The Dallas Mavericks lost 93-89 to the San Antonio Spurs, evening the series at 1-1. Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw led the Spurs with 40 points off the bench, while Dirk and Monta chipped in 39 for the Mavericks.
I really don't know whether this was a heartbreaker or not. The Mavs were down 20 as last as 8:38 left in the third and the fact that they almost pulled it out means they can do it. Four games, four close ones, they can do it. But they didn't, and all you can say is, being one Boris Diaw miss from 3-1 probably just about makes it up for being one crazy Vince Carter make from 1-3. It happened, it's going back to San Antonio, here we are.
The Mavs best player tonight was DeJuan Blair, who was 5-5 with 11 boards in just 16 minutes, but unfortunately it became 6-6 when he kicked Tiago Splitter in the head and was tossed. Dirk was, again, unfortunately mortal, which is the worst thing going on right now. A lot of threes were shot by a lot of people who shouldn't shoot threes. But you can't focus on what went wrong without mentioning that the Mavs, again, erased a 20-pt lead against the #1 seed in an important playoff game, and man, did it not look like they could for a while. Had they not been a shockingly un-Mavsilke 18-28 from the line, who knows? But here we are.
I don't honestly know how the Mavs are in this series. Dirk has looked unbelievably mortal and Monta, for all we've been blowing him up, has actually shot 40% or under for 3 out of 4 games. How those are the ingredients of a tied series, I can't tell you, especially when you add in a 1-6 night from Marion, 1-3 from Sam, and 1-6 from the line, 1-3 from Crowder, 2-7 from "Spurs Killer" Harris and 2-9 from Vince. It may honestly be one of the most ridiculous coaching expositions I've ever seen and I can't decide if it's more ridiculous that the Spurs are really throttling Dirk, who has yet to hit 20 points, or that the Mavs are limiting Duncan and Parker and Kawhi. I just don't even know what to say.
This game was close. Very close to a 3-1 lead, just painfully close. After the Mavs got it within one, with 2:49 left, Tony Parker hit I think his first shot of the 2nd half, a long 2. Dalembert missed two FTs, but Monta made an and-one to tie it. So then, of course, Boris Diaw hit a three with 32 seconds left, Monta missed a silly three but Dirk got the o-board and the score and Manu missed a free-throw...but a Monta drive that should have tied it up with 3 seconds left, that was so, so close, rimmed out. And that was it. The great rebellion silenced.
I'm glad the Mavs scared them? Right? Like even when the Spurs were beasting and it seemed like the "real Spurs" and the "real Mavs" had finally arrived, and everything was going to be settled chop-chop, the Mavs reminded the Spurs that in fact, 8th seed is just a name and they have the smartest coach going. After four games, I think we can pretty much say that the Mavs can in fact win this thing. That's the best thing and maybe the only good thing to come out of this game ,but it did. A big Spurs win means the Spurs think the universe has righted themselves. A bare Spurs survival means the Mavs are still living in their heads.
It is good not to be embarrassed, not to give people a reason to doubt you. It is not as good to lose, particularly when 3-1 was so close, so damnably close. But listen. Outside of the Mavs weird game 2 blowout, this series so far has been decided by a total of 10 points. That's the good news but it's also the bad.
So we'll see you Wednesday.