Game 6 Preview: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs

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Yes, please, more knocking Barea on his ass.

For Dallas, it's win or go home. For us, it's win or . . . go to Dallas. Ew. Honestly, I think we have more to lose in that scenario.

Losing is hard on the gentle souls at PtR. The pressure-cooker atmosphere of the postseason merely compounds the injury. Why, even I, generally so mild and conciliatory in manner, have been known to become brusque and sarcastic following a Spurs defeat in the playoffs.

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Well, I'm just going to say this. People (and basketball teams) handle adversity in different ways. Lots of different ways. And there are any number of constructive ways to deal with adversity. There are also any number of stupid, destructive ways to react to adversity. You can tell a lot about a basketball team (and a person) by the way they handle disappointment and setbacks. Good teams tend to channel that disappointment into honest appraisal, renewed focus, and determination. Bad teams tend to lash out, apportion blame, and show their weaknesses.

So . . . we're all Spurs fans, right?

Yeah, so, back to pounding that rock.

I've made a few changes to our usual preview template to reflect the fact that we're in the postseason, and postseason ball ain't regular season ball. Peruse and discuss, my darlings.

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Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs [Game 6]
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: April 29, 2010; 7:00 PM Spurs time
Watch: TNT

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How They Stack Up
50-32 Season Record 55-27
POSTSEASON
92.6
Offense 94.0
95.2 Defense 92.8
45.6 FG% 42.7
31.8
3-pt% 34.4
72.9
FT% 79.2
41.6
Rebounds 44.6
13.4
TOs 13.0
17.2
APG 19
6.0
SPG 8.2
3.0 BPG 5.2

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 9:00 PM
West Coast
5:00 PM
Philippines 8:00 AM
Central Europe 2:00 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:00 AM
East Coast 8:00 PM
Mountains
6:00 PM
Perth, AUS 8:00 AM
Tokyo, JP 8:00 AM
Sydney, AUS 10:00 AM

Spurs
(3-2)
Matchups

Mavericks
(2-3)

George Hill

Point Guard

After going all supernova on us in Game 4, Cubits came back to earth. He turned in one of the few decent Spurs performances of the night, but sat for a lot of the second half once Pop realized the inevitability of a Game 6.

Kidd seemed to regain his footing a bit, and he was able to successfully post up at times, although the Mavs have got to be still hoping for more production from him. He too spent a nice chunk of the second half on the bench.

Advantage: Spurs


Jason Kidd

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Manu Ginobili

Shooting Guard

Rick Carlisle was absolutely eviscerated by basketball scribes for benching Caron Butler in Game 3 and giving him limited minutes in Game 4. Looks like Butler got the message, though, turning in the best playoff performance of his career. He had a hell of a game on Tuesday. Shut. Him. Down.

Manu said it himself--"I played like crap." Being Manu Ginobili, he made no excuses, although he certainly has any number of good reasons at his disposal. You know Pop will be watching him carefully tonight from the get-go. One of the main reasons we need to win this game is to buy a little rest and healing time for the Man With No Swagger.

Advantage: None


Caron Butler

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Richard Jefferson

Small Forward

Time to see some of that aggressiveness, RJ! We need it now more than ever. Show us you know what it means to close out a series. Come out strong, play smart. Shawn Marion may not "see no fat lady," but it's your job to make certain he hears her tonight.

And although Shawn Marion has been quiet on court so far, I'm worried about him. As part of the Suns team that came back from a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs, he's confident that it can be done. And he's due.

Advantage: None


Shawn Marion

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Tim Duncan

Power Forward

The rap on Dirk is that he's soft. Lacks that fabled "mental toughness." In potential elimination games, Nowitzki has averaged 28.3 points and 12.2 rebounds. So . . . yeah. We should all be so soft.

This is just a hunch. Total hunch. Tim Duncan will not be on the court tonight. We will be seeing Playoff Timmy. You may remember him from Game 2. Playoff Timmy is going to have a big night tonight. Playoff Timmy is going to get this win.

Advantage: Tied


Dirk Nowitzki

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Antonio McDyess

Center

Antonio McDyess: he's no Rasheed Wallace. Thank Christ.

Brendan Haywood was a decided improvement over Dampier as a starting center. That's not saying much, considering Dampier has done exactly nothing in this series. So maybe I should put it this way--Haywood was really, really good on Tuesday. Our advantage at this position has disappeared. We have some big time adjustments to make.

Advantage: None


Brendan Haywood

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Tony Parker

Bench & Role Players

Early foul trouble left DeJuan Blair flustered and largely ineffective in Game 5, but let's not forget that only two games prior he was being lauded for earning his playoff stripes. Let's hope he gets a lift from the home crowd and comes out in grizzly mode. Paging Matt Bonner . . . paging Matt Bonner . . . could Mr. Bonner please report TO THE FREAKING PLAYOFFS?

I'll still take our bench over theirs--I mean, please. We have Tony Parker coming off our bench. Terry can do his little airplane thing all he likes; it's never going to be worth more than 12 points. 15 max. Oh god I hope I don't regret saying that in public.

Advantage: Spurs


Jason Terry

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Gregg Popovich

Coach

Pop has said time and time again that it's hard to close out a series. He's also said he doesn't need to give this team a pep talk--"they're grown men." Pop has the team he wants. Now he's going to leave it up to them to win this game.

So I was reading about this Carlisle guy, and apparently he coached the Pistons back from a 3-1 deficit to win a first-round series against the Magic. That was 2003. This is now, Ponyboy.

Advantage: Spurs


Rick Carlisle

images via yahoo.com

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Winner:

Just win, baby.

Keys To The Game

  • Pop--There are a number of guys at the end of our bench who don't have much game experience this season from which to draw, and now would not seem to be the time to start giving them significant minutes. But that leaves us with a burning question--what does Pop do? How does he make the most of our 8-man rotation without playing some of his veterans into the ground?
  • Fundamentals--As in limiting fouls and turnovers. As in taking better care of the ball. As in taking, and making, high percentage shots. As in the Big Fundamental. Srsly, guys.
  • There's no place like home--This crowd needs to be on its feet and screaming its head off from tip-off. Energy, that's the point. Energy, urgency, passion.

Last Time They Met

Please. Let us not speak of this matter again.

Some Other Reading

Mavericks

Mavs Moneyball - The SBNation home of the Mavericks. They played nice with us last year during the playoffs, so go say hi, but please don't be trollish.
The Two Man Game - The TrueHoop blog for Dallas. 48MoH quotes and links them pretty often, so it can't be all that bad. Some good analysis can be found here.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is still going strong, "pounding" out some of the best analysis there is on our beloved Spurs.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired nationwide on TNT. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to poundingtherockmail@yahoo.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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