AT&T CENTER – Sunday afternoon the San Antonio Spurs looked more like the team they portrayed during the regular season. The game was all Spurs, all the time. Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili lead the team to a 119-96 victory in game 7 over the Dallas Mavericks.
Danny Green shot a three pointer very early in the first that gave the Spurs the their first lead of the game, and they never looked back. The Mavs tried to get things going, but misses by Monta Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon helped extend the Spurs’ lead. Parker then had back-to-back jump shots late in the quarter, to give the Spurs a 22-12 lead. Not much later Ginobili hit a three that would give the Spurs a 14 point lead, their biggest of the first quarter. The quarter didn’t end without two technical fouls being given out. One went to Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle while the other went to Parker with 31 seconds left in the game. The Spurs went on to maintain a lead and end the first quarter 35-23.
In the second quarter, it was clear the Spurs could not be stopped. Ginobili started things off with a jump shot to give the Spurs a 14-point lead. It would be another three minutes before the Mavericks scored with a jump shot from Nowitzki, to make it 46-27. Parker had four lay-ups late in the quarter, to help keep the momentum going for the Spurs. One of his lay-ups, with 1:46 left in the first half, put the Spurs up by 29 points, which was their biggest lead of the half. Mavericks guard Devin Harris ended the half with a 3-pointer, which cut the Spurs’ lead down to 22 and closed out the quarter 68-46.
Midway through the third quarter, Dallas would cut the Spurs’ lead to the smallest and rest of the game: 14 points. Harris had a driving lay-up that would make the score 77-63. From that point on, the Spurs kept building the lead to a quarter high of 26 points with 1:43 left. Again, the quarter was ended on a three-pointer, but this time from Ginobili to give the Spurs a 94-68 lead going into the fourth.
It was all but done for the Mavericks in the fourth when the Spurs continued to build on the well-established lead. Free throws made by Boris Diaw and Parker helped extend the Spurs’ lead to 31 points late in the fourth. In the end, the Mavericks were unable to close the lead and fell to the Spurs, ending their season.
Parker led the way for the Spurs with 32 points while the Mavericks’ leading scorer, Nowitzki, only had 22. The Spurs had a total field goal percentage of 56.8%, and the Mavs only had 40.9%.
Despite the Spurs having an explosive game, the series definitely had its struggles, according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“I’m certainly glad it’s over. It kept many of us up night after night trying to figure those guys out. Rick did a great job with his gameplay and the players were great. They are a really good veteran team playing their best basketball here at the end of the year and I congratulate them. The organization can be proud of that group in a lot of ways,” Popovich said.
“They did a really great job, you have to give a lot of credit to the Mavericks,” Parker said in the postgame press conference.
In game 7 we saw the Spurs team from the regular season. Sunday’s game was definitely the Spurs’ best of the series, a sentiment that was expressed by both Coach Popovich and Duncan.
“From our part, we’re thrilled. I thought our best game was tonight and that worked out for us,” Popovich said.
“Defensively we were solid. We did it exactly the way we wanted to for the entire game,” Duncan said.
The Spurs will go on to face Portland in the second round. But the Spurs hard work on the way to the championship isn’t over yet.
“It’s obviously one heck of a team. We’ve had trouble with them all year long. They’re very talented, young and energetic. It’ll be a great challenge,” Popovich said when asked about the matchup against the Trail Blazers.
“They are packed with shooters. It’s going to be hard,” Ginobili said.
We’ll see how the Spurs do in round 2 of the playoffs. The Spurs will take on the Trail Blazers this Tuesday, May 6, at the AT&T Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 PM Central Time.