Mavs Knock Spurs Out of the Playoffs
At least there's no confusion about what the Spurs need to do this summer: get deeper. This team never bounced back from the loss of Manu Ginobili, as even huge games from Tim Duncan (30 points, eight boards) and Tony Parker (26 points, 12 assists) weren't enough to keep this game competitive.
Nobody else on this team even cracked double-digits. The Spurs used to feature a well-balanced attack, but that hasn't been the case all series.
(Before Spurs fans spend too much time wondering "what could have been," they should understand that even Ginobili wouldn't have made much of a difference against the red-hot Nuggets, who appear poised to join the Mavs in the second round. Denver is just too big and too deep. )
Of course, spending all this time talking about San Antonio's faults is a bit of a disservice to the Mavericks, who accepted the challenge of playing on the road by jumping out to an early lead and never trailing the entire game.
Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 31 points -- or one point more than he tallied in the previous two games combined. Josh Howard chipped in 17 and Jason Terry added 19 off the bench. Even Erick Dampier did his best to help counter Duncan with a double-double (11 points, 12 boards).
Here's a stat the Spurs can ponder all summer: both teams shot better than 50% from the field, but the Mavericks shot 50% from three-point land (hitting 10-20 from beyond the arc) while the Spurs hit just 18.8% (3-16). That's a difference of 21 points in a game San Antonio lost by 13. A couple of makes a few more free throws (the Spurs made just 12-19 from the stripe) and this game could have been closer.