Mavs/Spurs Game 5 Recap
‘Now it’s a series.’
by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
Who killed the Spurs last night in a must-win for the Mavs? The Butler did it. Caron Butler that is. It took a while but the UConn product finally put his stamp on this series. Butler connected on 12-24 shots from the field on the way to a career Playoff-best 35 points and 11 rebounds to stave off elimination on their home court with a 103-81 victory over San Antonio last night, making it a series at 3-2.
“Now it’s a series,” Butler told the AP. “We have to go to San Antonio and bring the same energy and play with the same tenacity and disposition as we played with for 48 minutes here. We got to bring it some way, some how.”
Uh, no shit, Sherlock. If you don’t bring it, you’ll join the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls in planning your summer vacations.
Butler got some assistance from the other new kid on Dallas’ block, Brendan Haywood, who added 8 points, 8 rebounds and 4 “not in my house” blocks.
Tony Parker led all Spurs with 18 points and 6 assists. The Spurs didn’t get much from Tim Duncan, who finished with only 11 points and 6 rebounds in 24 minutes of play. With only 18 minutes of action, Manu Ginobilli added seven points. And Richard Jefferson? He finished with…wait, why the hell am I even mentioning this guy? He went back to being a complete non-factor with his four points. Greg Popovich could have called up his buddy Ice Man to come in and deliver more than that.
Butler saw the green light from the opening tip and never slowed down. Even when he went right at Timmy for a dunk and the Big Fundamental got a piece of it, the ball still went in. Butler finished with 12 points for the quarter to put the home team up 27-21 and by then, it was apparent the Spurs were in trouble with their four turnovers and bad shot selection. Ginobilli only connected on one basket and Duncan finished with 5 points for the period.
In the second, Parker went to work. The Frenchman went off for 13 points in the quarter. But the Spurs can’t win if the Big Fella only gets two points for the entire 12 minutes of play. Butler continued to be aggressive with 7 points, but JJ Barea’s contribution off the pine—6 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound—really gave Dallas a boost. Dirk Nowitzki had a quiet 10 points up to this point, but was clearly deferring to Butler’s hot hand.
After the half, Ginobilli’s two quick turnovers were the sign of the times to come for the Spurs. The visitors only managed 18 points the entire way to dig themselves an 18-point hole by the end of the period. Butler continued to shine with 11 points and Haywood hit 4-6 freebies from the charity stripe. Overall, the Mavs went to the line eight times and connected on 12-15 attempts. Not a bad percentage from the line.
By the final period, the Spurs had already waved the white flag with none of their star players on the court to make any kind of run. Dallas got nine points from sparkplug Jason Terry and Butler put the icing on his Playoff cake with five additional points.
Truthfully, this game was about as fun to watch as watching an old lady throw breadcrumbs to birds in the park. The Spurs need to rest up for Thursday’s Game 6 matchup and bring it like they did in Game 4 or this thing might be dunzo for Pop’s bunch. Normally, I’d say the pressure is on the Mavs to avoid elimination, but with the way San Antonio played last night, I’d say the worry warts are working overtime for the white, black and silver. We already know Manu and Timmy are going to rebound, but the key is going to be the artist formerly known as Richard Jefferson. If he doesn’t break out offensively, look for Caron to have another stellar night on O.
Prediction: Mavs take Game 6 by 6 points to make things very interesting.