Remember the Alamo, no remember Game 2
No. 2 Dallas Mavericks (1-1) at No. 7 San Antonio Spurs (1-1)
Friday night, you're sure to hear chants of, "Remember Game 2!" At least that's what will be coming from the Dallas Mavericks' sideline, as they travel to match up with the San Antonio Spurs in the third meeting of an all-Texas opening round playoff series.
The Mavericks enter the Alamo City not focused on touring the site of one of the great battles in the Lone Star State's quest for independence. Instead, the squad will walk into the AT&T Center focus on retribution, after fighting a losing battle of their own just two nights before.
After claiming a 100-94 win on their home floor in Game 1, the Mavs looked for a controlling 2-0 advantage in the series on Wednesday night. But the Tim Duncan-led Spurs popped Dallas' bubble, handing the hometown Mavericks a 102-88 defeat on the American Airlines Center floor and knotting the series at 1-1. The loss is what fuels the Southwest Division champion Mavs now, as the schedule swings to San Antonio's turf. Revenge is a cold dish the Mavericks would like to greet the Spurs with Friday night.
"We wanted to win (Game 2) and it didn't happen. And now we've got to put all of our energy and our focus into Game 3," Mavs sixth man Jason Terry said.
If the Mavericks want to be victorious in the third game of the best-of-seven series, then a better start would certainly help. The team from Big D surrendered the first nine points of the night to the Spurs, while the Mavs also shot just 6-of-22 from the field in the first quarter. Making matters worse, leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki took an unexpected early trip to the bench after picking up two fouls from the onset.
"They scored, Dirk had two fouls and we were digging ourselves out of a hole from there going forward," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "In the playoffs, you have to be very precise. You are going to make mistakes, but to start the game was a really tough situation for us."
"We knew we had our hands full from the get-go," Nowitzki said.
That situation only got tougher as the night progressed, as the Spurs' versatile forward, Richard Jefferson, gave the Dallas defense fits. Jefferson's 19 points (17 in the first half) was a perfect compliment to San Antonio's "Big Three" of Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker.
"Jefferson is a hell of a player. He has had some big games against a lot of teams, including us, this year. I am not shocked, he is very capable," Carlisle said.
But it was Duncan's 25-point, 17-rebound night that may have impacted the game most. The perennial All-Star and future Hall of Famer helped his team dominate the glass to the tune of a 51-42 rebounding edge and a 23-9 advantage in second-chance points. Those are two categories Carlisle says the Mavs must win if they hope to eventually capture the series.
"To me, the stat that sticks out to me the most is rebounding, 51-42," the coach said. "The second-chance points, 23-9. That is a huge discrepancy. And look, when the ball is in the air, it is anybody's ball, and they came up with all of those plays. They got the loose balls and they were more opportunistic."
"We just have to look at (Game 2), see what we did wrong and go from there," point guard Jason Kidd said. "We didn't rebound the ball well and we gave up second opportunities."
Now the Mavericks will try to match the Spurs' energy level on the glass, while also drawing from their regular season success on the road, when the Mavs captured the most road wins in the NBA with 27.
"They're not going to give us anything. We're going to have to battle and take it...The good thing is we won big road games all season long," Nowitzki said.
The Mavs try to claim their first road victory of the postseason Friday night. Game 3 will air nationally on ESPN and locally on KTXA and KTXA HD at 8:30 p.m. CT.
NOTE: Game 4 will air nationally on TNT and locally on KTXA and KTXA HD at 6 p.m. CT Sunday evening.
Then the series swings back up to Dallas for Game 5, which will air locally on KTXA and KTXA HD at a time not yet announced. Reserve your tickets by calling (214) 747-MAVS.
Note: The Mavs-Spurs First Round series schedule is as follows:
Game 3 – Fri April 23 Dallas at San Antonio 8:30PM TXA21/ ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 25 Dallas at San Antonio 6:00PM TXA21/ TNT
Game 5 * Tue April 27 San Antonio at Dallas TBD TXA21/ TBD
Game 6 * Thu April 29 Dallas at San Antonio TBD TXA21/ TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 1 San Antonio at Dallas TBD TXA21/ TNT
Mavs.com has introduces a new, interactive webcast entitled "Technical Foul," hosted by Mavs television broadcasters Mark Followill and Bob Ortegel. The second live-streamed broadcast will be Monday, April 26 at 12:30 p.m. CT, recapping Game 1 and previewing Game 2 of the series. Earl K. Sneed will also talk with fans and answer questions via a live chat during the show. Tune in for exclusive Mavs talk with the people that know the team the best.