SAN ANTONIO, May 9 (Ticker) -- The Dallas Mavericks changed their
starting lineup, changed the tempo and changed the complexion of
the Western Conference semifinals.
With Devin Harris satisfying a need for speed, the Mavericks
raced to a 113-91 victory over the San Antonio Spurs that evened
the series at one game each.
NBA TV highlights from Mavericks-Spurs:
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Josh Howard had 27 points and nine rebounds and Dirk Nowitzki
added 21 and nine for the fourth-seeded Mavericks, who needed
slightly more than three quarters to surpass their Game 1 total
as they unnerved the defending champions.
After giving in to the patient pace of the top-seeded Spurs in
Sunday's 87-85 loss in the opener, Mavericks coach Avery Johnson
inserted the speedy guard Harris in the lineup, replacing
swingman Adrian Griffin.
The move was a masterstroke as Harris helped contain Tony Parker
and accelerated the offense to a new gear the Spurs could not
match. Harris scored 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, most of them
after getting inside the defense.
"We thought we played a game pretty much our style," Mavericks
coach Avery Johnson said. "The pace of the game was a lot
better than the pace in Game One. A lot of that had to do with
Devin being out there."
"I found out at practice (Monday) that I would start," Harris
said. "We talked about the possibility of using me more in this
series. Avery told me that I would get into a rhythm after
that first series and that I would play more minutes as I get
more comfortable out there in this one. I was trying to get
more transition buckets tonight and get the game to our pace."
Another beneficiary was Howard, who clearly had some extra hop
in his step. He did all of his damage in the first three
quarters, making 7-of-17 shots and 11-of-11 free throws. The
Mavericks improved to 19-0 when Howard scores 20 or more points.
"We just wanted to cut down on our mistakes, get back to Mavs
basketball and that's running," Howard said. "It was a great
finish for us. Me, I was just the same old Josh. Whatever I can
do to help my team win, if that means score 20 points, if that
means get rebounds, then that is what I'll do."
Jerry Stackhouse also was a factor with 19 points off the bench
for Dallas, which improved to 3-1 on the road in the postseason
and returns home for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.
"We came out focused and tried to pick the tempo up a bit,"
Stackhouse said. "The last game played more to the Spurs'
likeness. Tonight the game and the numbers were more to our
liking. It was up to us to concentrate and worry about
ourselves and put pressure on them."
The Mavericks sped to a 7-1 lead that had Spurs coach
Gregg Popovich off the bench, drawing a technical foul. A jumper and
two driving dunks by Howard and a 3-pointer by Stackhouse built
the lead to 25-14 before the Spurs closed to 26-22 after one
The Spurs unraveled in the second period. Backup point guard
Nick Van Exel drew a pair of technicals for arguing and was
ejected as the more energetic Mavericks rebuilt the lead to
Compounding San Antonio's problems was its overreliance on
superstar Tim Duncan, who carried the offense in the first half,
just as he did in Game 1. When he sat down with his third
foul midway through the second quarter, he took the offense with
"That was the change in the game right there," Duncan said.
"That one quarter, that was the difference in the game. It all
compounded right there in the second quarter. We had too many
turnovers, and they got a lot of offensive rebounds and
outplayed us in the second quarter."
The Spurs were in a 43-32 hole when Duncan took his 16 points to
the bench. Without him, San Antonio missed its last 10 shots
of the first half and went to the locker room facing a 58-38
"Give the Mavs credit tonight," Popovich said. "They were
aggressive in the first half on the boards and on defense; their
transition was great. They basically burned us in the first
half. Dallas deserves credit."
The Spurs showed more determination in the third quarter but
never got closer than 15 points as Howard scored nine more
points. His 3-pointer rebuilt the lead to 84-64 late in the
"I enjoyed going to the basket," Howard said. "If they are going
to keep putting their bigs on us then we are going to keep
driving the lane on them."
A 3-pointer by Brent Barry cut the deficit to 94-80 with 7 1/2
minutes to play, but Harris drove for a bucket and sank two free
throws and a jumper. A 3-pointer by Nowitzki made it 103-82
with 4:35 to go.
"I just want to be efficient," Nowitzki said. "Like tonight I
had 20 points but I only took 11 shots. I need more efficient
games like that."
Jason Terry scored 11 points for Dallas, which shot 46 percent
(36-of-78), made 35-of-43 free throws and committed just six
"This game was more our style, up and down," Terry said. "Now
in Game 3 we have to continue to be aggressive and look for
more offense. Tonight we made a great adjustment and it paid
off for us big. We just have to play our system and get out and
Duncan had 28 points and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which
shot 45.5 percent (30-of-66) and committed 14 turnovers. Parker
scored 15 points and Manu Ginobili 13 but were outplayed by