Following what was an impressive Game 2 win in San Antonio, Dirk Nowitzki had this to say:
“I’m a little worried. I’m a little worried going home. I’d rather play Game 3 here, I guess. We’ve got to figure it out at home. We can’t relax. That’s the thing.”
Based on how the Mavs ended the season at home, Nowitzki has a legitimate reason for feeling wary about playing in the friendly confines of the AAC. Over its last 10 home games, which includes that franchise-high eight-game home stretch, Dallas played .500 basketball.
His apparent pessimism could also very well stem from the Spurs’ two visits to Dallas this season. Three-point shooting and super-sized performances from role players led to convincing wins by San Antonio. In their December meeting, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker did their usual bidding to the tune of 44 combined points but Danny Green’s 22 points on 7-7 shooting, including 5-5(!) from beyond the arc, played the biggest factor in their nine-point win.
In game No. 80 of the season, Patty Mills made 6-11 from three and finished with a game-high 26 points. That’s 48 points and a combined 11-16 from deep from two players whose career scoring averages adds up to 16.1 PPG.
Only three Nowitzki teams finished with a worst home win percentage than this season’s squad but if he wants to find a silver lining for the team’s average performance down the stretch, all he has to do is look over at Monta Ellis.
Over their last 10 home games, Ellis averaged 23 PPG, four more than his season average, and 40 percent from deep, up from 33 percent for the year. And for added measure, Ellis averaged 24 PPG at home against the Spurs. Those numbers should be encouraging for the self-proclaimed pessimist.