Spurs/Mavs Game 1 Recap
J.J. and B.B. come up big for Big D.
At first glance the Dallas and San Antonio first round playoff series doesn’t offer much potential for excitement. After all, the Spurs are involved, plus their most exciting player, Manu Ginobili, is going to miss the proceedings due to a bum leg. But look a little deeper and this matchup offers plenty of intrigue and story angles. With the general consensus being that both teams’ best days are in the rear-view, would a first round defeat cause a roster to get gutted? Would the winning team be able to build on their victory and become a legit title contender again? Would Tim Duncan and Josh Howard be healthy enough to perform at a high level? Plus any series that Mark “Mouth of the South(west)” Cuban is involved in is always ripe for some explosives. If all that isn’t enough, Hubie Brown is doing the color for the games on ESPN – what more could you ask for?
To call the Dallas defense in the first quarter of this game as porous would actually be a compliment. Now to be fair, Tony Parker isn’t the easiest guy to keep in front of you on D. But Mr. Longoria made it look like Dallas had five orange pylons playing defense in the first quarter, getting into the lane at will. Lucky for them he missed a bunch of easy ones. Add in the fact that Dirk Nowitzki barely had more points (3) than fouls (2) in the first frame, and Dallas seemed lucky to only be down 11 as the horn sounded.
Right when Dallas started to get their wits about them, the big German got whistled for his third infraction four minutes into the second quarter. Not surprisingly, that foul call proved to be the difference in the game. However, instead of San Antonio taking advantage of Dirk catching splinters, the Dallas bench lit up the Spurs. Jose Juan “Peurto Rico!! Ho!!” Barea and Brandon “Who?” Bass (14 points, 4 boards for the night) proved to be a deadly duo for Big D, with J.J. locking down (relatively speaking) Parker for the rest of the game while also dropping 13 points through the net for the Mavs. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that Jason Kidd (4 points, 8 boards, 5 assists) was the future Hall of Famer on the Mavericks and not Barea.
The second half saw Josh Howard come out blazing (pun intended). Putting all questions regarding his health to rest,
Howard was the top scorer for the victors, netting 25 points in less than 30 minutes of action. But the real story of the game was Barea, the best player to come out of Northeastern University since the late Reggie Lewis. His ability to contain Parker as well as knock down clutch shots was the key to the Dallas win.
So what did we learn? Well, by winning the first game Dallas now has a 79 percent chance to win the series. Dallas must be thrilled to steal a game on the Spurs home court despite a quiet performance from Nowitzki (19 points). Tony Parker (24 points, 8 assists, 4 boards) and Tim Duncan (27 points and 9 boards) are unstoppable, but they need help. Having their bench outscored 39-14 is not going to cut it for the Spurs. Anybody have any Argentinian magic potion they can rub on Ginobili’s leg?