The San Antonio Spurs reminded everyone why they were the number one seed on Wednesday night with a 109-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks to grab a crucial 3-2 series lead. The Spurs managed to slow down the Dallas offense just enough in the second period and the Mavs could never quite recover.
In what was yet another hard fought game, San Antonio’s versatility and depth overwhelmed the Mavericks defense. Five Spurs had at least 15 points and as a team they shot over 46 percent from the field and 50 percent form beyond the arc. They also shot 27 free throws to the Spurs 15 while turning the ball over just five times.
Tony Parker, just hours after the birth of his first child, lead the way for San Antonio with 23 points, coming up large in the fourth quarter. Manu Ginobili was right behind him, having yet another solid game in this series with 19 points and five assists. Tiago Splitter and Tim Duncan had 17 and 16 points respectively while grabbing 12 rebounds each. The Spurs and their steady play never trailed the Mavs all night.
After being limited in the first four games of the series, Dirk Nowitzki was able to find his stroke. His 26 points on 50 percent shooting and 15 rebounds helped keep the Mavs hanging around all game. Game Three’s hero Vince Carter had another flashback this series and dropped 28 points in just 27 minutes. He connected on 10 of his 26 of his shots including 7-9 from downtown. Monta Ellis was able to score 21 points and dish out six assists, but it just wasn’t quite enough to knock off the feisty and unfazed Spurs, who scored a dominant 54 points in the paint.
Now with a 3-2 series lead, San Antonio has gone from being down 2-1 to being in the drivers seat for yet another postseason series victory. But with Game Six back in Dallas, it will be no easy task. Coach Rick Carlisle is one of the most underrated leaders in the league. And much like Popovich, he has a team full of experienced veterans that understand what it takes to win in the playoffs. They won’t shy away from the big moment and understand their individuality and where it places among a selfless team.
With that being said, teams that have won Game Five to take a 3-2 lead have gone on to win the series 142 out of the 171 times – an overwhelming 83 percent. While Game Six is back in Dallas, it is still going to be tough for the Mavericks to overcome those slim odds.
The Mavericks fighting chance would be to hope that Dirk’s big game is a sign of things to come. As he has shown in the past, he is more than capable of taking over a playoff series, or even an entire postseason for that matter. But whether or not he still has enough left in his tank remains to be seen. It will be up to Dirk to lead his team on Friday night for them to have a fighting chance in the series.
Commentary by Rich Peters
Guardian Liberty Voice NBA Writer