The Dallas Mavericks lost to the San Antonio Spurs in utterly heartbreaking fashion Saturday night, 98-96. After leading from wire to wire, the Mavericks gave up a 13-0 run in the final 4:11 seconds, including a last second bucket from Manu Ginobili. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 22 points and 14 rebounds while Maximillian Kleber was the high point man for the Mavericks, scoring a career high 21 on 9 of 10 shooting.
The first quarter was awesome. The Mavericks looked sharp early and late, led by Yogi Ferrell going to work both in the lane and from deep. The Spurs looked sluggish and were unable to defend any of the Maverick pick and roll action. After the Spurs tied the game at 9-9, Dallas exploded offensively via Ferrell (including a crazy four point play). The Spurs could not find any rhythm on either end and Dallas ended the period up 31-18.
Dallas somehow kept the pressure up in the second quarter. The lead hung around 9 points for most of the first part of the period, then J.J. Barea connected on a bananas step back wing three to give the Mavericks a double digit lead. The lead grew to as many as 13 in the period before the Spurs found some offense. After watching their lead whittle down to seven points, Maxi Kleber connected on a three on a pick and pop with Barea, then hit a tough baseline jumper with a hand in his face. The Mavericks would take a 53-43 lead into the half.
The third period has the feel of a sloppy pick up game, with Dirk Nowitzki turning back the clock for much of the period. Dallas boosted it’s lead up to 15 before the Spurs came alive. San Antonio cut the lead down to four point before the Mavericks went to old reliable Dirk for the rest of the quarter. Dallas repeatedly ran pick and rolls with Dirk and Barea, which resulted in Patty Mills ending up on Dirk near the free throw line. Dirk connected on a pair of jumpers to extend the lead back to eight and the Mavericks effectively slowed the Spurs assault the rest of the quarter. Dallas took a 80-71 lead into the fourth.
Things were going fine in the fourth! The really were. Then they weren’t. After keeping the lead in the eight to eleven point range for much of the quarter, Maxi Kleber connected on a three to give the Mavericks a 96-85 lead with 4:11 left in the game. The Mavericks would not score again.
The Spurs, led by second year man Dejounte Murray, pushed and pushed after every Maverick miss. An 11 point lead slowly disappeared while no Dallas player could find a decent look. San Antonio tied the game on a LaMarcus Aldridge post up fade away. Then the Mavericks had a 5 second call turnover as Wesley Matthews lost his mind on an in bounds (he may not have been able to throw it in the back court since the Mavericks advanced the ball after a timeout but that doesn’t sound right). That set the stage for two billion year old guard Manu Ginoili to wile his way all the way to the rim for a Spurs victory.
The Mavericks have two very different offenses
The first offense is a spread pick and roll scheme, in which a ball handling guard works off of a big man or big men. The guard will either drive and shoot, drive and flip an oop to a diving big, drive pass back out to the big, find an open man. The ball moves, is what I’m saying.
The other offense results in Harrison Barnes getting isolation chances. That offense is really effective.
Both offenses are really effective, but the Barnes based offense seems to come at the expense of the one where the entire team is moving.
This is commentary apart from how the Mavericks played tonight, after all, neither Barea nor Barnes could find a decent look in the final 4:11. I’d just like to see Barnes involved in the high pick and roll a lot more often than he is. Otherwise, he gets cold and feels like he has to take the few terrible shots he took in crunch time.
Würzburg, Germany is a really good place to find basketball players!
That Dirk and Maxi combined to score 40 points is just hilarious. Dirk looked phenomenal and justifies his recent indication that he’s going to play beyond this season. Maxi is the kind of scouting pick up that should get someone a raise. I love him.
Maybe someone over six foot tall should grab a gosh darn rebound.
Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea teamed up to have 17 rebounds. That’s two guys who are NOT six feet tall, ending the game with HALF the Maverick team rebounds.
Harrison Barnes had THREE in 37 minutes. Maxi had three. Wesley Matthews had four.
Come on guys.