Easily the grittiest, toughest game the Spurs have played all year. Not a single player in the Big 3 had a good, much less great, offensive game. This game was won with a combination of the role players and team tenacity. If you can't believe in this team now, well, I can't help you.
In a game the Mavericks absolutlely had to have, the Spurs just smacked them down 92-89. With a 3-1 series lead, the Spurs have the Mavericks on the ropes and the Mavs will be lucky to find anything good from this loss.
The Off 3
In the series previews, somebody commented that the Big 3 would have to score 25 points each per game for us to win. Welllllllllllll...Let me run some stats passed you.
- 26.5%: 9-34 from the field, I'm not sure whether to highlight Tim's 1-9 or Manu's 4-16.
- 8 TO: Of the team's 12. Tony led the effort here with 5.
- 0 Blocked shots: But they were blocked 4 times.
- 1-7 3PT: All Manu
- -3 in +/-: Manu was a team worst -12. The oddity of this is that Matt Bonner with a -1 in 8+ minutes was the only other Spur in the negatives. It's not like Manu was out there by himself when the Mavs went on a run. It's not like he was the only one on the bench when the Spurs went on a run. Truly an anomaly.
You know, you have to hate the internet sometimes. As in, sometimes if you are Kelly Dwyer. Do you remember this nugget from Februay 1st? George Hill continues to be overrated. I remember it because I also agree that George is overrated. Primarily because I rate him as the greatest player of all-time. He was merely sensational tonight.
George was the best player on the court. I don't really think this is up for debate. He shot great. He created his own shot. He played fantastic defense. About the only thing he didn't do was create for others. Still, George's game-high 29 points on 11-16 shooting and 5-6 from 3-point (he hit 5 of the Spurs 6 3's) were beyond huge. Massive even.
George was deadly on the corner 3. Every time he shot it, I knew it was going in. He even hit one just after a loose ball foul. George had other parts of his offensive game going as well. There were times during the third quarter where Pop seemed to be calling high-screen and roll plays specifically for George to attack Kidd. He hit floaters. He hit pull-ups. He was in control. He also logged an amazing 44:37. Manu played just under 34 minutes and Tony just over 27. George was so valuable on the court that he was stealing their minutes.
Rage, Beast, and Sam
The Spurs also got great contributions from three other guys.
Rage continues his solid play. His 15 points on 6-9 shooting was big. He's really starting to play off the other guys. He had a nice backdoor cut late in the game where Tim fed him for a dunk. However, one play really stood out for me. In fact, I'd call it the play of the game.
Late in the second quarter, the Mavs were ROLLING. Things were getting really, really ugly. The kind of ugly where you turn off the game and go clip your toe nails. The Mavs were up 15, on 23-4 run, and were out on a fast break again. Jason Terry attacked George Hill and RJ came from behind and swatted the shot (the play-by-play has George with the block, so I might be mistaken). Tony picked it up and the Spurs raced out on the break and Rage ended it with a dunk.
Rage then blocked a layup by Haywood and ran down court and got a layup.
Back to back plays that sparked a mini-run to end the quarter. Sure, we were still down 11, but it brought the team and the crowd back to life.
The young whippersnapper DeJuan had his first impact in the playoffs. With 3:13 left in the third quarter, DeJuan came in for Tim with the game tied at 57. DeJuan would leave the game with 7 points and 7 rebounds in just under 12 minutes. He also picked up a flagrant foul (I didn't think it was that bad of a foul), got Dirk to swing an elbow at him that landed Dirk a technical, played really good defense, and wreaked havoc of the offensive boards.
San Antonio McDyess had a HUGE game for somebody who only scored 10 points. 5-9 shooting and 8 rebounds is solid. But the bulk of 35 minutes were played forcing the ball out of Dirk's hands. SAM realy worked his tail off on the defensive end.
It's Called A Team
However, it was team defense. For the third quarter, and the first part of the fourth quarter (the Mavs scored 12 points in the first 7 minutes of it), the Spurs ground them up defensively. Calling their rotations crisp would be an understatement. They attacked them defensively. I really can't describe it. It was one awesome display of team defense.
We're up 3-1, but I'm not relaxed. We still need to go out and play another great game. Maybe even 2. However, if I am the Mavs, I don't know what I can take solace in. They lost game 3 without the Spurs making a 3-pointer. The lost game 4 when the Spurs big 3 laid an egg offensively. Tim and Manu combined to shoot 5-24. I don't see that happening again. They can't either.