The task was Herculean as it was, as Game 7s are just a completely different monster for the road team. It’s rare for any road team to win a Game 7, let alone a No. 8 seed.
For instance, coming into Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs, no No. 8 seed had ever won a Game 7, in any series. For the Dallas Mavericks, they were facing the impossible. Sure, the Mavericks had yet to be blown out in the series, but the Spurs are the Spurs, and the Mavericks are the Mavericks.
As a No. 8 seed, if there’s any game the Mavericks should be scratching their heads over, it’s Game 4. With a golden opportunity to go up 3-1 in the series, DeJuan Blair, who was so huge in that game, let his petty bitterness towards his former team cause him to lose his cool. Blair’s kick to Tiago Splitter‘s head was one of the most idiotic things the NBA has ever seen, and it probably cost the Mavericks that crucial game.
Had Dallas actually shown up in San Antonio and won the game, it would have been something to pop champagne over. It probably would have been Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks’ second-greatest accomplishment.
But let’s face facts — the Mavericks were not supposed to win this series. No one can say Nowitzki, who struggled to find his shot for the most part this series, choked. Monta Ellis and others elevated their games, which enabled the Mavericks to almost pull off the unthinkable. No cigar, but Dallas came close.
If the Spurs had lost the series, though, then they would have a reason to be on suicide watch right now.