Mavs/Spurs Game 2 Recap
Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof).
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
After getting embarrassed in Game 1 by the Mavs, Spurs head coach Greg Popovich called out lackluster players like Richard Jefferson by telling the media postgame, “We had a lot of guys play like dogs.”
Apparently, Pop got through to RJ. The Spurs’ biggest dog finally got his bone last night, running off 17 of his 19 points in the first half to help lead the visitors to a 102-88 win over the Mavs to even the series at 1-1.
So what happened? Did San Antonio take my advice and defibrillate him pregame? I can just imagine medics standing around him at his locker and then yelling, “Clear!”
RJ would never admit to something like that. Instead, he’s got to give the press something cookie cutter.
“My teammates were looking for me, coming off the pick-and-roll and throwing it back to me,” Jefferson told the AP. “That’s pretty much my game. After I struggled the last game, I think there was a concerted effort to get me involved.”
That and Pop got in that ass. Let’s not kid ourselves here, Pop is one helluva coach and you know he’s not going to take a player “doggin’ it” out there in the Playoffs.
RJ definitely had some help, though. Tim Duncan got in his hot tub time machine and dialed it back to ’03 to come up with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Manu Ginobilli finished with 23 and Tony Parker came off the pine to add 16 points and 8 assists.
Jason Terry led the way for Dallas, finishing with a game-high 27 points off the bench. Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points and 10 rebounds and Bulter added 17 points. Kidd was help to 5 points and 8 assists, despite playing 40 minutes.
The Spurs came out with some serious energy and took control early. Ginobilli hit the first bucket to go up 2-0 and San Antonio would never relinquish the lead from that point on. Timmy finished with nine for the quarter and Parker, after checking into the game at the 7:11 mark, ran off 8 points to help the Spurs finish the quarter with a 24-20 lead. Sign of the times for the Mavs: Dirk did not have a point in the first quarter. When your star doesn’t score in an entire period, you are in Barney…Rubble? Trouble! (Had to throw in an Ocean’s Eleven reference there).
The German got it going in the second, finishing with 10 for the period, but it was Jefferson who stole the show. The Arizona product went off for 13 points including a nice, wide-open 25-footer from the wing to push San Antonio’s lead to 14 with 2:54 remaining. Chucky, er, Matt Bonner also connected on two three balls for the visitors. The Jet, who was really the only one keeping things interesting for the home team, added seven.
The Mavs couldn’t stop the bleeding in the third until the end when back-to-back threes by Kidd and Terry closed the deficit to 10. Ginobilli kept the pressure on with two crazy triples. Duncan continued to play like the Timmy of old, finishing with adding seven points to the stat sheet.
In the final 12 minutes of play, Dallas went on a run to close the gap to five at the 6:56 mark, Duncan fired off four unanswered buckets, including a pretty floater from the baseline, to stretch the lead back to 13. Manu followed Timmy’s run with a dagger from behind the arc, forcing a Dallas timeout, but the deal was already done.
With the series all tied up, things get interesting as the Mavs now have to go into the Spurs’ house to steal a win. I don’t think Dirk will have another bad shooting night, so look for him to establish his rhythm early. Going scoreless in the first period does not a Playoff contender make. Also look for Caron to step it up, especially on the defensive end. You can’t allow RJ to get hot and gain confidence in the Playoffs.
I’m not exactly sure why Parker is coming off the bench, but it’s working and I don’t see Pop changing that for the next game. Kidd needs to distribute the ball and get his assists up to double digits if the Mavs hope to rebound at all. Tim Duncan is really playing some inspired ball, so I see him keeping pace with the last two outings. I wouldn’t be my money on RJ, but I do see him getting at least 10 points in Game 3. Manu lives for these moments, so I’m sure he’ll continue to kill it on the offensive end.
This may sound crazy, especially since the game will be on the Spurs’ court, but I think the Mavs rebound and come in with a sense of purpose and get it done.
Game 3 Prediction: Mavs sneak away with a two- or three-point win.