The San Antonio Spurs swept the Dallas Mavericks in a battle of the top two three-point shooting squads Thursday in Dallas with a 109-100 victory. The NBA’s best team from deep, San Antonio, drilled 16 of its 34 triples compared to the Mavs connecting on just 5-of-12.
The Spurs began the first and second half strong with 7-0 and 6-0 spurts (Danny Green hit three early threes and wound up 5-for-9 from deep, never shooting inside the arc). However, Dallas had a response almost every time and even took a six-point second-period lead due to a 6-0 run and a 10-0 run sandwiched around a Manu Ginobili jumper.
The Mavericks ultimately did not have enough defensive energy to disrupt San Antonio, who leads the league with 27.2 points per game during the fourth period. The Spurs had 26 at American Airlines Arena.
Also sixth in inside production, San Antonio scored 32 points in the paint on Dallas and got 35 points on the fast break. The Mavs, who were hurt by 15 offensive boards from the Spurs, were led by Monta Ellis with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki with 19.
San Antonio got 26 points from Patrick Mills during only his second start this season as well as big-time double-doubles from Tim Duncan (20 points and 15 rebounds) and Kawhi Leonard (16 points and 16 rebounds). The Spurs also improved to 24-0 when Tiago Splitter (12 points) registers double figures.
San Antonio took the first meeting of the year in Dallas 116-107. The Spurs also won in San Antonio with scores of 112-90 and 112-106 over the Mavericks, who may have to win out now to sneak into the playoffs.
Race For Western Conference’s 8th Spot
While Dallas would love to snatch the seventh seed, their latest defeat could hurt those aspirations with two contests remaining. The Mavs shouldn’t be too discouraged though, because if they’re able to get one more victory Dallas will likely punch a ticket to the postseason and get a scoring monster right off the bat.
The Mavericks average 104.9 points per game, but the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Spurs rock the rim for 107.7, 107.7, 106.3 and 105.4 points per game, respectively.
The main threat to pushing Dallas (48-32) to the eighth seed and facing San Antonio during the first round is the Phoenix Suns (47-31), who are no slouches either scoring 105.5 PPG.
The other threat to the Mavs not making the playoffs is the Memphis Grizzlies (46-32), who tally 95.7 PPG, and yield 94.5 PPG, which is the best defensive mark in the West and third in the NBA. Only the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers give up fewer points.
Luckily for Dallas, their destiny is in their hands. The Mavericks host Phoenix on Saturday and then visit Memphis Wednesday during a possible postseason play-in game. Conversely, the Grizz play two sub-.500 squads and get a road tilt at the Suns before clashing with Dallas.
Phoenix visits the Mavs, Spurs, and Sacramento Kings while hosting Memphis on Monday. The Grizzlies should be 48-32 heading into Monday’s fight with the Suns. Memphis owns the tiebreak over Phoenix while Dallas owns the tiebreak over the Grizz and the Mavericks/Suns winner Saturday will own the tiebreaker there. So we’ll just have to wait and see who gets left out of the playoffs.
San Antonio Awaits Familiar Foe in Western Conference 1st Round
The Spurs swept Dallas and Memphis this year during regular-season contests. San Antonio did however follow up their first loss to Phoenix during three 2013-14 meetings by winning a franchise-high 19 games in a row. The Spurs were trounced on Feb. 21 106-85 at US Airways Center.
San Antonio and the Suns reconvene Friday at the AT&T Center. Gregg Popovich may rest some of his stars (Tony Parker has missed the last two contests) so we likely won’t get to see how the Spurs and Suns, a possible first-round West series, match up at full strength.
During 2010 when San Antonio and the Suns last played in the playoffs, Phoenix swept the Spurs in the conference semifinals. San Antonio upset the 2nd-seeded Mavs during the first round in six games the last time they met.
The following year the top-seeded Spurs were stunned in six games by the 8th-seeded Grizzlies. San Antonio got revenge during the 2013 West Finals by sweeping Memphis before eventually falling to the Miami Heat in seven games.
No matter which opponent the Spurs face, San Antonio will be cautious to not overlook their opponent knowing all too well the fate of losing to an 8-seed. Ultimately though, it’s championship or bust for the Spurs, who are seeking a fifth ring in the Duncan era.
Tags: San Antonio Spurs