DALLAS MAVERICKS vs SAN ANTONIO SPURS – GAME 5 PREVIEW
Series tied 2-2
The series shifts back to San Antonio for Game 5 on April 30 after each team picked up a win at the American Airlines Center. Tip off is scheduled for 7 Eastern on TNT.
Dallas got off to an impressive start in Game 4 taking an early 19-10 lead that had the building rocking and it took a five-point lead into the second quarter. But the next period belonged to the Spurs as they outscored the Mavericks 32-13 in the frame.
Based on how this series has been playing out, it was no surprise that Manu Ginobili led the charge for San Antonio. He scored eight points in the first quarter to keep the Spurs within shouting distance but his playmaking in the second is the reason why the Spurs went into halftime with a 14-point advantage. He accounted for 16 of the team’s 39 points in the period (seven made buckets and nine points off four assists).
The Mavericks hoisted the exact same number of shots as the Spurs (19 FGA, five FTA), but converted on just four attempts from the field and missed four of their five shots from the charity stripe. Ball movement was nearly non-existent as they failed to record an assist on any of their four makes.
It seemed as though San Antonio was going to run away with the game as it increased its lead to 20 points early into the second half but Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon combined for 15 of the team’s 29 points in the third and made all three of their shots from beyond the arc to help get the lead back down to single digits. But it wasn’t until DeJuan Blair checked in with less than five to play in the quarter that the Mavericks regained the momentum.
Blair not only helped kick off the comeback surge but essentially killed it with what appeared to be a kick to Tiago Splitter‘s head. What was a one-point Mavs lead with less than four to play in the fourth immediately became a two-point lead for San Antonio after Blair was assessed the personal and technical fouls. The Spurs of course hung on for the win.
DIRK IS DUE: Dirk Nowitzki has scored less than 20 points in all four game this series, tied for his longest stretch without a 20-point game in his playoff career. He has, however, increased his scoring in each game (11, 16, 18, 19). The Big German is one of the all-time elite scorers in this league so you have to imagine that breakout performance is coming soon. His shooting late in games would benefit from an efficient start. In clutch time situations this series (last five minutes of the fourth quarter/OT, score within five points), Nowitzki’s made just one of his eight attempts and has just five points.
PAGING DEVIN HARRIS: The resident Spurs Killer has been anything but over the last two games. After averaging 18.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, 60.0 FG% and 50.0 3-pt FG% in the first two games of the series, Devin Harris is averaging 3.5 PPG, 4.0 APG, 25.0 FG% and 16.6 3-pt FG% in the last two. In order for the Mavericks to be successful, they need Harris to attack the rim and attack it some more. In Game 4, Harris took seven shots: made his only layup attempt and missed five of his six jumpers.
JUST REBOUND, DALEMBERT: Samuel Dalembert is averaging 12.5 RPG over the last two games including a series-high 15 boards in Game 4 and has 10 offensive boards over that span. He should consider eliminating one particular play from his “repertoire.” You’ve seen it too often: he grabs the offensive board and attempts the put back instead of passing out to his point guard (or anyone for that matter). The usual result is a miss. The Mavericks are better off setting up a play than having Sammy D, a well below average finisher in traffic, take matters into his own hands. Dalembert attempted a put back four times over the last two games…he missed all four shots.
GAME 4 HIGHLIGHTS
Game 6: Spurs @ Mavs – Friday, May 2nd
Game 7: Mavs @ Spurs – Sunday, May 4th (If Necessary)
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