Guard Tony Parker scored 32 points and the Spurs defeated the
Dallas Mavericks 119-96 Sunday in Game 7 of the first-round Western
Conference playoff series.
The Spurs advance to face the fifth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers,
who upset the Houston Rockets in a six-game series.
San Antonio was 62-20 during the regular season, three games better
than the team closest in pursuit, Oklahoma City. Along the way the
Spurs won a franchise regular season record 19 straight games.
But the Spurs struggled with Dallas, the outcome in five of the
first six games having been decided in the final minute. The only
blowout was a 113-92 Dallas victory in Game 2.
Then came Sunday...
"Today we got hit by a tidal wave," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
"They're the best of the best."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "This was one of our best games of
The series was more difficult for San Antonio than pundits seemed to
anticipate against a No. 8 seed. Popovich said Carlisle used
strategy that made life difficult for the Spurs.
"It kept many of us up night after night trying to figure those guys
out," Popovich said. "Rick did a great job with his game plan. The
coaches confounded us. The players were great."
Guard Manu Ginobili supplemented Parker with 20 points. Guard Danny
Green added 16, one more than forwards Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 22 points. Guard Devin Harris
Parker averaged 15.5 points in the first four games of the series
and 25.7 in the last three. He said the Mavericks were able to
eliminate the Spurs' renowned ball movement and 3-point shooting,
forcing him to shoot more.
"It was different for me, the first part of the series and the
second part of the series," Parker said. "The first part, we were
playing Spurs basketball -- move the ball like we did all season
long. But Dallas just tried to make me a jump shooter. The last
three games I was very aggressive."
San Antonio led 68-46 at halftime after matching a franchise playoff
record for field-goal accuracy during a half -- 68.4 percent.
Dallas helped the Spurs' cause, and their shooting percentage, by
committing nine turnovers in the half. San Antonio turned them into
Parker led the way with 24 points, converting 9 of 12 shots, a
mixture of mid-range jumpers and forays to the basket against
bigger, slower Mavericks who had the misfortune of guarding him in
Dallas' switching defense.
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Ginobili had a big half as well, producing 11 points, four steals
and four assists. Ginobili boosted the Spurs with four points on one
possession in the first quarter, making a free throw after Carlisle
was hit with a technical foul, and following up with a 3-point
Duncan scored 12 in the half, hitting six of seven shots.
When the half was over, the Spurs' so called Big Three -- Parker,
Ginobili and Duncan -- had outscored the entire Dallas roster 47-36.
Carlisle, trailing by 22 at the half, opted for a small lineup to
start the third quarter -- Nowitzki and four guards, including
reserves Harris and Vince Carter. That strategy worked initially.
Dallas cut the deficit to 14 four minutes into the period thanks,
primarily, to eight points by Harris.
Then Popovich countered with smaller lineup, replacing Duncan with
Ginobili. The Spurs opened a 19-point lead over the next four
minutes, and Popovich then reverted to a traditional lineup.
Harris said the Mavs did not respond quickly enough after the slow
"To come out the way we did and get knocked back on our heels like
that, with a team as experienced as the Spurs, we have to come out
swinging," Harris said. "I felt like we just didn't do that."
NOTES: Spurs G Danny Green hit his first four shots Sunday,
extending his streak to 13 in a row during the last three games. ...
This series was not the first time the Mavericks and Spurs played a
Game 7 in San Antonio. Dallas defeated San Antonio here in overtime
to win the 2006 Western Conference semifinals. The Mavs advanced to
the NBA Finals, losing the championship to Miami. ... The officials
handed out two technical fouls in the first quarter, to Dallas coach
Rick Carlisle and San Antonio G Tony Parker. Parker said something
to Dallas C DeJuan Blair, a former Spurs' teammate, after driving by
him for a layup. Blair then received a flagrant-1 foul in the second
quarter when he hit Spurs G Manu Ginobili in the face. Dallas F Jae
Crowder received a flagrant-1 in the third quarter for a shot to
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