The Spurs are a much better team than the Mavericks; it's just that simple. While the first half saw the Spurs and Mavs trade punches, the second half resulted in what could only be the outcome. The Spurs eventually dominated the Mavericks to win, 111-86.
Whenever the Spurs easily beat a team, I immediately wonder if their success would translate into a victory over a team that is athletic, long and physical. In other words, would this style of play defeat the Thunder or Heat? If the Spurs played as they did tonight, would it translate to a playoff win when it mattered most?
The answer? I'm not sure. The Spurs seemed to take control of the game with their patented ball movement. The Spurs' movement offense always seems to stagnate when fouled into submission. If the athletic, long and physical teams are allowed to foul without recourse, then this Spurs offense will not be able to execute.
However, in this win, the Spurs' Big Three all played well. Tim finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Manu ended with 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Tony concluded with 21 points, nine assists and five rebounds. The Spurs can beat the athletic, long and physical teams if all three of their big three show up.
I wish the entire league played us as physically as the Thunder and Heat do. Fair or not, the teams that the Spurs will struggle against in the playoffs all play the same style of defense. It's illegally legal, for some reason.
Unfortunately, the NBA's officials do not allow just anyone push the Spurs around. The Kings would be put into foul trouble if they attempted the same defensive physicality as the Heat. It's a shame because I think it would help the Spurs to face that defense the entire season.
The Spurs won by 25 points. Unsurprisingly, the Spurs beat the Mavericks by the exact amount of points that I predicted. I know you would love to jump into my mind, so you too could predict a perfect 25 point victory. Well, here you go. My thought process went like this. The Mavericks totally suck. Mark Cuban's head has definitely grown by a factor of 25. Thus, the Spurs will win by 25. Grizzlies, I await your call. My formula is full proof and that fool John Hollinger is a dolt.
Recently, the nicer version of our writing committee answered this question from Mavs Money Ball:
Why are you PTR people so mean to us Mavericks!?
Matthew Tynan: It's just a Spurs-Mavs rivalry thing. In all honesty, I think Spurs fans 'hatred' for the Mavs stems from a bit of an inferiority complex, not in terms of franchises (that would just be silly if you, ya know, count the rings :-)) but in terms of sports markets. The Spurs are all San Antonio has, so when Mark Cuban says bad things about the River Walk, oh buddy you'd better get your fightin' shoes on and make sure the laces are tied. Just as it is with any rivalry, any poking and prodding just exacerbates the animosity.
FARS: Well, first of all, -211.3. How dare you. The Mavericks are everything that is wrong with Texas. That's why we hate the Mavericks. Dallas gives the rest of the Texas nation a bad name and we refuse to be associated with that. I mean, the Cowboys, the Mavericks, even the Texans caught your losing virus. You bunch of losers. The Spurs are the single winning franchise in the great state and we do not appreciate Dallas' attempt to tarnish that. Mark Cuban needs to realize that he is also a small market team, just a poorly run one.
Dallas is not Miami, LA, Chicago or New York. Even if Dallas has a bigger ‘market' to pull from, the franchise players will never choose Dallas over the other options. Cuban is delusional, as the literal size of his head would suggest. Dallas will always be inferior to San Antonio, regardless of the Mavericks.
Your Three Stars
Manu Ginobili played an excellent game. As I wrote five games ago, the Spurs will need a healthy Manu to contend for the championship. He is showing signs of his former Manu-ness, but is still miles away. We need him to continue his progression. I believe he will.
Tim Duncan was his usual self. 18 points, 10 rebounds, no big deal. Tim is a double, double machine. My favorite thing about Tim is that if he wanted to, he could throw up a 20, 20 game every night. He just doesn't need to, yet.
Tony Parker scored 21 points and dished nine assists. Will this translate into the playoffs? I think it will. He just needs to keep hitting that midrange jumper. It that's falling, it will not matter how physical that defense plays. Tony can get that shot off regardless.