The San Antonio Spurs have defeated the Dallas Mavericks in eight consecutive meetings prior to Thursday night’s game, so the victory was inevitable. But the win was not as easy as the Spurs may have perceived it would be.
With Tony Parker out for the Spurs, ball control was a definite issue for their offense all night. San Antonio coughed up the rock on 13 different occasions, with six of those occurring in the second quarter. But they did manage to dish out 22 assists on the night thanks to some great play from unlikely characters. Scoring sensation Patty Mills was one of those characters, starting in place of the injured Parker, and he finished with a game-high of 26 points and an even more impressive zero turnovers.
But what should have been a blowout game for the Spurs turned into an actual winnable game for the Mavericks late in the second half. After going on a 24-11 run in the third period and leading by as much as 16 in the fourth, the Spurs’ defense lost focus and allowed the Mavs within six points with under a minute to go in the game.
The Spurs were able to pull out the victory on the strength of their three-point shooting ability, but they should not be proud of this one. Sloppy turnovers in the second and fourth quarters almost cost them a loss to a possible No. 8 seed team in Dallas. The Spurs should have made quick work of the Mavs, but instead they played down to the level up their competition and almost paid for it. It might not be an issue right now, but if the Spurs are to make a serious run, they must improve their focus against lesser opponents.