After skidding through a three game losing streak, the Mavericks finally stopped the slide against the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks limited the Spurs to 40 percent shooting from the field and 25 percent from deep.
The Mavericks gave the Spurs all they could handle during the first quarter. Led by nine points from Yogi Ferrell, the Mavs raced out to a seven point lead, ending the quarter up 30-23. Kawhi Leonard showed no signs of rust connecting on all three of his shots as he got the start after an extended injury related absence.
After only one turnover by both teams combined in the first quarter, the second quarter consisted of sloppy play and missed chip shots. The Mavericks missed six of nine shots in the paint which is a bold strategy playing against the Spurs. San Antonio also received a boost from Rudy Gay who was the leading Spurs scorer through two quarters with 11 points. Harrison Barnes and Ferrell paced the Mavericks with 11 points as well through the first half. In what was a back-and-forth quarter, Bryn Forbes banked in a three pointer at the buzzer to close the gap as the Mavs took a 46-44 lead into the half.
Third quarter woes plagued the Mavs as they missed their first seven shots and endured a six minute scoring drought until Barnes scored ending a 12-0 Spurs run. San Antonio force-fed LaMarcus Aldridge, who had been mostly quiet until he scored eight points in the third frame. Ultimately, the Mavericks weathered the storm after J.J. Barea scored the final eight points to keep Dallas within striking distance as the Spurs took a 69-67 lead into the final quarter.
After ending the third quarter on a scoring spurt, the Mavericks took the lead with the help of a 13-1 scoring run. Barea and Dwight Powell were major catalysts to the run by scoring, rebounding and showing a chemistry on a nice alley-oop. The Mavericks continued to hit shots with Wesley Matthews canning some from deep and Barea hitting tough shots in the paint. Dallas ultimately outscored the Spurs 28-20 in the fourth and won their eighth game of the season, 95-89.
Dwight Powell shines
By all accounts Powell has had a solid season, and tonight was further proof. In 17 minutes, Powell scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds (including four offensive boards) recording his first double double of the year. Powell was a major reason why the Mavericks started the fourth quarter so well scoring eight in the frame before checking out with five fouls. Powell has seemingly grown into his role, providing high energy and athleticism to a front court that simply doesn’t have much of it outside of Maxi Kleber.
Ferrell and Barea pick up the slack
With Dennis Smith Jr. sitting out due to a hip strain, there was a playmaking void needing to be filled, and Ferrell and Barea stepped up admirably. Ferrell started the game hot, scoring 11 points in the first half, and Barea stepped in after making play after play in the second half. In 35 minutes Ferrell scored 16 points, snagged eight rebounds and was a team high plus-9, while Barea scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished six assists. Barea continues to provide a steadying presence, and tonight was one of his better games this year.
The Mavericks showed some serious stuff
Like every year, the Spurs have championship aspirations. With Kawhi Leonard making his season debut, San Antonio was finally getting back to full strength (Leonard only played 16 minutes and went to the locker room early), which makes this Mavericks win that much more impressive. The third quarter looked all too familiar as the Spurs went on a 12-0 run, and it looked like San Antonio might blow the top off the Mavs as they pounded the ball into Aldridge.
But the Mavericks showed some serious mettle clawing their way back, taking the lead in the fourth and never giving it up. It’s the kind of victory you’d expect from a veteran-led Mavericks team, but the fact it came against the Spurs who were 8-2 in their last 10 games makes it that much more impressive. Barea created, Matthews hit timely shots down the stretch, and they dug in just enough on defense to keep the Spurs at bay. We’ll get to see if the Mavs can keep it up as they face the Warriors and Spurs (again) in the next two games.