The San Antonio Spurs’ win over the Dallas Mavericks was the expected start for their 2014 NBA playoff campaign. But the come-from-behind effort of the Spurs was not the assumed narrative of this game or series.
As the Spurs came into the game, they appeared to have the physical and psychological advantage. Dallas having lost nine consecutive meeting prior to their first round meeting would be a hard reality to shake for any NBA team, but especially for the eighth seed in the West.
And it seemed as if the Mavs were going to play right into that mindset with the way the Spurs jumped out to an early lead. But then, something changed in the demeanor of Dallas. And that something was Monta Ellis and Devin Harris.
Both Harris and Ellis combined for 30 points and boosted the Dallas offense through most of the game. The San Antonio defense seemed to struggle with containing the pick-and-roll action that involved Harris and Ellis. Both guards were able to penetrate and create for their teammates, which put the Spurs’ defense on their heels. San Antonio was very tentative in their backcourt matchups and allowed the Mavs to be the aggressors.
Another issue that allowed Dallas to be effective was the lack of the three-ball in San Antonio’s offense. The league leading three-point shooting team in the regular season could not throw a rock into an ocean. The Spurs went 3-of-17 from beyond the arc and Manu Ginobili contributed all of those buckets.
The Spurs must contain the Mavs backcourt and shoot the deep ball better in order to make this series easier on themselves. If not, then they may end up playing more games than expiated to pull this series out.