Comeback Falls Short As Mavericks-Spurs Go Back To San Antonio Tied At Two


Apr 28, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) shoots against the Dallas Mavericks in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports


Series Tied 2-2

The Dallas Mavericks trailed 58-38 with 9:18 left in the third quarter, and proceeded with a ferocious comeback that fell short as the San Antonio Spurs tied their first-round series at two with a 93-89 victory in Game 4 on April 28.

Down 20, the Mavericks ended the third quarter on a 27-15 run to enter the fourth down eight, 73-65.

Dallas continued the hot streak and tied it at 77 after Jae Crowder’s layup with 6:22 left to play.

The Mavericks’ defense intensified during the fourth as they regained the lead 81-80, their first lead since 25-23.

Dallas got back in it behind the help of DeJuan Blair’s 12 points and 11 boards in 16 minutes.

After the Mavericks had an 83-82 lead, Blair and Tiago Splitter battled for a loose ball, Blair called for the foul. Blair was called for a flagrant 1 after he kicked Splitter in the head area. Splitter came down on Blair’s leg and Blair inadvertently kicked him in the head.

The officials reviewed the play, handed Blair his fifth foul and the flagrant, causing for an ejection.

Monta Ellis tied it at 87 with an and-1 basket on Manu Ginobili with 52 seconds left, but Boris Diaw knocked down the game-winning 25-foot 3-pointer 20 seconds later.

Dallas had a chance to tie it at 91, but Ellis’ layup rimmed out.

San Antonio ties this series as the two go back to the AT&T Center for Game 5 on April 30, which is set to tip at 7:00 p.m. ET on TNT.

Ellis had a team-high 20 points while Dirk Nowitzki scored a series-high 19. The duo, however, combined to shoot 13-of-39 (30 percent). Jose Calderon scored 13, going 3-of-4 from downtown.

Samuel Dalembert grabbed a game-high 15 boards, 10 in the first half. Nowitzki and Marion had seven a piece.

Ginobili led six players in double figures with a game-high 23 points on 50 percent shooting. Diaw added 17 while Splitter and Tim Duncan added double-doubles.

The Spurs ended the final 3:30 of the first half on a 9-2 run and led 50-36 at the break.

The Mavericks got off to a hot start, going up 12-2 in the first quarter, but went on a dry spell to end it as they only led 23-18 after one.

The two teams combined to shoot 37 percent as Nowitzki led the way with seven points, going 3-of-5 from the charity stripe.

Dallas’ cold shooting continued over to the second quarter as the Spurs used a 26-8 run after trailing 19-12 in the first. The Spurs also started the second with an 18-4 advantage.

After going to the line 11 times in the first three games, Nowitzki had seven free-throw attempts in the first half.

Dallas averaged 32 points in the second quarter in the first three games, but the Mavs only scored 13 while the Spurs had 32 in Game 4.

San Antonio had a 26-10 advantage in the paint while the Mavs were 12-of-41 (29 percent) from the field, 3-of-13 (23 percent) from downtown at halftime. The Spurs finished the game with a 46-28 advantage in the paint and 16-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Mavericks had only four field goals in the second.

Dallas had led at halftime in the first three games.

The Mavs decided to wear black socks as a silent tribute in the wake of the comments by Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling.

THE MAN WITH NO ACLs: Blair played well in limited time. It was his second game of the series that he’s been a key contributor. In the Mavs’ Game 2 blowout, Blair had eight points, seven boards and four steals in 14 minutes of action. However, in Game 1 and 3 combined, he has a total of two points and one field-goal attempt in seven minutes. The NBA may take action for his flagrant foul on Splitter and might suspend Blair for Game 5. Blair finished Game 4 with a +/- of +4, a team high.

FIRST 27 MINUTES: The Mavericks started off with a 12-2 lead with 6:30 left in the opening quarter, that included a 10-0 run. They shot only 5-of-11, but held the Spurs to 1-of-10, missing nine straight, in those first 5:30. The Mavericks were only 8-of-22 from the field while the Spurs were 8-of-21 after one. Dallas remained cold in the second, going 4-of-19 for 13 points, one point from their season-low in a quarter. Seven different players for the Spurs scored the first eight baskets in the second as San Antonio finished the quarter 13-of-19 from the field, hitting seven of its first nine. Dallas missed its first five shots of the third as the Spurs opened the third on an 8-2 run to increase a 14-point halftime lead into 20.

FINAL 21 MINUTES: Dallas scored 27 in the final nine minutes of the third, 39 in the next 15 to tie it at 77. In those 15 minutes, the Mavs held the Spurs to just 19 points. Dallas shot 20-of-38 in the final 21 minutes after falling behind by 20 (52.6 percent). The Mavs, outscored by 14 in the first half, won the third quarter 29-23, and outscored the Spurs 24-20 in the fourth.

SHOOTING STRUGGLES: Despite the valiant comeback, the Mavs finished 32-of-84 from the field (38.1 percent) compared to the Spurs’ 45.6 percent. Dallas was +6 from three, but took seven more attempts. The Mavs, a good free-throw shooting team in the regular season, struggled at the line in Game 4. They finished 18-of-28 (64.3 percent), missing three in the final 2:50. Dalembert, who made two huge free throws in Game 3 to tie it at 104, missed both attempts with 1:23 left that would’ve brought the Mavs within one, 87-86. Nowitzki, himself, missed two at the line on the night, one of which was after San Antonio was called for defensive 3-in-the-key.

TALL BALLER FROM THE G: Nowitzki continues to struggle from the field, but has increased his point total in each game (11, 16, 18, 19). He’s still only averaging 16 points a game in the series on 38.5 percent shooting (25-of-65). Nowitzki has only made one 3-pointer on five attempts (20 percent). Prior to Game 4, the last time Nowitzki failed to score at least 20 points in three-straight playoff games was in 2001 against the Spurs. He did score 30 and 42 in the next two. The last time Nowitzki failed to score at least 20 points in four straight overall came back on Nov. 5-12 this season when he went five straight without 20. After that slump, Nowitzki did score 28 points on Nov. 15 against the Heat.

SERIES REVIEW: The Mavs could very well be on their way to the next round. They’ve been in every game, in some shape or form, and could have swept the Spurs by now. They had a 10-point lead in Game 1 with 7:45 left, but missed 12 of their final 13 shots on way to a five-point loss. Dallas took charge in the second half of Game 2 that led to a 21-point victory, the largest road victory for any 8-seed over a top-seed in NBA-playoff history. Coming to Big D for Game 3, Dallas and San Antonio battled for 10 lead changes and 12 ties in the final quarter as Vince Carter swished a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Mavs a 2-1 lead. It was Carter’s first game-winning basket within the final minute of a playoff game, and made him the oldest player in the last 15 years with a buzzer-beating basket.