DALLAS, May 9 (AP) --
The San Antonio Spurs have just about wrapped up their lesson in Playoffs 101.
had 18 points and 14 rebounds and helped the Spurs open the second half with a 21-6 run as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 104-90 Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven second-round series.
| David Robinson scored 19 in the Spurs win.|
| NBA.com TV highlights: 28.8+ |
"I thought we stepped it up mentally in the second half," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "This is a really good group. They know what to do in those situations."
San Antonio was so balanced inside and out that Dallas never knew how to try stopping them. The Spurs' only deficit was 2-0 and their lead peaked at 28 early in the fourth quarter. They'll try finishing off the sweep Saturday.
The Mavericks, who haven't played this late in a season in 13 years, continued their slide into summer vacation with another horrendous shooting performance.
After shooting a franchise playoff-low 34.2 percent in Game 2, Dallas missed eight of its first nine shots and finished at 34.7 percent. The Mavs also tied their franchise playoff low of 11 points in a quarter, the third; they set that record in Game 1.
"This was probably the worst game we played all year," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "I didn't see it coming. It wasn't for lack of effort. We just couldn't get anything working."
Mavs leading playoff scorer Michael Finley
was 5-of-21, Steve Nash
was 4-of-12 and Dirk Nowitzki
was 5-of-15 for a team-best 15 points missing a morning shootaround with an upset stomach.
Some anger was jolted back into the series in the closing minutes when Dallas' Juwan Howard
committed another flagrant foul.
The play -- a takedown of Malik Rose
while he was airborne -- was a virtual repeat of the one against Derek Anderson
that separated his shoulder in Game 1 and has knocked him out for 3-6 weeks.
Howard immediately reached down to help up Rose. He then tried apologizing while Rose sat on the scorer's table, but was shoved away by Terry Porter
. Rose, who had six points, stayed in the game and made both free throws.
"I thought what happened was totally unnecessary," Popovich said. "We're tired of hearing 'I didn't mean it.' At that point in the game, that's not necessary."
The series likely came to an end at the start of the second half. Dallas had used a late second-quarter run to get within five, then Duncan scored the first five points of the third quarter and the rout was on.
After two dunks by Shawn Bradley
and a jumper by Dirk Nowitzki
, the Spurs went on an 11-0 run. They took the crowd out of it and left the Mavericks with scowls on their faces, shoulders slumped.
What made San Antonio's breakout so demoralizing for Dallas was that Duncan and David Robinson
were bit players.
, again playing solid in place of Anderson, hit two jumpers and a 3-pointer and made a sweet lob to set up Rose for a layup, and Danny Ferry
hit two straight 3-pointers.
During that same stretch, Finley put up a crazy layup after a nice steal, Bradley went crashing down after a missed hook shot and Calvin Booth
committed two fouls within 12 seconds -- nine seconds after the Mavs had taken a time out.
Nowitzki played only 29 minutes. He was sent to the locker room at the start of the fourth quarter and the Mavericks down 78-54.
"He's a very gutsy guy who wanted to play in this game in the worst way," Nelson said. "He made some shots, but he didn't have a lot of energy. He'll be better in a couple of days."
Eduardo Najera goes coast to coast and behind the back for the scoop:
984k avi |
Howard had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Greg Buckner
added 14 points and 12 rebounds in a reserve role.
Robinson had 19 points, nine from the line, and 14 rebounds. Sean Elliott
scored 17 and Daniels, who left in the fourth quarter with a sore right groin, had 13.
The Mavericks, who in the first round became the sixth team to win a five-game series after losing the first two, face even longer odds this time. No team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit in a seven-game series.
After a 53-win regular season and thrilling first-round upset of Utah, the Mavericks must win Saturday to avoid being swept. This is only their third three-game losing streak of the season.
Five of San Antonio's six playoff wins have been by at least 10 points. ... The Mavericks trailed 0-2 in two previous second-round series and won Game 3 at Reunion Arena each time -- 1984 and '86, both against the Lakers. ... This was only the third time in the last seven games against San Antonio that Dallas has reached 90 points.