May 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) reacts to being called for a foul against the San Antonio Spurs in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 119-96. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
2014 NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs finally took care of business against the Dallas Mavericks by prevailing with a 119-96 victory in Game 7.
Although the road was much rougher than any analyst or Spurs fan predicted, the Spurs finally closed out their in-state rivalry in resounding fashion.
Many analysts predicted before the series that the Spurs would take care of business in four or five games. I honestly don’t remember seeing anybody predicting that the Mavs would push the Spurs to the brink of elimination, but that’s exactly what happened. The anticipation for Game 7 was heightened due to previous Spurs experiences in Game 7’s, but the Spurs took care of business early by laying the knockout punch in the first half.
Tony Parker was a man amongst boys early, getting into the paint early and often and finishing his acrobat layups with ease. Parker even got into a war of words with Dejuan Blair and received a technical foul for it, which further illustrated how badly Parker wanted this win. By halftime, Parker already had 22 points and set the tone for the rest of the team.
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It was a great sight to see an aggressive Parker. Throughout this series, Parker had been noticeably absent at certain points during games. In order for the Spurs to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round, the Spurs absolutely have to have an aggressive Parker to counter Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers vaunted offense.
In regards to Game 7, Manu Ginobili also looked like a man on a mission. Manu’s struggles were a major reason why the Spurs did not win Game 6, so it was obvious that he wanted to make up for his poor showing. As a result, he consistently attacked the Mavs interior defense early and looked like the good Manu that we all love.
Due to the Spurs seemingly effortless ability to get into the paint, the Spurs offense looked more like the Spurs offense of the regular season that was one of the best in the entire league.
Danny Green built off his Game 6 performance by finishing with 16 points and hit a couple of long range threes that really got the AT&T crowd rowdy early. Tiago Splitter came back down to earth offensively by only finishing with a single point, but Boris Diaw picked up the slack offensively by finishing with a solid line of 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Tim Duncan finished with a very quiet 15 points and 8 rebounds on a highly efficient 7-8 shooting.
As evidenced by the Spurs 119 points, the Spurs offense was clicking on all cylinders throughout the game and was able to get a bunch of open, high percentage looks that kept the Mavs on their heels. Going forward, look for the Spurs offense to revert to their typical, machine-like offense in their series with Portland.
The Spurs tied a franchise playoff record for FG% in a half shooting 68.4% (28-36) in the first half en route to a 68-46 halftime lead.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) May 5, 2014
On the defensive end, the Spurs did a great job of keeping Ellis out of the paint, in a large part due to Ellis’ early foul trouble. Because of this foul trouble, Ellis was never able to get into a rhythm and only finished with 12 points. Because of Ellis’ foul trouble, the Mavs weren’t able to create the dribble penetration that they’ve had this entire series and in effect took some of the Mavs shooters out of the game.
Dirk Nowitzki finished the game with 22 points and 9 rebounds on 8-21 shooting, mainly being guarded by Diaw throughout the game due to Splitter’s foul trouble. Devin Harris had a really good night offensively, finishing the game with 17 points and three three-pointers made. The Spurs as a unit held the Mavs to a paltry 40.9 percent shooting on the night, which did not keep them within real striking distance of the Spurs and their 56.8 percent shooting.
Spurs fans can finally exhale after this extremely stressful and entertaining series.
The Mavs deserve all the credit in the world for pushing the Spurs to seven games and making them work for this series win. The Spurs now have a quick turn-around to their game on Tuesday against Portland and should expect much of the same defensive adjustments from Portland. Nonetheless, Spurs fans should enjoy this victory tonight and look forward to another highly entertaining series.
2014 NBA Playoffs: San Antonio Spurs