San Antonio Spurs Must Get Even at Foul Line to Tie Series with Dallas Mavericks

Robert KleemanSenior Analyst IApril 21, 2010

DALLAS - APRIL 18:  Forward Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 18, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Bennett Salvatore owed one to Mark Cuban.

After blowing his whistle on a non-foul in 2006, the veteran ref had long needed an act of generosity to make up for his deciding call in Game Five.

Okay, so Cuban still hates Salvatore. I still wonder why David Stern lets such an incompetent coot officiate important games.

Flagrant foul on the ball boy? I wouldn't put it past him.

Salvatore headed a crew that awarded 20 more free throw attempts to the Dallas Mavericks in the first game of their tussle with the San Antonio Spurs.

Popovich's decision to hack Erick Dampier accounted for only eight of those.

The key to victory for Gregg Popovich's bunch in Game Two, which tips off tonight at 8:30, is simple: get to the foul line, and get there often.

Dirk Nowitzki shot so many freebies in Game One, he might as well have moved his stuff to the charity stripe. His pillows, blankets, bed, kitchen appliances, couches, etc.

The Spurs cannot let the Dirkster live there again.

They must also do more than just focus on foul prevention. They must sway the whistles in their favor.

The Spurs outscored the Mavs in the paint by 18, 50-32, in the opener. Yet, the Mavs attempted 20 more free throws.

If that trend continues, Popovich, his three stars, and his dogs are doomed.

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Richard Jefferson must assault the rim with more ferocity.

See ref, we're getting layups (even if they're tough), and they're shooting jumpers off isos.

If the Spurs can even the foul line score and take care of the basketball, they'll have a chance to head back to San Antonio with a tied series.

If they giveaway that round orange thing like a toy in a McDonald's Happy Meal again, they'll head back to the Alamo City trying to avoid an insurmountable 3-0 hole.