Playoff Game Day Preview: Spurs vs. Mavs (Game 2)

2010 NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS — 1st ROUND
(2) DALLAS MAVERICKS Lead Series 1-0 vs. (7) SAN ANTONIO SPURS

TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Tim Duncan 27.0 Tim Duncan 8.0 Manu Ginobili 6.0
MAVS Dirk Nowitzki 36.0 Erick Dampier 12.0 Jason Kidd 11.0


The Dallas Mavericks won the series opener, 100-94, behind Dirk Nowitzki’s superb performance, dropping 36 points on 12-14 shooting from the field against a San Antonio Spurs team that is supposedly known for their defense during the playoffs.
It’s just one game but the Spurs have a lot of adjustments to make to be able to tie up this series.

They have to find a way to limit Nowitzki’s production but their offense was also a problem. Outside Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, the rest of team made just 10 of 26 shots from the field with Antonio McDyess the only other Spur to score double digits with 10 points.


Prompting Coach Gregg Popovich to say “
I thought we had a lot of guys who played like dogs.”

It should be also noted that after starting at point-guard for the Spurs, George Hill is a game time decision. If he can’t play Tony Parker might take place as the Spurs’ starting point-guard. Hill was a non-factor in game one probably because his ankle is not yet fully healed. If he can play, he will have to be the Hill Spurs fans saw during the regular-season.

This game is a “must-win” of sorts for the Spurs. Falling 0-2 against a strong Mavericks team is certainly not the right way to start the playoffs let alone before heading back to San Antonio. Let’s not forget the Spurs failed to advance to the 2nd round last year with the Mavericks beating them 4-1.

The Spurs will be hard pressed to even the series, while the Mavericks will enter game confident to take a 2-0 series lead.


KEYS TO THE GAME


SPURS
On Offense: The Spurs’ “Big Three” of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker will get their points, but they have to get the other players involved. Richard Jefferson and Hill (if he plays) should get their touches.

And no matter how Roger Mason Jr. and Matt Bonner played terribly in game one, they deserve to take more than eight shots between them for the entire game. Also, DeJuan Blair was efficient in his playoff debut and though he did make some “rookie mistakes,” he certainly deserve more minutes on the floor.

Ball distribution will be a main factor for the Spurs and they have to take extra care for the basketball. They committed 17 turnovers in game 1 in which Duncan had six and Ginobili five.

On Defense: Protect the paint. The Spurs are shorter compared to the Mavericks front-court but they have to hold their own. The Mavericks killed the Spurs on offensive rebounding 13-8 in game one.
Better ‘D’ on Dirk. McDyess is capable defender but he’s gonna need more help to contain Nowitzki. Maybe the Spurs should send an early double-team to limit Dirk’s point production and Caron Butler is another guy the Spurs should try to keep an eye on defense.

MAVERICKS

On Offense: Dallas did a good job on offense. In game one, it was clear Nowitzki is a match-up nightmare for the Spurs. If they can continue riding Dirk on offense at the rate he is shooting and passing the basketball, the Spurs will have a hard time catching up the Mavericks.

On Defense: The Mavericks are lucky to win game one despite the Spurs’ “Big Three” combining for 71 points. But maybe that’s the key for Dallas. If they can take away the Spurs’ perimeter game and make life harder for Duncan in the post, they have a great chance of getting a 2-0 series lead.


INJURIES
SPURS
George Hill – sprained right ankle (game time decision)
Malik Hairston – sprained ankle (might miss the game)


MAVERICKS
None

PREDICTION
The Spurs can’t afford to make the same mistakes they did in game one. Players like Jefferson and Hill have to step up their game and the Spurs as a team have do a better job on defense.

This is a must win for the Spurs. It’s time to make their stand! Despite how the well the Mavericks played in game 1, I believe the Spurs will come out playing with a sense of urgency and will take game two, 91-87, to even the series at 1-1.
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