Game Seven: For All The Marbles
By Asher Feltman
It’s never easy with this team…for better or worse, it’s always a ton of fun.
With the Spurs ready for one last hacking effort down 2 and just seconds remaining, Mavericks guard Monta Ellis dropped back and scanned the court. He felt the pressure and scrambled to his right. When he couldn’t find anybody open he threw the ball past the end zone. Problem was: it was 4th down.
Dallas may still be a football town despite Jerry Jones’ continuing good health (:x) but friends this was basketball and the clock still showed 0.4 remaining with the Mavericks holding a 113-111 close to the chest and the season on the line in Game 6.
Even still, Monta Ellis scared the **** out of us all and almost literally threw the game away.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
0.4 seconds is of course the minimum amount of time allowed for teams to get anything but a tip in away (which is 0.3 seconds). Also if there was any team in debt of a four tenths of a second miracle shot, the Spurs were it. Just in case you forgot.
It ended up just prolonging the heart gripping tension in the American Airlines Center for a little longer. Patty Mills‘ desperation attempt for the win was short of both the rim and time. The Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs were returning to the Alamo City for a deciding Game Seven.
Despite this major last second whoopsy by Monta Ellis, the first-year Mav had 29 points, tying a series high from Game 3’s stellar win. 12 of Have It All’s points came in the final frame and for a few minutes Ellis and his lightning quickness went up against the best point guard in the National Basketball Association, Tony Parker‘s lightning quickness and prevailing uncanny ability to finish around the basket. 13 of Quick Croissant’s 22 points came in the 4th quarter, keeping the Spurs in the game.
Manu Ginobili came crashing back down to Earth or wherever he’s from in Game 6. The Foreign Flop Master 3000 had just 6 more points than Gal Mekel on 1-8 shooting. Four of them came at the free throw line, because Zach Zarba just couldn’t resist sending the flailing Ginobili to the charity stripe at least twice. Gotta keep up appearances, right @NBA officials? Goodness…
Dirk Nowitzki had an uncomfortable 22 points, but the God of Fadeaway (I’m just nicknaming away today don’t stop me now 4 readers!) almost…preferred it this way.
Open looks weren’t rattling out for the superstar power forward, they were clanking and bricking. But place Tiago Splitter, Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw or a cardboard cutout of Dwyane Wade in front of #41 and he put it in their eye.
His counterpart Tim Duncan had 16/9/4/3. That’s points, rebounds, assists and times he complained to the refs.
However, the unlikely half of the Spurs frontcourt was the troublemaker for Dallas in Game 6.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Just another one of those late first round picks (28th in 2007) that the Spurs seem to consistently hit home runs on is Tiago Splitter. His three game double double streak came to an end, but he was regardless magnificent. He registered 19 points and 8 rebounds and was also 11-12 from the free throw line. He shot a respectable 70% at the line in 2013-14 but is just three seasons removed from shooting 54% at the free throw line. I’m not sure what kind of potion is in that dirty creek-River Walk-but it works wonders for Coach Popovich and company.
Despite his tumultuous presence, he still finished the game with a surprising -10 +/- in 33 minutes. And that’s because of DeJuan Blair. DeJuan frikkin’ Blair.
After karate chopping said Splitter in Game 4, Blair watched Game 5 alone in his hotel room. If he asked I would have gladly watched with him. And also taken an autograph.
The former Spur, who has not at all hidden his disdain for his previous employer, exploded off the bench to post 10 points and 14 rebounds as well as a +/- of +11, his on court presence extending beyond the simple stats and giving Dallas a +21 edge over the Spurs when Blair and Splitter’s +/-‘s are compared. But who has time for that.
3-10 shooting can be overlooked when you keep grabbing your own rebounds as well as others. 5 of DeJuan’s boards were of the offensive variety. Blair was grabbing rebounds and taking names all game long, especially at the end where he also knocked down a pair of free throws to help the cause. The 6’7″ point g- center also racked up four steals. He was just excellent. He even inadvertently DNP-CD’d Brandan Wright.
So does the ultimate and deciding Game Seven come down to Splitter-Blair of all matchups?! We’ve got Dirk-Duncan, Monta-Parker, VC-Manu but the contributions from both team’s centers, one starting and one backing up the energetic and productive services of Samuel Dalembert.
In my previous articles during the duration of this series – that you’ve read *points at eyes with index and middle finger then at screen then repeats motion thrice more* – you may have seen my pessimism and worry about this 8-1 matchup for our Mavericks, but to get this far…isn’t enough!
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
I mean, it’s enough for the conservative approach but the team has shown so much heart, passion and defense so far in this first round matchup that I’m quite frankly not ready for this season to end Sunday afternoon. So how do we go about accomplishing such a thing?
The odds are in San Antonio’s favor from a percentage and numbers stand point, but Dirk Nowitzki has never lost a decisive Game Seven (4-0) and Dirk Nowitzki is The Winning Soldier. And the only time these teams have met for a Game 7 showdown, it was a road game for the Mavs, and it went a little something like this. (Also see video below, please)
We could go on all day about matchups on and off the court, but Game number Seven in the treacherous Western Conference between the top seeded San Antonio Spurs and eight seed Dallas Mavericks comes down to a simple formula…
…what team is going to show up?
I’m convinced both of these teams have what it takes to win the Western Conference and take on the Miami Heat, but regardless one of them has to go home tomorrow and narrow the field. It’s going to be a wild day, but not as league-wide wild as tonight, where three Game Seven’s take place in Indiana, Oklahoma City (thought the league has ruined this one) and in Los Angeles. Sunday features a measly two Game Seven showdowns, ours and above the border in Toronto.
March Madness? May Madness.
#Lets #Go #Mavs