Dallas (38-44) and San Antonio (22-60) treated the Sunday afternoon audience to sustained periods of unabated bucket-getting. The visiting Spurs took the lead on the strength of a 42-14 first quarter and we’re never challenged afterwards. In the absence of the teams’ star power, it was San Antonio’s young contributors who made more shots (49% to 43%) and collected more rebounds (69-46) in the win. Sandro Mamukelashvili, Malaki Branham, and Dominick Barlow stamped their footprint on the final game of the team’s second worst regular season, barely edging the 1988-89 crew that went 21-61.
Dallas did themselves no favors by starting the game 3-for-19, and San Antonio ran out with a four touchdown advantage after one quarter 42-14 - netting the Spurs their largest first-quarter lead in franchise history. A 45-point second period by the Mavericks helped carve a sizable chunk of the deficit away behind hot shooting from Davis Bertans and Jaden Hardy. After Bertans, Hardy, and Theo Pinson tried to forge a comeback for Dallas in the third, San Antonio’s wave of contributors turned the Mavs back and rode out the second half with enough margin to close out an encouraging victory.
The Spurs resumed their onslaught in the fourth with enthralling moments of high-level offensive execution and getting just enough stops to clinch the victory with time to spare. Blake Wesley, Mamukelashvili, and Dominick Barlow stood out most in the last quarter of the season.
San Antonio ended its season with its customary scoresheet balance led by Mamukelasvhili (23 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists), MBranham (20 points and 3 rebounds) and Barlow (21 point and 19 rebounds. These other Spurs hit double digits in the blowout victory: Keita Bates-Diop (17 points and 6 rebounds), Julian Champagnie (16 points and 10 rebounds), Gorgui Dieng (13 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists), Tre Jones (13 points and 8 assists), and Blake Wesley (10 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds).
Dallas, without superstars Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving along with key offseason signee Christian Wood, was paced by Hardy (25 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds) and former Spur Bertans (19 points, 7 assists, and 2 blocks). The Mavericks also received a career first triple-double from Pinson (15 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists) in the loss.
- I mean, you have to like the direction this franchise is taking as opposed to the one at the north end of I-35, right?
- Sean Elliott wistfully shared “our guys are gonna have to make their own energy in this one” early in first period action - AND YOU BET THEY DID (for at least a half)!
- Spurs commercials that we’ll miss in the offseason: Where did all the HEB/Spurs collaborations go? Also, my spouse will miss the 444-4444 ones.
- Sequence of the Game #1: Barlow turned back a Mavs’ attempt at the rim, and several Spurs’ hands touched the ball at the other end until Dieng uncorked a vicious stepback baseline jumper to make it a 24-7 game.
- Sequence of the Game That Didn’t Happen: Late in the third, as Dieng backed a helpless defender into the paint, he flipped an over the shoulder biscuit to Bates-Diop, which would have surely resulted in a score, that he couldn’t hold onto.
- Sequence of the Game #2: At the end of the third stanza, Wesley took a rebound and exploded downcourt without a discernible plan; then somehow delivered the perfect pocket pass to Barlow for an and-1. On the next possession, Mamu then found a cutting Wesley with an open runway for a tomehawk jam.
- Defensive Sequence of the Game #1: Midway through the opening stanza, Keita Bates-Diop hounded Davis Bertans from the three-point arc all the way past halfcourt, which forced Bertans to leave a halfcourt desperation heave about 12 feet short.
- Markieff Morris missed his first three shots and all was right with the world.
- Dieng is a pure joy to watch on and off the court.
- Dominick’s Doings: Late in the first, he received a pass deep and willed home an acrobatic lay-up - which didn’t seem all that possible when he first joined the San Antonio rotation. He showed off a baseline post move that would’ve made Tim Duncan proud late in the first half - earning a score late in the shot-clock.
- Mamu Tres: 1) HIS SHOOTING - Sean Elliott said “Every one he takes, you think it’s going in” after Sandro’s nice three at the start of the second quarter. 2) HIS PASSING - he deftly found a streaking Julian Champagnie in the second for an and-1., 3) THE SMOOTHNESS - His upfake, after hitting some outside shots, has the potential to set-up his teammates on the drive-and-kick or the direct path to the basket.
- Wolves center sucker-punched former Spur Kyle Anderson in the middle of the last game of their regular season.
- Branham’s two threes started a cavalcade of Spurs’ scoring after the tip. Two Barlow blocks made the Mavericks think twice about attacking the paint as their outside shoots clanged off the rim. Dieng had his own six point outburst. A pull-up three by Wesley made it 33-9, and Dallas didn’t hit double-digits until 90 seconds remained. Romeo Langford’s and-1 pushed the Spurs up 26. Wesley answered a Mavs bucket with a soaring one-legged three to end the quarter at 42-14.
- As the game devolved into a track meet, Hardy and Bertans scored often for Dallas to start the second period to slightly dent their deficit. Aside from some Jones and Branham buckets, the easy looks and the shooting touch eluded the Spurs starting halfway through the frame, and the Mavericks seized the opportunity especially with Bertans unloading from anywhere on the court to huge success. A Hardy putback brought them within 12 and the tired teams went into the break with San Antonio ahead 71-59.
- Aside from a Champagnie three from the wing and free throws, Hardy and Pinson led a Dallas run to dangerously bring them within seven. A mechanical, yet useful and-1 followed by a smooth corner three by Bates-Diop kept San Antonio comfortably ahead. A tip-dunk by Barlow made it 98-78 Spurs and the visitors exited the third up by 17.
- In the final quarter of meaningful basketball for the next 6+ months, a sequence where Mamu picked up a deflected ball, spun through several Mavs defenders to find an open Wesley in the corner, who re-directed it in mid-air to an open Barlow for a lay-up acted as a final exam of sorts for these youngsters. And then, of course, Wesley lost his handle on the next possession. For “extra credit,” Wesley drove it into the teeth of the defense, and found a cutting Barlow around arms and legs for another and-1.
- The announcing tandem of Land and Elliott spent the final moments cheering on the potential for Barlow to pick up his 20th rebound, which didn’t happen. Mamu missed a three that was in the vicinity of Barlow, but Dallas walked off with the rebound.
For the Mavericks fan’s perspective, please visit Mavs Moneyball.
Once again, it’s been an honor and pleasure to do the Final Scores and Recaps this season for the Pounder Family. Hoping for a productive and fortunate summer for all of us!