the game after a wildly broken play. Sammy sick game? Maybe.

The big men were holding their own in the first quarter, but the shooters were... well... not. The team went 0-6 from beyond the arc in the first period. Still, they ended the quarter down only seven, despite the Spurs sprinting out on a 12-2 run.

The start of the second was much the same, with Patty Mills eventually dropping a three to extend the lead to 10. Apparently Vince Carter took offense to this and upped his... offense. In fact, he scored the Mavericks' first eight points of the second quarter all by himself. As the minutes ticked by, the game itself looked closer than the score would have you believe thanks to an embarrassing inability for Dallas to make free throws.

The half came to a close with the Mavericks still down seven, 58-51.

Quarter number three began with a series of miscues and turnovers by both teams. But the Mavericks climbed to within two points before letting the Spurs pull away again. Strangely enough, Blair was still vengeful and making all sorts of funny/effective plays. Unfortunately, each time the Mavericks drew close, a missed bunny or pull-up jumper would give the Spurs another chance. San Antonio was turning it over, too, but Dallas simply could not capitalize.

As our dear contributor Kirk put it,

Oh well. At least there's always Dirk Nowitzki. He had a series of unguardable back-to-back baskets to keep fans hanging on. And yet, as the quarter drew to a close, Dallas was STILL down by seven, unable to close the gap. The frustrating part? Up through this point, they had started 3 of 10 on free throws, and then made 14 straight!! Seven points that should have been guaranteed.

The final period wasn't completely devoid of beautiful shots from Dirk and Monta Ellis, but it wasn't full of 'em, either. In fact, there were far more derptastic moments than one can allow in a game against one's arch rivals. Having once been so close, the Mavericks let the lead balloon to 13 points. A series of bad passes resulted in the MMB account completely giving up...

SO that should give you an idea of how things were going. That was Rebecca, by the way, not Andy.

With just over 5:00 left to play, San Antonio got it up to 15 before Dirk and Monta were all like I AIN'T DONE YET. Dirk's trailing three cut it to 10, and Monta made a few free throws after that. Talk about a two man game, y'all. A Dirk steal, outlet pass to Monta cut the lead to three (a 12-0 Monta/Dirk run) with under 4:00 to play, and the AAC was a-rockin'.

You didn't think it would be that easy though, did you? Remember, the Spurs still have Tim Duncan. And boy did he remind us all. Buckets, free throws, a block for good measure. The Mavericks really tried hard, and give them credit for making it a truly exciting, entertaining game. But in the end, those missed free throws came back to haunt them. Had they not fouled Tony Parker, who was dribbling out the clock with 10 seconds to go, they would have lost by those damn free throws.

For what it's worth, Blair did finish with a strong 14 points in his revenge game. Good effort, buddy.




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