In the regular season finale, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Dallas Mavericks 96-91 with a lineup largely consisting of second-unit players.
The Spurs were without Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Manu Ginobili for this game, putting the onus on their reserves to end the regular season on a high note.
The Spurs went on a 9-2 run midway through the first quarter as the Mavericks played sloppy basketball to start off, shooting the ball poorly and committing a handful of early turnovers.
Raymond Felton provided spark off the bench, leading the Mavericks on a 13-2 run of their own to end the quarter. Zaza Pachulia was especially active rebounding the ball, particularly on the offensive end.
The Spurs struggled shooting the 3 in the opening quarter, and combined with a drastic rebounding disparity lead by Pachulia, the Mavericks were able to take a 27-20 lead after the opening quarter. Felton hit a buzzer-beater to extend the Mavericks’ lead.
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After a lengthy absence, Boris Diaw made his return from injury for this game. The Spurs had missed his playmaking skills during his recovery time.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, were dealt a blow when David Lee left this game with an injured foot. His availability for the playoffs will be determined.
The Mavericks went on a scoring drought to open the 2nd quarter until Wesley Matthews’ 3 pointer nearly 5 minutes in. In yet another quarter hampered by a shaky start, the Mavericks went on an impressive 14-2 run to grow the lead to double digits.
In extended playing time, regular Spurs reserves like Boban Marjanovic, Kyle Anderson, and Jonathon Simmons made important contributions. Marjanovic’s solid play continued to feed the hype that he’s a big part of the Spurs’ future plans.
Felton lead the Mavericks in scoring despite coming off the bench, including another buzzer-beater at the end of the 2nd quarter. This one was a 3 pointer to give the Mavericks a comfortable 52-34 lead at halftime. The shorthanded Spurs shoot poorly and turned the ball over far too often in the first half.
The Spurs opened the 3rd quarter with a couple 3 pointers from Matt Bonner. They proceeded to go on a 18-4 run to get back in the game. Marjanovic had a great quarter, leading the charge for the Spurs along with Simmons. The Spurs scored more than twice the Mavericks’ 3rd quarter point total, and the score was 67-65 Mavericks entering the 4th quarter.
The Spurs had a strong advantage in points in the paint, but still found themselves trailing late in the game.
The Spurs wrestled away the lead from the Mavericks and were up by a point with less than 5 minutes remaining. Simmons hit some big shots for the Spurs down the stretch, securing his career high point total. Dirk Nowitzki was called for a technical foul at a critical juncture, but Danny Green couldn’t capitalize on the ensuing free throw. However, Marjanovic hit both his free throws from the foul that was originally awarded to him.
Deron Williams hit a 3 pointer with just 18 seconds remaining to put the Mavericks within 2 points. Kevin Martin made both his free throws the next possession to extend the lead back to 4.
Matthews answered right back with a 3 pointer, cutting the lead to 1 with 8 seconds left.
Andre Miller was promptly fouled on the next possession and made both free throws. The Mavericks had 7 seconds to try to get a 3 pointer off to send this game into overtime. Felton tried to hit his 3rd buzzer beater of the game, but couldn’t get it to fall. Anderson grabbed the rebound and hit his free throws to clinch the win for the Spurs.
Despite being without key players, their reserves rose to the occasion. Marjanovic tied with Felton for a game-high 22 points while also adding 12 rebounds. Anderson had 15 points, 10 rebounds, 5 steals, and 4 assists. Simmons had 19 points to go along with his 7 rebounds.