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Spurs one game from clinching home court throughout the playoffs after win over Mavericks

Apr 10, 2014, 11:11 PM EDT

Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki

The Spurs inched closer to securing home court advantage throughout the postseason with a 109-100 win over the Mavericks on Thursday, and Dallas saw its playoff hopes become even more tenuous with the loss.

San Antonio leads the league in three-point shooting percentage, and put on a 16-of-34 display from beyond the arc that helped carry the team to its 61st victory of the season. Dallas hung around for the first half, and came back with a nice second quarter after falling behind by double digits early. Dirk Nowitzki scored 12 of his 19 points in the period, and a furious close to the half saw Dallas take a two-point lead into intermission.

The Spurs cranked up their defense in the third, getting into the passing lanes to create turnovers and then scoring in transition. Patty Mills went on a shooting spree that saw him hit three of four threes in the period, and he and Tim Duncan each had 11 in a third quarter where the San Antonio lead reached 11 by the time it was finished.

The loss was a tough one for the Mavericks, because they’re in a dog fight for one of the final two playoff spots in the West. Dallas now sits in the eighth spot, tied with Phoenix but a game back in the loss column, while being even with ninth-place Memphis in losses but holding two more victories.

The Mavericks control their own destiny, though, considering their final two games of the season are against Phoenix on Saturday, and then at Memphis the following Wednesday.

As for the Spurs, the reason for their league-best record lies in their versatility. Manu Ginobili was below average by his standards in this one, finishing with 10 points and seven assists while committing five turnovers, and Tony Parker didn’t play at all due to injury. But Kawhi Leonard came through with 16 points and 16 rebounds, and Mills led all scorers with 26 points, albeit on 25 shots.

San Antonio remains extremely difficult to deal with in the regular season, while the Mavericks show flashes of that at times, especially on the offensive end. But Dallas saw its 22nd ranked defense betray them in this one, on a night where the Spurs, as usual, found a way to execute flawlessly at times on both ends of the floor.

  1. retxedfred - Apr 10, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    The Spurs simply have too many weapons for the Mavs to handle.

  2. casualcommenter - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:18 AM

    Top seed in the NBA despite playing in the much tougher conference, all the while keeping multiple key players on a rest schedule with a minutes limit most games.

    Not a Spurs fan, but I have to give them props.

    • chukalukabus - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:12 AM

      I am a Spurs fan. It is not that I am a crazy idiot like the fans in SA. But I will say one thing you take away from the Spurs is respect. How many former assistants of Pop are now head coaches in the NBA? Four, Five?

      Since Pop arrived, they have the most wins in the NBA. That is nothing to snip about and that includes the throw-away year in order to draft Duncan.

      I would not expect Parker back until the playoffs. With Phoenix, Houston, and LA on the table, they only have to win one for home court. It would not suprise me if they clear the bench and win all three.

      At least 10 times every Spurs game you see something amazing. Teamwork on a level like no other team in the NBA or the world. It really is a stunning thing to see. What we are seeing now is the pinnacle of basketball in our life times. The game has improved to the point it is more of an art than a brutal physical athletic event. Across the board, everyone is better.

      Just look at the pace of a game in the 70’s or 80’s compared to today. Look at the sheer atheletic ability of the players. The worst team in the NBA today would be world champions 20 years ago. Players across the board are bigger, faster, stronger, and most important…

      Smarter.

      Rare times we live in, and three of the future Legends of the game play for San Antonio.

  3. supremekingz - Apr 11, 2014 at 12:28 AM

    Spurs are a machine. Kawhi-et Storm has an excellent game. Spurs will coast through the West. I don’t think OKC can beat them 4 times. They have soooooo much depth

    • blackman24 - Apr 11, 2014 at 1:54 AM

      Yeah, this was said the year before when they went into the playoffs on a ridiculous win streak and had this type of depth, they will not even come close to coasting through the West.

  4. rufneklac5 - Apr 11, 2014 at 1:29 AM

    Supremekingz… I think you are forgetting the fact that OKC swept SA 4-0 this season and that the thunder are a bad matchup for them.

    • spursareold - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      Spurs playin’ possum. They actually added a new wrinkle to their “wheel” play last night against Dallas that should stop OKC’s trapping cold. I saw them run it twice, once with Diaw and once with Splitter.

      • dablakdrphil - Apr 11, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        “Regular Season” is very different from “Post Season”. When the playoffs start EVERYTHING is 0-0…It doesn’t matter what happened in the regular season; that was then. If SA and OKC meet in the West Finals (my prediction is they will meet over my Clippers), I can easily see that series going 6 or 7 games

  5. davidly - Apr 11, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Best team players top to bottom. Must be nice to be a Spur season ticket holder. They may not get to the finals and/or win them, but it’s easy paint as chokers a perennial division and conference champ when they’ve had 17 opportunities to choke over the last 17 years.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 11, 2014 at 10:13 AM

      Glass half empty or half full?

      They’ve had 16 opportunities, by making the post season, to at least have a chance to play for it all (meaning because they were at least in the playoffs).

      In the last 16 CONSECUTIVE post seasons, the Spurs have played 207 post season games.

      They have won 129 of those 207 for a .623% winning percentage. That is a .623% winning percentage against PLAYOFF teams.

      A .623% winning percentage in the entire NBA this regular season would give them or any team the 8th best record in the entire NBA. Yet, the Spurs have done this against Playoff competition, not by going against the bottom feeders.

      Oh yeah, since they’re in the West, they’re first round games aren’t against sub .500 teams either.

      In 9 of the past 16 NBA post seasons, the Spurs made the Conference Finals 9 of those times. That’s MORE than half obviously.

      So, in a 16 yr stretch, it was MORE likely than not that they would be playing for the right to go to the Finals…

      And they went to the Finals 5 of the 9 times they played for the right to get to the Finals.

      They won 4 of the 5 Finals they were in too…

      Their record in their 5 Finals during these trips was 19 and 10.

      That works out to a 65.5% winning percentage against the best team in the other conference over 5 separate times and 29 total games…

      I agree with you that they are the best TEAM and many try to paint them as chokers, but I don’t see it. Not when they make the Conference Finals 9 out of 16 yrs… Not when they make it to the Finals 5 out of the 9 times they play for the right to get there. Not when they win 4 out of the 5 Finals they made.

      Now MAYBE they could be chokers if the played for the right to go to the Finals 9 times but only made it to the Finals once or twice.

      Or MAYBE if they made the Finals those 5 times but lost all 5 or maybe only went 1 & 4 in those Finals appearances.

      But no matter how one looks at their post season over the past 16 post seasons, they are NOT failures, choke artists etc… They’ve won a high percentage of their games, they have deep playoff runs and are successful much more than they fail when they make it deep into the playoffs…

      • davidly - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        That’s pretty much what I was getting at — just without the rich detail you provide as backup. For some reason there are fans who want to buy into the chokers narrative and ignore the success.

        BTW: did you know that your comment has only now just made it through to get posted? That’s, like, ten days.

  6. cantonbound13 - Apr 11, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    The Spurs are clearly the best & classiest organization over the last 15 years.

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