The San Antonio Spurs seemed to be rolling on all cylinders against the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night to take a 3-2 series lead with a 109-103 win.
It was a game that all San Antonio fans have been hoping to see since the series started on April 20th. Tiago Splitter scored a playoff career high of 17 points, along with 12 rebounds and 5 assists, not to mention he went 7-of-10 from the field and had a field goal percentage of 70. Yes, Tiago Splitter – 70%. Then, guard Danny Green had only 6 points and 2 steals (already significantly more than the previous 4 games) and 2 huge blocks, first on Shawn Marion’s shot, then Devin Harris’ layup, both in the 3rd quarter.
Needless to say, the offense from Wednesday night was spot on.
But, the game did have a few scary moments. Such as, Half-Man Half-Amazing Vince Carter firing down those 3-point shots. Yeah, that was a nice sight to see, but not from a San Antonio standpoint. So, what improvements could the Spurs have to take this series in the bag? Maybe, stronger defense on the outside…”Vinsanity” was 7-9 on 3-pointers and lead the Mavs with 28 points all night. Therefore, closing out on the shooters such as Carter, Jose Calderon, and Monta Ellis will help the Spurs diminish a chunk of those points. Let’s face it, the Mavs do not have any inside scoring besides Dejuan Blair who will be back for game 6 after his one game suspension. Even then Blair is not an elite scorer, so, guarding the perimeter should be the main focus on defense.
As seen in Game 3, when Monta Ellis was knocking down those shots from the outside, it was difficult to see the Spurs scramble and try to contest his shots. Game 4, there was a significant difference in defense on the three-point line, but Calderon and Ellis still made some big time shots.
Come Game 5 the Spurs knew what needed to be done to take hold of this game and to lead the series. The defense was still not as strong as we have seen from them before, but the offense was so strikingly fierce, good defense was enough instead of great defense.
However, Friday night in Dallas, the American Airlines Center will be an intense environment. In order for the Spurs to take the series home and get ready for the second round of playoffs, they will need to bring a strong defensive effort and keep the offensive energy going strong. The Mavs are hungry to get another win to force a game 7 series, they will do what has been working which is the 3-point shot. If the Spurs can contest those shots and close out the shooters efficiently, then this game should be another San Antonio win with [and again] free coffee Saturday morning. Everyone loves free coffee…