Playoff Game Day Preview: Spurs vs. Mavs Game 5

2010 NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS — 1st ROUND
(2) DALLAS MAVERICKS vs. (7) SAN ANTONIO SPURS
San Antonio leads series 3-1

TEAM LEADERS

Points Rebounds Assists
SPURS Tim Duncan 20.3 Tim Duncan 10.3 Manu Ginobili 6.0
MAVS Dirk Nowitzki 28.0 Dirk Nowitzki 8.8 Jason Kidd 7.3

Tim Duncan had one of his most disappointing playoff performance scoring just 4 points, Manu Ginobili was off target hitting just 4-16 shots; maybe it was the bandage around his nose but was able to score 17 points. Tony Parker simply struggled, scoring 10 points but with 5 turnovers.

None of it mattered, George Hill led the way for the Spurs scoring 29 points on 11-16 shooting from the field, 5-6 from the 3-point area added 4 boards and committed zero turnovers in 45 minutes of action.

And DeJuan Blair added 7 points and 7 rebounds in just 11 minutes but played significant playing time as he grabbed loose balls in a crucial stretch when the Spurs are trying to make a comeback from a 14 point deficit.

As it is, the San Antonio Spurs will visit the Dallas Mavericks holding a 3-1 series lead and a chance to end the series in 5 games. The Mavericks will have to find a way to beat the Spurs one game at a time and they still feel confident that they can get it done.

And for a reason, two members of the Dallas Mavericks have experienced coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Swingman Shawn Marion did it with Phoenix against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2006 playoffs. Coach Rick Carlisle’s Detroit Pistons overturned a 3-1 deficit against Orlando in the first round in 2003.

Marion insisted after Sunday’s 92-89 defeat that he believes a comeback is still possible, even though history suggests that it’s an extreme long shot. He said “
I’ve been in this situation, it can be done. I don’t see no fat lady.

But history is not on their side. Of the 189 teams in a hole this deep, only 8 have clawed all the way out. And here’s the thing, in 2003 the Orlando Magic had Tracy McGrady and little else. In 2006, the LA Lakers had Kobe Bryant and little else. While the Spurs have Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker right now.

KEYS TO THE GAME


SPURS
On Offense: The Spurs have to try to put the game away early. Tim Duncan will definitely play better on offense this time around. Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker’s dribble penetrations remains key. And if George Hill, Richard Jefferson, Antonio McDyess and DeJuan Blair can contribute the way they did in Game 4, this series is over for the Mavs.


On Defense: Antonio
McDyess’s contribution is hard to quantify in this series. He is the key guy that stays in front of Dirk Nowitzki on defense and he has been effective. But the Spurs still have to be wary of the Mavericks’ quickness and perimeter shooting. Jason Terry, Caron Butler and Shawn Marion can provide instant offense for the Mavs on a given night.

MAVERICKS

On Offense: The Mavs, tried a different approach on offense in Game 4. They thought they have a better chance against the Spurs if the offense was spread out. Nowitzki only had 10 field goal attempts in Game 4, expect that to change in Game 5.

Take advantage from the foul line: The Mavs are one of the best teams in the league when it comes to free throw percentage. In this series, they are making 82.6% of their shots from the free throw line. And in Game 1, their only win in the series; they had 20 more shot attempts.

On Defense:
The Mavs know that the Spurs offense begins and ends with the “Big Three”, but what happens if the “Other Three” of George Hill, Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess showed up once again? Oh! and that’s not to mention rebounding machine DeJuan Blair.



PREDICTION


The Spurs are leading 3-1, but this series is not yet over until one team gets four victories. Expect the Mavericks to lay it all out in Game 5 with their backs against the wall. However, the San Antonio Spurs will be equally determined to finish the Dallas Mavericks in 5 games. The Spurs will win another close one in Dallas, 96-87.
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