The San Antonio Spurs learned a valuable lesson in Game 2 of the opening round of the 2014 NBA playoffs: Play every game as if it was your last. The Dallas Mavericks approached the game with this exact attitude and gained the easy 113-92 victory because of it.
The lack of urgency in San Antonio’s body language and play was evident all night long. The menial effort and lack of focus led to a field day for the Mavericks’ backcourt, which the Spurs struggled to guard. The Dallas trio of Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon and Devin Harris combined for 51 points, 13 assists and four steals.
Not only was defense an issue for San Antonio, but their season-high 24 turnovers also helped Dallas get their offense going. An outstanding total of 15 turnovers in the first half for the Spurs set the tone and pace for the rest of the game. It has been documented that San Antonio is too unselfish at times, which caused many of the forced passes that led to turnovers in Game 2.
On a positive note, the bench for San Antonio showed up and outscored the Mavs’ bench 51-40 on the night. Manu Ginobili was the spark off the bench as he finished with a team-high 27 points, but it was to no avail as the Mavs controlled the action the whole night.
The Spurs should not be worried because their mistakes are easily correctable, and they have the 2014 NBA Coach of the Year in Gregg Popovich to help them. If they can control the pace and stop the backcourt attack of Dallas, a round one victory is inevitable.