Mark Cuban and his Dallas Mavericks are edging closer and closer to losing their ever-cherished home-court advantage.
In game two of the NBA’s first round Lone Star series, San Antonio made Cuban and the Mavs eat their words in terms of playing basketball on the American Airlines Center hardwood, with the Spurs garnering a 102-88 victory on Wednesday night in Dallas.
With the series now knotted up at one game apiece, it’s time to see how the Texas two-step (and solid defense) was re-introduced to the sports world via San Antonio’s riveting win over Dallas.
And when lookinSan Antonio dominated for a majority of the game.g at the numbers alone, one might think the Mavs could have and would have won—but the Spurs had a different ending for this storybook series, rising to the challenge in Dallas in a matchup.
Top five players and reasons we’re heading back to the Riverwalk in a 1-1 first round tie? Let’s take a look…
Newcomer Richard Jefferson had a playoff coming out party on Wednesday night in Dallas, proving he can still be a deciding factor on the hardwood as he and the Spurs controlled the game from opening tip off to the final buzzer in a 102-88 San Antonio victory.
Jefferson scored 19 points for the visiting Spurs, shooting 7-for-12 from the field (1-for-2 on three-pointers) while going a perfect 4-for-4 from the charity stripe.
In addition, Jefferson was a monster on the glass, pulling down seven rebounds (four offensive and three defensive) along with dishing out an assist and picking up a steal in 40-plus minutes of playing time.
If Jefferson can continue playing the way he did in game two when the Spurs host the Mavs on Friday night, San Antonio could be celebrating a 2-1 series advantage heading into Sunday’s showdown.
On Wednesday night at American Airlines Center, Tony Parker was again the premiere presence coming off San Antonio’s bench: playing a little over 33 minutes while dishing out eight dimes and netting 16 points.
Parker was 7-for-16 from the field in Dallas on Wednesday evening, going 2-for-4 from the free throw line while also garnering four rebounds.
With Parker on the court, San Antonio’s offense seems to thrive as the Spurs speedy guard finds open teammates for clutch shots.
Parker has been a major factor in the first two games of the Lone Star series, and if San Antonio hopes to continue pushing momentum in their favor they will need similar results from No. 9 on Friday night.
Not enough can be said about Tim Duncan and his immediate impact on San Antonio’s team, as the All-Star forward once again carried the load for the Spurs on Wednesday night in Dallas.
Duncan scored 25 points and pulled down 17 huge rebounds as San Antonio bounced back in game two to knot the series up at 1-1.
Although he shot less than 50-percent from the charity stripe on Wednesday at American Airlines Center (3-for-7), Duncan shot 11-for-19 from the field while grabbing 12 defensive boards and five on the offensive end.
With nearly 36 minutes of playing time, Duncan was all over the place and constantly reminding Dallas players of his presence in game two (he also had two assists in the game).
And if Duncan and the Spurs can continue playing to the level they’ve shown they’re capable of, San Antonio may very well be heading towards a round-one upset of the highly-touted Mavs.
Manu Ginobili was also, once again, a key component to San Antonio’s game two victory: and he showed up all over the stat-sheet.
Ginobili, netting 23 points on Wednesday night in Dallas, shot 8-for-13 from the field and drained four of the six three-pointers he attempted.
In addition, San Antonio’s starting star guard was 3-for-3 from the free throw line, pulled down five rebounds, dished out four assists, and had two steals in the contest.
There’s a reason Spurs fans love Manu Ginobili, and there’s even more of a reason to love him now, as he and his San Antonio teammates have the Mavs on edge as the series resumes on Friday night in the Riverwalk City.
It’s about time someone besides Tony Parker showed up for San Antonio’s bench.
Matt Bonner was that someone on Wednesday night in Dallas, as the Spurs backup big man scored eight points with a pair of three-pointers.
Bonner was 3-for-6 from the field on Wednesday evening at American Airlines Center (going 2-for-5 from beyond the arc) while also pulling down two rebounds in a tad under 20 minutes of playing time.
Of course, basketball is a team sport and it took hard work and effort from every San Antonio player (and coach) to pick up a much-needed win to tie up the best-of-seven series.
It should also be noted that San Antonio's defense limited Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki to 9-for-24 shooting from the field while holding the Mavs to an overall poor shooting night on 31-for-85 (36.5 percent).
If head coach Gregg Popovich and his Spurs can keep the momentum swinging in their favor, they’ll be tasting round-one success over their intrastate rivals.
And if things go as planned, San Antonio will be sending Mark Cuban and the Mavs to their high-priced country clubs for rounds of golf much earlier than anticipated.
Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at email@example.com