Were it for not a last second Jeremy Evans layup, Dallas would have suffered their first 30-point loss of the season. As it stands, they managed to lose by just 29. Crisis averted. On a more ominous note since avoiding a 30-point loss is so comforting, the team slipped to 23-19 and into a tie with the Grizzles for the fifth spot in the West. The Rockets also gained some ground with a win against the Lakers. In other words, the Mavericks just moved a little closer to having to face the team they just got destroyed by in the first round of the playoffs.
It’s still too early to start plotting playoff matchups, though; we’re only a little over halfway there, after all. So let’s focus on this game first, shall we? Let’s start with what went well. Now that we’ve exhausted that subject, time to talk about what didn’t go so well: everything.
In fact, the Mavericks looked and played exactly like you’d expect a road team to look and play against the Spurs. After playing them so tightly the first matchup of the season back around Thanksgiving, it was disappointing to see such major regression. After all, Dallas is a healthier team now, and they put up a hell of a fight against the Cavs, who are very nearly in the same league as San Antonio.
Just as they did when they played Cleveland, they committed costly turnovers at the worst possible moments. Although they finished with just 13 turnovers (their season average), the Spurs did almost twice as well when it came to protecting the ball, and any miscues against a team like this spells doom. San Antonio also out-shot the Mavs with ease, and that even takes into consideration the fact that they left the first quarter hitting on less than 23 percent from the field.
The real killer was LaMarcus Aldridge. At a time when his team was struggling to gain traction offensively, Aldridge emerged to save the day, and the Mavs had no answer. From the last two minutes of the second quarter to the halfway mark of the third quarter, the Spurs as a team scored 24 points. Aldridge had 19 of them. By the time his run ended, San Antonio had a 15-point lead, and Dallas would get no closer the rest of the way.
Doesn’t it figure that when the Mavericks hold the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, and Tony Parker to a combined 26 points, someone else on their team steps up and plays the hero? This is a perfect example of the Spurs’ ridiculous depth. Even their second unit is good, something that was clear to see as they wiped the floor with the Mavericks’ second unit in the final quarter.
On the plus side, blowouts mean some playing time for the guys that don’t get to play when Rick Carlisle expects to win. To be honest, though, Rick didn’t stick around to decide on personnel; he checked himself out early in the fourth quarter.
I love that his response to getting the technical was to approach half court and sarcastically cheer the referee’s performance. Arguably even better is that he starts walking away toward the locker room before the official even makes the call to eject him. You can’t blame Rick for being done with this one.
There was little to enjoy as a Mavericks fan. Dwight Powell led all Mavs with 15 points and finally knocked down a couple of three-pointers after several failed attempts, so there’s that. Jeremy Evans also had a nice couple of plays, slamming down a very athletic-looking dunk and even blocking a shot from Spurs’ fan favorite Boban Marjanovic, a 7-foot-3 monstrosity that hopefully turns into a regular contributor some day.
That said, the refs were more than justified to hit him with a technical after this dunk and subsequent stare down on Evans, who didn’t seem to have rubbed it in at all on the previous play when he’d blocked the big Serbian bastard’s shot.
What the hell, Boban? Surely your giant Serbian mother and father taught you not to be an asshole to a guy who didn’t appear to have done anything to deserve it, especially in a lopsided blowout with your team up?
This was a horrible game, and I’m done writing about it now.