Ahh. We can breathe Mavs fans! With seemingly everything possible going wrong at the worst time of the season, the Mavs were able to put on a second half show against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. Rajon Rondo’s fit, Monta’s shooting struggles, Rick Carlisle questioning the soul of the team. For tonight, those issues were put to rest as they rolled during the second half. While a large part of the Mavs season has been defined by inconsistency, you can only hope this is finally what jumpstarts this team.
As good of a win as it was, the Mavs came out sluggish once again. Shots weren’t falling, defense was lacking energy, and it looked as if it was going to be yet another disappointment. The Mavs, however, got things rolling in the 2nd quarter. Back to back transition buckets by Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons ignited the rally in the frame, bringing the crowd to their feet. After falling behind 12 points in the first, they were able to cut the lead to 3 at the half.
The second half was a different story, as the Mavs exploded for 33 3rd quarter points. The team rode hot 3 point shooting, and too much Monta to open up a 10 point lead at the end of the frame. They would blow the lead open further in the 4th quarter, seeing it swell up to 17 as they scored 7 straight points to open the 4th. While extending the lead in any game is critical, it was even more so tonight as Tony Parker didn’t see the floor the rest of the game, and Tim Duncan only playing when the game was already won. The Spurs role players would make a push bringing it to within 7, but the Mavs kept riding their hot hand in Ellis to coast to a 101-94 much needed victory over the division in state rival Spurs.
It is amazing what one game can do. While the Mavs haven’t been able to put a consistent level of play or win streak together, this indeed might be the spark the team, and their leading scorer needed. It was just a few days ago we were talking about Monta’s shooting struggles, and you can only hope those talks are put to rest for the remainder of the season. Not only was this game big for Ellis and the teams charisma, it also had playoff implications. The win brings them into a virtual tie with San Antonio (S.A. only percentage points ahead) and gives the Mavs a season series lead 2-1. Oh, and the teams soul?
“Too much Monta, right?” said Coach Carlisle.
For now, all is back to normal in Mavs land.
Player of the Game:
Monta Ellis: 38 points, 16-27 FG, 5 assists, 2 rebounds. Becomes the 1st player since Kobe Bryant in ’00-’01 to score 38+ points in consecutive games against the Spurs.
Behind the scenes:
While he didn’t shoot the ball well tonight, Rajon Rondo’s defense on Tony Parker was an undervalued aspect of the game. Though Parker missed some open shots, Rondo was able to
hold him to just 8 points and 3 assists on 3-11 (27%) shooting. When you can contain the engine to the Spurs prolific offense, good things happen.
Dirk became a Dad for the second time, giving birth to his son Max earlier today. Reports say Max has already agreed to terms on a contract with the team, and Holger has him in the gym working on one-legged fadeaways.
It was yet another monumental night for Dirk Nowitzki, as he recorded his 10,000 career rebound. He is one of 7 players to reach 27,000 points and 10,000 rebounds. He is also the only player in NBA history with at least 27,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 1,000 blocks, and 1,000 3 pointers.
The Mavs head down to face the Spurs again on Friday. While it is a home-and-home matchup for the Mavs, the Spurs will host Oklahoma City tomorrow night. The upcoming meeting will yet again have large playoff implications, and we should be in for a good one.
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