Four-Pointer: Previewing Mavericks vs. Spurs, Game 6

Chris Covatta

From this day to the ending of the world, / But we in it shall be remember'd; / We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother

We stand on a precipice of history. That can be said about any moment since we cannot see the future, but is especially true when a team faces elimination in the playoffs. Dallas has found itself staring into the distance, questioning its fate. This is true of the city and the Mavericks. For the city, the issues are plenty. How does it adapt to the needs of its citizens in the 21st century? The era of highways destroyed the essence of the central core and depleted jobs. Is the city willing to make moves and break stagnant thinking to adapt and restore its place as the economic heart of the region?

The Dallas Mavericks do not face such a daunting fate. Instead, they face playoff elimination. However, their future does lie in what they do on Friday night. Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson face a multitude of offseason questions. Again, the roster will be depleted. New faces will join the team. Who these new faces are will determine the future. Of course, right now, the focus is on how the team plays in Game 6.

On to the Four-Pointer:

Historical Precedent?

Chuck Cooperstein, the radio play-by-play voice of the Mavericks, tweeted about the Mavs' struggles in Game sixes Thursday morning:

Obviously, he forgot about a particular Game 6 in the NBA Finals in 2011. Nonetheless, the Mavs have a terrible record in Game Sixes during the Dirk Era. But, as Andrew Tobolosky pointed out this morning, the Spurs have an equally bad record when they lose Game Three of a series.

Just a reminder, the Mavs beat the Spurs in Game Three. History has a funny way of being re-written.

Blair?

DeJuan Blair was suspended for Game Five after an incident in which it was ruled that he committed a hostile act against Spurs center Tiago Splitter. Blair kicked Splitter, unintentionally according to him, while the two were on the floor after a play. His physical presence was missed in Game Six as the Spurs feasted in the paint as the Mavs looked hopelessly on.

While a repeat of Blair's performance in Game Five is hardly guaranteed, his physical play was sorely missed in Game Six. Blair gives the Mavs several second chance opportunities while he is on the floor. He battles the San Antonio bigs and looks to get offensive boards. If Dallas hopes to stave off elimination, they are going to need a Game Five level of effort from Blair.

Dirk?

He had that "Dirk Game" but I can't help but wonder if it was squandered by that old, ugly Mavs defense. This sums up Dirk in the playoffs:

What do the Mavs need to do to force Game Seven?

Monta Ellis needs to attack, attack, and attack. He shouldn't let up and he should not tire. Get to the rim, get to the line. Force the Spurs to back pedal. Be relentless.

Dallas also needs to play a shred of defense. Just a shred. Hopefully, Blair will help. Too often in Game Six, Splitter found himself thinking, "Oh, hey, I'm at the rim. Great! I like to dunk." Yeah. That doesn't need to happen again.

The Mavericks are going to have to play like they haven't in all but Game Two. They have to click on every level. This series has been closer than almost anyone thought it would be. Close just simply isn't good enough for Dallas in Game Six. They must control the game. If they don't, it will be an uphill battle and the Mavs should be tired of their Sisyphus impersonation by now.

Once more unto the breach!

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