Dallas Mavericks 107, San Antonio Spurs 102

Posted by Rob Mahoney on March 5, 2009 under Recaps | 3 Comments to Read

Photo by Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images.

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“We live in the present, we dream of the future and we learn eternal truths from the past.”
-Madame Chiang Kai-Shek

It wasn’t a blow-out, but that was some kind of victory.  Err, at least I think it was.

Again, my duties as a full-time blogger and part-time intramural basketballer came into direct conflict, and the final IM game of the season prevented me from watching the second half.  By now, you guys know the drill: fill in the blanks.  What did the Mavs do to lockdown Roger Mason in the 2nd?  It looks like Dampier played some swell defense on Duncan, but does the box score deceive me?  What on earth got into Josh Howard?

Here are my thoughts from the footage of the game that I did actually see:

It wouldn’t be right if I started with anyone but Josh Howard (29 points, 10-15 FG, 4-5 3FG, 7 rebounds).  He was grimacing notably in the first half as he trotted up and down the court, but his bum ankle didn’t prevent him from being assertive with his moves or consistent with his shooting stroke.  Just the fact that he played sent a message, and going off for 12 straight Maverick points in the first quarter blared that message through a megaphone.  The new-old Josh isn’t having a ‘coming-out party,’ (he’s been playing active, focused basketball for a few games now), but it’s good to reap the benefits of a flashback Josh performance against our old friends the Spurs.

Erick Dampier (9 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks) really does a great job of playing Tim Duncan (19 points, 7-21 FG, -10 [+/-]) on a regular basis.  A team as thin up front as the Mavs is never going to come close to shackling Duncan, but going back to 2006 Damp’s efforts have been admirable.  Sometimes it looks like he’s not aggressive, but in truth, Damp employs a combination of solid fundamental defense, brute strength, and a conscious desire to avoid putting Duncan on the foul line.  Dampier finished with 4 blocks for the night, and though the defense didn’t pick up until after the first quarter, it was a great effort…from my understanding.

Roger Mason.  My goodness.  There was a point in the first half where I wasn’t worried about Tim Duncan or Tony Parker, but how on earth the Mavs were going to stop the pick-and-pop with Kurt Thomas and Roger Mason.  I wish I were kidding.  Dirk, Brandon Bass, and Jason Terry were all doing a miserable job on that front defensively, and Mason and Thomas just would not miss their midrange looks.  Credit to Rick Carlisle; the defensive execution improved dramatically out of seemingly every timeout.  The rotations improved, screens were hedged, and all seemed right with the world.  That said, I’d like to see a better defensive effort from Jason Terry.  The way Roger Mason used and abused him in the first 2 quarters is inexcusable, and if that’s the way he’s going to play Manu Ginobili, we wouldn’t stand a chance.

Thank you, Jason Kidd.  We all know that you’re not going to stop Tony Parker, and you probably won’t even come close.  But if you can produce like you did last night against the better point guards of the league (17 points, 6-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 9 assists, 7 rebounds), the effects of your counterpart’s production are softened.  Parker did score 37 points, but that 37 points is less meaningful than if Kidd had another 6-4-5 night.

GOLD STAR OF THE NIGHT: The Gold Star of the Night goes to…Dirk Nowitzki?  Erick Dampier?  Jason Kidd?  Josh Howard?  Rick Carlisle?  Aww hell, this one goes to everyone.  A great team effort to pull out a close win against a good Spurs team, and a great momentum-builder going into New Orleans tonight.

  • Brian D

    Great game, and always nice to beat the Spurs. In answer to your questions, the Mavs rotation on the three-pointers (especially those Mason was taking) improved dramatically as the game went on. I don’t think he got any uncontested shots off in the second half. Damp did an absolutely brilliant job on Duncan, I believe all four of his blocks were directly against him. He used his bulk well in defending him and visibly frustrated Timmy.

    Josh came to play last night. After he re-tweaked his ankle in the first half I was worried that he might not be back, but he showed up for the second half in equally good form. He had a great aggressive drive off a dish from Dirk in crunch time.

    Good call on giving out the gold star to everyone. It was definitely a full team effort.

    Hopefully they’ll show up in New Orleans tonight too, though I worry about their energy with it being their 4th in 5 nights.

  • wacc_attack

    ive been to about half of all the home games this season, and i honestly have to say that i have not heard the building louder then i did last night. not even in that 2OT loss to the spuretts. it was amazing, and you could tell the guys were feeding off of it. Jet ignited the crowd after each missed SA free throw, dirk did his usual tongue out/yank the jersey move after 2 or 3 shots in the 4th. it was awesome.

    we out san antonioed san antonio. this is what they always do to us. let us hang around and feel good about ourselves, then play killer D in the clutch and torture our souls with basket after basket. the play of J-Ho cannot be underestimated. he was BRILLIANT. Parker and Mason were scalding hot in the first, and SA was threatening to pull away a bit early. Then Josh would drain three after three after three. Again, amazing play. In the 3rd you could see from the moment he got the ball he wasnt passing that b***h to anyone…and then he just drained it. Beautiful stuff.

    J-Kidd, marvelous in the clutch. Machine wash cold, baby. That 3 was money. Same goes for Dirk. Great great game. Anytime you get 24 and 12 on the Spurs, you’re doing something right (and on only 15 shots, only 2 attempted 3s).

    All in all, if we play like this, we can hang with anyone. Lakers, Celts, Spurs, Hornets, even Jazz. It’s just a matter of whether or not we can keep this level of play up. But you already knew that….

  • Chaz

    Got stuck at work so I had to listen to the game on the radio. I was able to here how into the game the crowd was, which is often missed on a nationally televised game. I recorded it to watch later (or delete if they had lost), and this will definitely be worth watching. Hopefully the guys didn’t put it all out there tonight and can ride the jubilation into NO tonight and face down another demon. Gotta contain CP3, HAVE TO.