Recapping with the Dallas Mavericks: Tony Parker, who?
— I haven’t been able to catch a Spurs game in person in, well, awhile. I regret it. Luckily, I was able to attend last nights game and I thoroughly enjoyed the game (as always). The Spurs passing was even more impeccable in person and the energy was especially electric.
— One of my favorite moments of the game turned out to be a missed opportunity. With about seven minutes left in the game and the Spurs up 14, Stephen Jackson was somehow left wide open behind the arc. Jackson seemed to be startled by the lack of any defense in front of him. As he pulled up for the jumper, the crowd went completely silent. We hate the Mavs with a deep burning passion (obviously) and this shot felt like the dagger. Even though Jack failed, I relish these moments that seem so surreal in person because you can’t really script them. It just happened. The way a crowd affects the game can’t be understated.
— In 15:53, Boris Diaw notched two points on 1-1 shooting, grabbed three rebounds, dished one assist with two turnovers and a team high plus-20. Diaw’s first two points as a Spur occurred on a nice feed from Matt Bonner.
— More importantly, Diaw played surprisingly tough defense on Dirk Nowitzki. His bulky 6’8″ frame made it really tough for Dirk to regain the rhythm he had in the first quarter when he was guarded predominantly by DeJuan Blair. If this remains a trend, his defense, alone, would warrant his inclusion on this team.
— Dirk finished with 16 points and two rebounds on 23.8 percent shooting. Early on, Dirk was able to pick his favorite spots on the floor to operate. He started the game 3-for-5 and didn’t seem flustered at all. After Pop realized Blair wasn’t getting the job he rotated Matt Bonner, Blair, Diaw, Stephen Jackson and Kawhi Leonard on Dirk. Dirk finished the game 2-for-16 and seemed to be forcing his shots rather than simply taking advantage of the defense.
— Without Brendan Haywood, the Spurs were able to get to the rim with ease. San Antonio outscored Dallas, 50-16, in points in the paint. They outrebounded Dallas by 20, including an eight rebound advantage on the offensive glass.
— Great ball movement occurred early in the first quarter. The play began with a Gary Neal-Tim Duncan pick-and-roll. Jason Kidd and Ian Mahimni decided to play the screen aggressive because they wanted disrupt Neal and didn’t feel like he would make the right decision. They hedged the screen and they were flat out wrong. Neal delivered the ball to a rolling Duncan, Duncan touch pass to Blair and Blair found a weakside cutting Kawhi for the easy bucket. Spurs up, 12-8.
— Dallas scored 42 points in the second half but didn’t do so efficiently. They shot 31 percent.
— This was the Mavericks second consecutive double digit loss. The Lakers, behind Kobe Bryant’s 30 points, defeated the Mavericks by 16 points on Wednesday.
— Former Spur Ian Mahimni had a good game tonight. He stayed within himself and was the only Mav who seemed genuinely interested in protecting the rim. He scored 11 points on 5-6 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and swatted two shots.
— Jason Terry continued to hurt the Spurs from the perimeter. He only shot 38.9 percent but that was because 10 of his shots were behind the arc. He was 4-for-10 from 3-point land and at the sight of a Terry transition 3-pointer, I just shutter and close my eyes. He’s that good. (Did I mention that I hate him?)
— Absolutely beautiful pass from Manu Ginobili to Danny Green in the fourth quarter. Ginobili threaded the needle and found a streaking Green, who wasn’t even looking Manu’s way, for the easy two.
— Matt Bonner had an interesting game. In 26:07, Bonner scored 14 points on 71.4 percent shooting, recorded five assists and two block shots. This was the first time Bonner has ever gotten 10 points and five assists in the same game. Going further, this was the second time in the last six years that a Spur has accumulated at least 10 points, five assists, four 3-pointers and two blocks in one game. That feat was accomplished on Nov. 9, 2009 against the Toronto Raptors by none other than Manu.
— Damn, I could’ve swore that Danny Green had scored at least 25 tonight. He was always open and he was cutting the rim with good pace and timing. He posted his usual well-rounded box score but he couldn’t connect on five 3-pointers that I felt were all good looks.
— We didn’t miss you Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter. The Spurs are so deep that can dismantle playoff teams without their best player and best screener.
— Coach Pop quote of the night: “That’s sweet … I hope they (Diaw and Parker) enjoy themselves on the court and are lovey dovey the whole night.”
— The Spurs next game will be against the New Orleans Hornets today at 7:00 p.m. It will be the second game of our first back-to-back-to-back of the season.