For a minute there, Danny Green thought he was in the NBA finals, when no shot seemed too difficult, and every open look ended in the net. That kind of night from him and an excellent all around game from Tim Duncan were enough to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 116-107 road win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Four days and three games between the Texas teams? All tied at 1-1. Dallas beat the Rockets first, followed by the Rockets winning in San Antonio and now the Spurs winning against the Mavs in the American Airlines Center. I’m not sure it means anything, but I’m quite sure Dallas are the weakest of the three, and not just because of their record that suggests exactly that.
Danny Green had a historically efficient night, scoring 22 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, including five 3-pointers and adding three more points from the line on three attempts. He’s the 4th player since the 3-point line was introduced in 1979 to go perfect from all 3 areas while attempting that many shots. The other players? Matt Barnes in 2010, Jose Calderon in 2008 and Sam Perkins in 1997.
Tim Duncan wasn’t as accurate (7-of-16 from the field), but if you’re looking for one player as the reason for the Spurs prevailing despite all the comeback runs the Mavs made throughout the game, Duncan is the answer. The Mavs were worried before this season began about their interior positions and especially at center. Samuel Dalembert is a defensive kind of player, but he has stretches in which he seems foreign to the game. DeJuan Blair is very good in limited stretches with the ball in his hands, but he’ll never be part of an All-Defensive selection.
He finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, and when the game was on the line, it seemed like the Mavs couldn’t find an answer to his presence in the post. With Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combining to shoot only 32% from the field, someone had to be the responsible adult making most of the good decisions (adding 3 assists and 2 blocks).
Maybe the bench was the real reason the Spurs won. Boris Diaw had an excellent game with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Patty Mills, despite scoring only 5 points, seemed to do a lot more good in the 15 minutes he was on than Tony Parker most of the game. The Spurs didn’t see things going exactly according to plan, but one of this team’s specialties is the depth in talent and more importantly in basketball IQ, which is usually the common thread between all Spurs players.
They made their run, made some turnovers and got back into the game, but we were able to make some good plays, pick and roll, got them to suck in one time and got it out to Danny. Danny knocks down a big 3 or us. Good execution down the stretch. They had a pretty good zone. We struggled for a couple of possessions. At the end, we got it back and we got the stops that we needed to win the game.