Things are supposed to start like this.
And then the Spurs win and we all go home and resume celebrating Fiesta, right? That's what I signed up for anyway. Alright, let's do this.
That's a bad combination and that means you get your butt kicked, and that's what happened tonight.
Wait, what happened?
Spurs fans are called a lot of things but spoiled is often the most accurate. Four NBA titles and fifteen straight years of 50 plus wins will do that to a person. Then add in sweeps in the first round the last two years, coupled with 10 straight against their first round opponent, and fans start to daydream about opportunities not yet earned.
So when the Spurs struggle for two games in a row to the 8th seeded Mavericks, and lose badly in Game 2, it's natural for Spurs fans to panic. It's an uncomfortable feeling to be in a position that the team fought so hard for all season. 62 wins up in smoke, at least in this series, as Mark Cuban's minions came into the AT&T Center on Wednesday night and snatched home court advantage from the Spurs. Poof. Just like that. It's gone.
Flashes of Z Bo and the Memphis Grizzlies in 2011 and the Thunder sweep in 2012 and oh God no, here we go with the Game Six talk and how these guys have never recovered. Radio hosts across South Texas are googling "talking people off the ledge" in anticipation of the hand wringing and Armageddon predictions that will take place over the next few days.
And I can't say I necessarily blame everyone for this sudden shortness of breath.
Twenty-four turnovers and 18-29 shooting from the stripe will do that to a fan. The Spurs lost by 21 and were outscored on points off of turnovers by 23, making a fan panic. Tiago Splitter fumbled his way around the paint all night and Danny Green scored all of six points, matching the scoring output of Kawhi Leonard, making a couple of fans panic. Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon will make a fan panic. Freakin' Shawn Marion and Devin effin' Harris making fans panic. IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE A FAN PANIC SO LET'S PANIC.
But before you do, breathe into this paper bag and consider a few things:
- Manu Ginobili had 27 points in just under 23 minutes on Wednesday. Yes, he had six turnovers but his aggressiveness and offensive production in the first two games is encouraging. It's good to see extended flashes of the young Argentine Lion that once had his way, nightly.
- The Spurs shot 50% from beyond the arc.
- The Spurs can regain home court advantage with a win on Saturday. They set a franchise record with 30 road wins during the season. The Spurs can win on the road.
- Do you really think they'll have 24 turnovers again in a game in this series?
- Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion are racking up the minutes. Will their legs be there if this series gets to six games?
- The Mavericks took 30 more shots than the Spurs. 30. More. Shots.
- Gregg Popovich subtly, but staunchly, defended the performance of his players from the podium in his post-game remarks. If you don't think that sent a message to the team then you don't know the Spurs very well.