Ugh. It was always a bit of wishful thinking to expect Dallas to leave San Antonio up two games, but that really sucked. There is a part of me though that wonders if we should have seen a loss like that coming.
All season long Dallas has seemed to play up or down depending on the situation. At OKC without Durant and Green - don't have to show up for that game. At home to Phoenix to all but clinch the postseason -- definitely ready for that one. On the road to Memphis -- go ahead and sit Howard, don't need him for them. Playing Houston for the sixth seed - that's a win for sure.
They have fallen victim to the easy games and the "trap games" the entire year, and that's sort of how this game was set up. Gregg Popovich said after the game that "[Dallas] did their job. They came in here and won a game. They're in great shape. They did what they wanted to do."
You'll only hear quotes to the contrary from the Mavs, but given this teams recent track record you have to wonder if that's exactly the mentality Dallas came into the game with.
+ Wright started on Parker again. Same result.
+ Barea started the second half again. Different result.
+ Dallas had their first offensive rebound of the game with 4:33 left in the second quarter.
+ Two times Dallas committed a shot clock violation and had no idea it was coming. First it was Wright and then Howard.
+ Mavs offensive efficiency in game one: 127.41. Game Two: 96.52
+ Mavs defensive efficiency in game one: 116.54. Game Two: 116.14.
+ Player of the game: Jason Kidd? I don't know, help me out here...
+ Dirk made one jump shot tonight. A 17 footer four minutes into the game.
+ The Mavs 28 rebounds were the fewest they had in a game all season. In fact, Dallas hasn't had fewer rebounds in a game since they had 26 in a regular season loss to Utah on April 13th, 2007.
+ Behind Enemy Lines: "We aren't going to shoot 53% every game, and Tony especially isn't going to go 16-22 every game. Dallas isn't going to shoot 40% for the whole series either. And Dirk isn't going to be 3-14 every game - in fact, he's due for one of his typical badass scoring games. So, even when we play great defense, they still might beat us."
Tons of postgame quotes after the jump...
Disappointing game from our perspective obviously. San Antonio really brought up their level of aggression at the defensive end, and they were very good offensively. We're going to have to do better job at both ends ourselves. The first and third quarters were our undoing. In the third we got it down to nine, and then they got it back to 16 or 17 and we just couldn't get a handle on the game at that point. We've got to regroup, and we've got to do a lot of things better.
What kept the bench from being as effective as they were in game one?
Our whole team wasn't as effective. I wouldn't point to the bench. We struggled, and I though it was their aggressive posture that had more to do with it than anything. We're going to have to be better at both ends. I thought we were playing hard, but they were really just super aggressive.
Barea was kind of the x-factor in game one and Pop put Bruce on him. What do you do to counter that?
We're going to have to play better overall. We give up 39% three point shooting and 53% from the floor. You can talk about individual matchups, but overall our team is going to have to play better defensively. That will help our offense, and we'll have to put the ball in the hole when we get opportunities. Bowen is a guy that they're going to put on the best perimeter player, or the guy causing the most problems at that particular time. He does a great job, and we're just going to have to do better.
Were you guys just content to get out of town with the split?
Well I didn't think so. I thought we were playing hard and they just took it to another level tonight. That was the difference. We were never able to meet their level of intensity. It wasn't that we weren't playing hard, they just ramped it up higher.
They said they wanted to stop Dirk and he was 3-14 tonight...
Again, I think we're going to have to be better defensively. We're going to always get better shots and get our better players shots when we are getting stops. It's much harder when you are taking the ball out of the other teams baskets. We're going to have to work to get Dirk and JET more good looks. They're obviously a priority defensively for them, so that's going to be on the coaching staff's to-do. And we'll have to do that in the next couple of days obviously.
When a team is shooting 53% what do you to stop them when they're hitting everything?
You have to be better with your coverages. I think when we go look at the film we're going to see that there are areas we can improve on, obviously. It's tough with a guy like Parker who has great quickness. It's a tough guy to deal with, but it's a five man responsibility. And we're going to have to keep throwing a bunch of different guys at them. He's tough, but we're going to have to do better.
They really executed their game plan a lot better than they did the other night. We didn't really have much going offensively, and then defensively we never really got a hold of Parker. He had nineteen points in the first quarter. It was a layup drill out there. He was shooting the ball well when we went under the screen and rolls, so he was fantastic tonight.
Talk about your night. 3-14, was it an off night or were they doing something in particular?
Well they did the same as the other night and I don't think that's going to change the rest of the series. Wherever I have the ball, they are going to come so... I had some good looks there in the second half and basically just missed a couple of shots. Got to the foul line early in the first half, made some good moves. Then in the second half you're down 20 so you shoot some three's and they just didn't go in tonight.
Is there anything you can do to get separation when they crowd you like that?
Not really. That's their game plan. Maybe catch the ball a little more on the move, but that's their game plan. They can give up layups behind me as long as I don't really get the ball. Even in transition when I run someone is running at me. That's their game plan. Those shots that I gotta take, have to be good shots, and I've got to make them.
Is there consolation that you're going back to Dallas with a split?
Yeah, I mean I guess a split in San Antonio, a tough building, is not bad. But when you win the first one you always want to get the second one. You're not happy with a split after you get the first one. Now we've got two days to go over our coverages because obviously our pick-and-roll coverage was... they really exploited it tonight. We've got some stuff to work on and a big game Thursday. You don't want to give that advantage right back. We've been a great home team all season long. Our fans will be crazy just like here in this building. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
Do you feel like defensive adjustments are the main thing you guys need to work on?
Well, like I said Parker was phenomenal, but he did get to the basket way too easy a bunch of times. So if we can cut away a couple layups that he had that might help. But he's one of the best in the business at getting to the basket and finishing around the big guys. There were a lot of layups out there, so we have to make sure we get our pick-and-roll coverage right.
Came off a little gingerly on your ankle. Is there any sort of long term injury there?
I was just a little banged up tonight. Banged my thumb, rolled my ankle on that one foul. That's what the playoffs are all about. Stuff happens. We've got two days off and I'll be fresh on Thursday.
Thumb is okay?
Yeah, I jammed that a long time ago this season, a couple of months ago. In this league stuff happens all the time. It's a physical game. I got hit on it today, and it was just a little sore. I got it taped and was able to finish the game.
Talk about the job they did defensively.
It was the same thing they did in game one. I thought we just executed a lot better. But it wasn't the offense. Don't kid ourselves. We gave like 23 first quarter points to Tony Parker. It's unacceptable. We're going to have to adjust our game plan and really hone in on him. He's the head of the snake, so we've got to make somebody else beat us.
Why was he able to have so much success tonight?
Well first of all, you have to meet the challenge. We had four or five different guys on him. Me personally, gave up three or four quick baskets, so you have to look at yourself first. This is a guy that makes a living in the paint. Somehow we have to corral him and keep him out of the paint.
The first part is keeping him out of the lane. Once a guy gets in the lane repetitively he's in rhythm. It was his night tonight. Take your hat off to him, he played well. He stepped up for his team.
Any concern with the way you guys played tonight. More of a blowout loss than a competitive loss.
Well, I think we got off to a bad start. One of their best players had a big game. We all understand that they're a veteran ball club and were going to come out with their best game, and they did. We can't take away that we came and got one, so now we have to protect home court.
Tony Parker had 19 points in the first. You guys had nineteen as a team.
He got going early and he kept going. We've got to look at tape and see what we can do to make it tough on him. See if we can get somebody else to shoot the ball because he didn't miss tonight.
That shows that we weren't in the game at all tonight. When we rebound it gives us a chance to win, but tonight we never got any rebounds or any steals. We have to learn form our mistakes and get ready for game three.
They key in on the main guys like Dirk and Terry, so game one was about the role players stepping up. Tonight was different in that regard.
We just have to be patient. We can't start to stress out and take bad shots. We have to learn from game one that when people were touching the ball, we were moving it and getting open looks. We have to look at what we did right in game one and what we did wrong in game two.
Game three, you have to feel confident knowing you can beat this team.
Well, it's 1-1. It's a series now. We have to protect home. We've been playing well at home. We have to have that confidence and get our crowd involved, get two wins, and come back to San Antonio.
We've got to do a better job on Thursday of starting the game. We can't let them get going like that.
How big was that? That huge start.
That's what did it. They finally got that confidence going. They got the crowd into the game, and that's what did it for them.
You guys cut it to nine.
Yeah, we kept fighting, but they weren't losing tonight. They did what they had to and played great. Give them all the credit.
They killed you on the boards tonight.
They killed us on everything tongiht. We just have to have couple of good practices and get ready for Thursday -- come out hard on Thursday.