Playing approximately 36 hours after clinching their first-round
series on the road, the San Antonio Spurs made enough plays
down the stretch to hold off the well-rested Dallas Mavericks,
87-85, in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.
NBA TV highlights from Mavs-Spurs:
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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was not pleased with having to play
an afternoon game on Sunday after his team clinched its
first-round series on Friday night at Sacramento.
The Mavs had not played since completing a four-game sweep of
Memphis on Monday.
"It all depends on how you handle it," Popovich said. "Both
teams played well enough to win. We were fortunate to get
something to fall in the end. They couldn't get something to
fall. We were fortunate it went our way."
The lack of rest against too much rust theme was resolved in a
fourth quarter in which both teams looked tired and out of
Bowen made the biggest basket for the top-seeded Spurs, snapping
an 84-84 tie with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:14
The Mavericks missed their last six shots and made just 2-of-4
free throws in the final 3:28. After Josh Howard split a pair
of free throws to tie the game at 84-84, Stackhouse missed a
reverse layup and a 15-footer from the right side.
The Spurs broke the tie when Tony Parker drove the lane and
dished to Bowen, who drilled his go-ahead 3-pointer. That
turned out to be the last field goal of the game.
"During the timeout, Popovich told me to penetrate and either
they would foul me and put me on the free throw line, or Bruce
would be open in the corner for the three," Parker said. "Bruce
was open and he just made a great shot."
Manu Ginobili stole the ball from Dirk Nowitzki on Dallas'
ensuing possession, but missed a reverse layup. Ginobili had
another chance to increase San Antonio's three-point lead, but
missed a driving shot in the lane with 36.6 seconds left and
then fouled Erick Dampier.
A 59 percent free throw shooter, Dampier missed the first and
made the second to pull the Mavs within 87-85.
Ginobili missed again, hitting the front rim on a lefthanded
shot in the lane with 13.9 seconds left.
Mavs coach Avery Johnson called a timeout to set up a play and
watched in frustration as Stackhouse launched an off-balance
3-pointer from the left sideline as time expired.
"We were trying to get the ball to Dirk," Johnson said. "But if
Dirk gets the ball when he is 20 feet away from the basket, we
are supposed to have another option. And we just did a poor job
of getting the ball to the other option. We were going for the
two, and if we had nothing we knew we had a timeout. It's
nobody's fault. It's my fault."
Jason Terry took the inbounds pass and gave the ball to Nowitzki
- Dallas' leading scorer - on the right side. Bowen's primary
assignment in this series is to defend Nowitzi, who drove to his
left and passed across to Stackhouse. Ginobili deflected the
pass, but Stackhouse was able to grab the ball and appeared to
have an open 15-foot shot.
However, instead of shooting immediately, Stackhouse retreated
to the left corner for a fadeaway 3-pointer that barely grazed
"The last play was an isolation for Dirk but he got tangled up
and the play kind of got broken," Stackhouse said. "I ended up
with the ball in the corner and I had to collect it. When I did,
I wasn't sure how much time was left. Once I looked up there
was only about three seconds left, not enough time to set up
another play. So I just stepped back and tried to get a good
look for a three from the corner."
The miss spoiled an otherwise solid game for Stackhouse, who led
the Mavericks with 24 points off the bench.
Tim Duncan, who averaged 18.6 points in San Antonio's six-game
series victory over Sacramento, played like a two-time NBA MVP
with 31 points and 13 rebounds.
"Well, I really didn't do a whole lot in the last game (against
Sacramento)," Duncan said. " I might have played 30 or more
minutes, but we built ourselves a good lead and I didn't really
have to do that much. So maybe that's why I felt pretty good
Parker added 19 points and Ginobili finished with 15, but made
just 5-of-14 shots.
Nowitzki, who finished third in the NBA MVP voting for the
second consecutive year, scored 20 points on 8-of-20 shooting
and grabbed 14 rebounds. But just two of those points came in
the fourth quarter on 1-of-4 shooting.
"We played well enough to win the game but didn't," Nowitzki
said. "Both teams have athleticism on the perimeter. Both teams
have big guys who can step up. Ultimately, we're both playing
Howard scored 17 points and Terry added 14, but made just
This series matches the two top teams in the conference,
although the Mavs are the fourth seed. San Antonio won 63 games
and Dallas was second in the conference with 60 wins, but the
Mavs were delegated behind the two other division winners who
were automatically awarded the second and third seeds.
Game 2 is here on Tuesday, where the Spurs are 38-7, including
The series opener featured 12 lead changes and 10 ties.
San Antonio scored the first five points on a shot from the arc
by Robert Horry and a layup by Parker. Johnson called a timeout
1:13 into the game to berate his team and the Mavs responded,
taking a 29-26 lead at the end of the first quarter and
increasing the advantage to 52-46 at halftime.
Duncan scored 20 of his points on 8-of-14 shooting in the first
half to keep the Spurs within striking distance.
A driving bank shot in the lane by Howard gave Dallas its
biggest lead at 54-46 just 1:22 into the second half.
But the Spurs scored the next eight points to tie the game as
Parker hit a 3-pointer and bank shot in the lane.