In the opening game of the first-round matchup between the No. 8 seeded Dallas Mavericks and No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs, Greg Popovich and his aged Spurs looked to be running away with the game early after jumping ahead 21-12 after the first quarter. But just as the Memphis Grizzlies did last night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Mavericks chipped away at the Spurs’ lead and would eventually appear to be heading for an upset in San Antonio to switch home-court advantage. But then again, it’s the Spurs we are talking about and starting the first round with a loss is simply out of the question for the “Big Fundamental,” Tim Duncan, and his Spurs.
From the tip, Tony Parker and Duncan showed their notorious composure and effortless way of dominating as they had their way with the Dallas defense. Parker would eventually cool off, but consistency is key for Duncan who continued to carve up the Mavericks’ defense en route to a 27-point showing along with seven rebounds. As always, Duncan displayed great efficiency as he shot 12-of-20 from the field with only one turnover. The same productivity can be said for the rest of the Spurs as well with Kawhi Leonard finished with a double-double behind his 11 points and 10 rebounds. Tiago Splitter compiled eight points with 11 rebounds. Manu Ginobili racked up 17 points on 4-of-10 shooting off the bench. Then there’s coach-on-the-court Parker who finished with an impressive stat line on 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting with six assists and four rebounds. Just your regular all-around performance from the San Antonio Spurs.
The poor shooting efforts of Dirk Nowitzki surely helped in the Spurs’ comeback efforts as he shot 4-for-14 from the field with only 11 points. Devin Harris led all Mavericks in scoring with his 19 points of the bench.
Despite their second-quarter meltdown, which made this an actual competitive game, the Spurs showed the signs that they are still ready to compete for a championship with their leadership and resiliency. And knowing Popovich, I think it’s safe to say the Spurs will learn from their second-quarter mistakes and have a much easier win in Game 2.