The San Antonio Spurs did just enough to grab a much needed road victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, wining by a final score of 93-89 and tying the series up a two game apiece. The Spurs got a spectacular contribution out of their bench as the trio of Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw and Patty Mills combined for 50 points alone.
Diaw was tremendous for San Antonio, knocking down big shot after big shot. But none was larger than his dagger to take a three point lead with just 32 seconds remaining in the game. After outscoring the Mavs 32-13 in the second quarter, the Spurs saw a 20 point third quarter lead dwindle down to a late game deficit, but they found a way to edge out the Mavs for a crucial Game Four triumph.
Ginobili lead the Spurs with 23 points on a night that saw six players reach double figures. As a team, San Antonio shot 45.6 percent from the floor while holding Dallas to just 38.1. However, other than field goal percentage, Dallas was able to win most categories across the board except for the most important one – points.
Much like Game Three, this game came down to who could make shots down the stretch and which team was able to score the last bucket before time expired. In this case, the buzzer ended up being the Mavericks worst enemy, putting an abrupt end to a furious comeback that fell just short.
Monta Ellis scored 20 points to lead the Mavericks, but was just 6-20 shooting. Dirk Nowitzki was able to score 19 points and grab seven rebounds, but also had an off shooting night at just 7-19 from the field. The real story for the Mavs, however, was the play of DuJuan Blair off of the bench. In just 16 minutes of action, Blair scored 12 points on 5-5 shooting and snatched 11 rebounds. The former Spur was the spark that Dallas needed to fuel their late run. Unfortunately for Rick Carlisle’s squad, Blair’s night would end much earlier than they had hoped.
With 3:08 to go in the fourth and up by a point, Blair got tangled up with center Spurs Tiago Splitter. They fell to the floor and Blair kicked Splitter in the head. After the officials reviewed the replay they made the decision to toss Blair from the ball game. While the kick did not seem to be malicious, it was still uncalled for.
It was a tough break for the Mavericks, who seemed to lose their momentum after the incident. Between the technical foul shot and the two common foul shots, the Mavs ultimately handed the Spurs three free points and it ended up costing them the ballgame.
Both teams played their hearts out yet again in what has been a must watch series. Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle have both made the appropriate adjustments from night to night and deserve immense amount of credit for the way that their teams have responded follow losses. Now it’s Carlisle’s turn again. With the series tied at 2-2, they will head back to San Antonio for Game Five on Wednesday night. Both teams will be desperate to take a an ever so important 3-2 series lead, as that advantage is usually lethal in a seven game series.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice Writer for the NBA