The San Antonio Spurs may be able to take a breath now that they have evened up their series with the Dallas Mavericks at two games apiece. It was a gritty display of veteran savvy and resiliency that fueled the 93-89 victory. But the championship level of play that the Spurs are capable of just seems to be anything but championship level.
The sluggish start by the Spurs was a notable sign as they went down 19-10 very quickly in the first quarter. San Antonio was able to claw back into the game with one of the big three’s timely production. Manu Ginobili poured in bucket after bucket to help the Spurs gain the upper hand, but his 23 points were not enough to protect their 20 point-lead.
After the Mavericks’ late run to once again regain the lead in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Ginobili would hit the clutch free throws to seal the victory. And despite the timely play of Ginobili, the other two-thirds of the trio have not lived up to their expectations. Tim Duncan has been solid throughout the series and his 14 points and 10 rebounds in game are nothing to scoff at, but he has not been the dominant force he is capable of being.
Tony Parker has quietly put together an average of 15.5 points and 4.5 assists per game throughout the series, but he does not seem to be as effective as Gregg Popovich would like him to be. Some questions arose about the benching of Parker late in Game 3 and how that would correlate with Parker’s performance for the rest of the playoffs.
With the series heading back to San Antonio, this will be a chance for the Big Three and the team as whole to get on the same page. The opportunity to start playing like the No. 1 seed begins in Game 5.