Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs: Postgame Grades and Analysis

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Dallas Mavericks vs. San Antonio Spurs: Postgame Grades and Analysis
D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs used a balanced attack to defeat the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday at the AT&T Center by a final score of 109-103.

San Antonio now leads the first-round series 3-2.

Five different Spurs scored at least 15 points, led by Tony Parker's 23. Manu Ginobili added 19. Each had five assists.

Up front, both Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter posted double-doubles. Splitter went for 17 and 12, while Duncan posted 16 and 12.

The sharp offense of those Spurs helped stave off a late charge by the Mavericks that was led by Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 14 of his 26 points in that frame. He also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.

Nowitzki was joined in double figures by Monta Ellis and Vince Carter. Ellis scored 21, while Carter poured in 28. It was Carter's first playoff game with 20 points since 2010.

That trio didn't get much help, as no other Maverick scored more than eight points, and the entire team struggled to defend.

Key Player Grades: San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker, Point Guard


Parker wasn't his typically efficient self, but he still did a solid job pushing the tempo throughout the game, putting pressure on Dallas' defense whenever he was on the floor.

He finished the game with 23 points on 9-of-23 shooting, but he put the missed shots behind when he hit a huge three with less than two minutes to play that ended a Dallas run and put the Spurs up seven.

Grade: B

Tim Duncan, Power Forward/Center

D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

The ageless Duncan posted yet another postseason double-double Wednesday. He inched closer toward history in the process.

Duncan's fundamentally sound game doesn't require a ton of burst or athleticism, which is why he can still dominate to this day. And that's how he got his production in this one, scoring 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

Those fundamentals aren't just exclusive to offense either. His timing on blocks and willingness to box out helped him post three swats and 12 rebounds.

Grade: B+

Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward/Power Forward


We've heard over and over that Kawhi Leonard is going to be the face of the Spurs franchise following the retirement of Duncan. In a few stretches Wednesday, it was clear why people think that.

On a few drives to the lane, Leonard's athleticism was on display as he was able to elevate over would-be deterrers around the rim. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

But what really makes Leonard unique is his tenacity on the boards. He's a great rebounder from the small forward position, and he grabbed eight Wednesday.

Grade: B

Tiago Splitter, Center


With the depth of the Spurs, trying to pinpoint just one X-factor would be like playing a game of musical chairs. Wednesday, it may well have been Splitter.

He scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. He also showed some great passing touch, handing out five assists.

Most of his points came from pick-and-rolls, where he displayed the kind of aggressive basket cuts that have made him successful all year. He has great hands and footwork in those situations as well.

Grade: A

Danny Green, Shooting Guard/Small Forward


He only played 16 minutes, but Danny Green did show some good signs Wednesday.

He had been struggling with his shooting in the series but went 2-of-2 from the three-point range for six points in Game 5.

One of the bombs was a tough pull-up in which he stopped on a dime and nailed the shot in transition.

Grade: B

Manu Ginobili, Shooting Guard


Like Duncan, Ginobili just seems impervious to the effects of aging. San Antonio's 36-year-old sixth man still moves extremely well and can take apart a defense as a slasher or shooter.

Wednesday, he did both. His 19 points came on 6-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-7 from three-point range.

He's also a great facilitator, as he's essentially played point guard while on the floor in this series. He finished with five assists in this one.

Grade: B+


The Spurs had the highest-scoring bench in the NBA during the regular season, but with the exception of Ginobili, the reserves struggled to put up any points Wednesday.

Boris Diaw, Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli combined 4-of-13 for 13 points. Mills and Belinelli were 2-of-9.

Diaw played better than those two, scoring eight points and handing out a team-high six assists.

Grade: C+

Key Player Grades: Dallas Mavericks

Dirk Nowitzki, Power Forward


Nowitzki came up big when the Mavericks needed him most. His late heroics kept Dallas in the game, but the team was unable to get enough stops to put it over the edge.

The big final frame was a good sign for the Mavericks and their fans. Dirk has struggled in this series, but he looked very confident in that patented one-legged fadeaway down the stretch.

He's going to need to hit a bunch of them to get the win in Game 6.

Grade: A

Monta Ellis, Shooting Guard


As he's done for much of this season, Ellis did a great job of playing facilitator for the Mavericks in Game 5.

He was able to get to the lane pretty much at will and did a good job of finding his teammates once he was there. He finished with a team-high six assists.

He was also the Mavericks' third-leading scorer, putting up 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting.

Grade: B+

Shawn Marion, Small Forward/Power Forward

D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

Shawn Marion was pretty much a non-factor for the Mavericks. He took 10 shots but made just three to score six points. He grabbed five rebounds as well.

Marion's value is mostly based on his defensive ability, but he didn't do much on that end either. Leonard didn't try to score much, but he pretty much had his way when he did.

Grade: C-

Jose Calderon, Point Guard

D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

Like Marion, Jose Calderon didn't have a huge impact, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. He also had only two assists.

His role isn't as oriented toward distributing as it has been with former teams, but as a starting point guard, he can still do more to set up his teammates.

Defensively, he spent a lot of time on Parker, where he understandably struggled. San Antonio's point guard gets to the rim against pretty much anyone, so Calderon having a hard time staying in front wasn't surprising.

Grade: C-

Samuel Dalembert, Center

D. Clarke Evans/Getty Images

Samuel Dalembert was hobbled for most of the game after turning an ankle in the first quarter, but he still managed to collect nine rebounds in just 23 minutes. He also blocked two shots.

He didn't give the Mavericks anything on offense, though. He shot 0-of-2 from the field and scored two points.

His struggles on that end made the suspension of DeJuan Blair painfully evident.

Grade: C+

Vince Carter, Shooting Guard/Small Forward


Jokes and talk of Vinsanity, Raptors days and anything else having to do with Carter's past ran rampant on TNT and Twitter throughout Wednesday's game.

Carter truly looked like a younger version of himself, as he scored 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-9 from three-point range.

A lot of the jump shots were the kind of fadeaways he nailed while donning purple and pinstripes north of the border.

Grade: A


Brandan Wright and Devin Harris were the only other two Mavericks to play significant minutes off the bench.

Harris struggled with his shot, going 3-of-11 on the way to eight points. He also grabbed five boards and dished out four assists.

Wright, whose offense could've helped as Dalembert struggled on that end, took just three shots in 24 minutes. He made two and scored four points.

He did have a big impact defensively, though, blocking four shots.

Grade: B (thanks to Carter)

What's Next?


The Mavericks will now be fighting for their playoff lives in Game 6. They'll need Nowitzki to harness whatever he found in the fourth quarter Wednesday and unleash it throughout the next contest.

For the Spurs, continuing to attack the weak Dallas defense with balance and inside-out scoring should help them be successful again.

Game 6 will be Friday at the American Airlines Center.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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