Jefferson shreds “dog” tag, helps Spurs even series


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DALLAS – A dose of confidence and two days’ rest brought the San Antonio Spurs back to life as they went head-to-head with the Mavericks in Dallas during Game 2 of the first round of the 2010 NBA Playoffs. Refusing to allow Dallas to take over, the Spurs managed to consistently hold a lead to finish with a win – San Antonio 102, Dallas 88.

Richard JeffersonGeorge Hill returned to the court as a starter alongside Manu Ginobili, Antonio McDyess, Tim Duncan, and Richard Jefferson. The Spurs’ desperately-sought redemption paired with the Mavericks’ shooting woes led to a San Antonio nine-point-burst during the first four minutes of the game. After Caron Butler’s three-point shot to put Dallas on the board, the Mavericks struggled through to keep San Antonio on its toes.

As Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki helped to narrow San Antonio’s early 11-point lead, back-to-back baskets from Duncan and an eight-point scoring spree by Tony Parker kept the Spurs alive. At the end of the first quarter, San Antonio proved they were back to recover from Game 1, up 24-20 over the Mavericks.

Consecutive three-point shots from Matt Bonner early in the second quarter gave San Antonio the cushion it needed to stay above Dallas on the scoreboard. J.J. Barea’s basket narrowed the lead to one, serving as the cue for Jefferson and Ginobili as they took over to score a whopping 18 points together in just four minutes of play to give the Spurs a 14-point lead.

Parker was able to add a basket just before Hill turned the ball over to Dallas. Jefferson regained possession and threw in another 2 points with a mere 24 seconds left in the half. The Mavericks were unable to score, ending the second quarter down by 12 – San Antonio 58, Dallas 46.

It took over a minute for either team to score at the beginning of the second half; Duncan came out the victor in the scoring battle as he was able to make a 2-point basket on an offensive rebound from a missed Jefferson shot. After spending most of the night helping recover the ball for second chance points, McDyess was able to add a basket before getting recovering Hill’s missed shot and passing to Duncan, who shined in the second half.

A set of threes from Ginobili allowed him to demonstrate exactly why he deserved his new three-year deal as well as bring the Spurs back to a 15-point lead with 4:44 left on the clock in the third. Three Ginobili free throws and a Jefferson basket later, the Spurs had their biggest lead of the game at 80-60 over Dallas. Just as things began to look up, the Mavericks forced two San Antonio turnovers, managing to get 12 points on the board before Parker could finish the quarter with a last-minute shot to end the third – San Antonio 82, Dallas 72.

Owning the fourth quarter, Duncan scored 10 points beginning with a 2-pt shot just 15 seconds into play. Hill began to look like himself again, making a big three-pointer in the clutch. Jason Kidd forced a Spurs turnover, allowing the Mavericks to put another seven points on the board before Ginobili stepped up to force a Dallas turnover that ended with a Hill jumper, putting the Spurs up by eight.

Duncan had an eight-point scoring spree before turning the ball back over to Kidd. Dallas was only able to add four more points before Ginobili and Bonner sealed the win – San Antonio 102, Dallas 88.

Duncan led the team in scoring with 25, followed by Ginobili‘s 23-point contribution; Jefferson and Parker with 19 and 16 points respectively. Duncan had 17 rebounds, while Jefferson had seven; the team had a total of 51 rebounds. San Antonio finished with 40 points in the paint and had 48.2 percent shooting, completing 8-of-15 three-point attempts.

The Spurs will return to San Antonio to face the Mavericks on home court for the next two games of the series; Game 3 will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. Friday evening at the AT&T Center.