Despite facing stubborn opposition from the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs wouldn’t let that sour their first game of the 2014-2015 NBA season, beating their in-state rivals 101-100 thanks to a big fourth quarter and overall game from Tony Parker, getting plenty of help from Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
Duncan finished with his 14th double-double in a season opening game, scoring 14 and grabbing 13 rebounds while turning the ball over five times, showing it’s going to be another season of people talking about how he’s not getting old. Parker led the Spurs with 23 points, including the most important shot of the fourth quarter and Manu Ginobili added 20 points from the bench. Marco Belinelli started in the lineup with 15 points instead of Kawhi Leonard, doing a very good job.
Just like the first round of the playoffs last season, the Mavericks proved they’re the most stubborn of opponents for the Spurs. Monta Ellis led the scoring with 26 points on 11-of-21 from the field. Dirk Nowitzki scored 18 points on 7-of-11 from the field but didn’t hit a single 3-point shot. Devan Harris was a big help off the bench with 17 points, as only three Mavs players scored in double figures.
While the Spurs showcased only players from last season, there were quite a few new faces for the Mavericks, most of them disappointing. Tyson Chandler had a decent return with 8 points and 10 rebounds, playing his first game in Mavs uniform since the 2011 NBA finals. Chandler Parsons was a big disappointment, shooting only 2-of-10 from the field , scoring just five points and failing to get to the line even once, showing it’s going to take time before he’s completely comfortable in a new role with a new team.
Jameer Nelson, the team’s new point guard instead of Jose Calderon, scored nine points, but the Mavericks were better with him on the court. One problem the Mavs have right now is backup guards, with Devin Harris filling the role of both point guard and shooting guard when filling in for Monta Ellis and Nelson.
The fifth championship banner was raised to the sky, another testament of how great the era of Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan has been. The big test this season will be trying to do something they’ve failed to on four different occasions: Repeating as NBA champions. While one game doesn’t really say anything about what’s going to happen in the next 81 games, it’s quite clear that the Western conference will once again be very difficult to win through.