In a must win tonight, the Dallas Mavericks take on the San Antonio Spurs for Game 6 in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Coming off a very poor defensive effort in a game where big man Dejuan Blair was suspended the Mavs must turn it on if they want a Game 7.
The Game at Hand:
Dirk Nowitzki looks to have possibly turned a corner in Game 5 where he posted 26 points and 15 rebounds shooting 50% from the floor. Monta Ellis struggled for most of the game, but turned it on the fourth quarter as is typical Monta. Sixth man Vince Carter was unbelievable scoring 28 on 7-9 three point attempts.
Even with these three efforts the Mavs could not pull out the win as they just could not get past their porous defense. The Spurs really did whatever they wanted, it honestly looked like they were practicing doing layup lines as Duncan and Splitter had the lane open after setting the pick virtually every possession.
With Blair coming back hopefully the Mavs can play a little better defense as Brandan Wright was absolutely abused in the pick and roll. In fact, the entire defense did not communicate and time after time gave up the lane. Hopefully Blair can turn this trend around, he basically has to if the Mavs want to force a Game 7.
Keys to the Game:
Communication and Rotation on Defense:
I have to give a shout-out one of our writers Terence Huie. He should in a previous article just how terrible our defense was. No one really knew what to do when Duncan or Splitter would come screen for Ginobli or Parker. Our defense would either key in on the roller, giving up an open shot, or key in on the player with the ball giving the roller a wide open lane. It will be up to the Mavs to communicate what to do and when to switch on the pick and roll. If we continue with what we did in Game 5 I am afraid this series is over.
Production From the Role Players:
In Game 5 only a select few played a good game in Dirk, Monta, and Vince. However, Devin Harris who shot 3-11, Jose Calderon 3-9 and Shawn Marion 3-10 have got to step up. The three combined for a total of 22 points. We just have to have better production from those three to win this game.
With Ginobli continuing to torch the Mavs and the normal production from the Spurs starters only having Vince, Dirk and Monta scoring is not going to be enough. Let’s not kid ourselves; the Mavs are in the playoffs due to their offense. They outscore teams to win the game.
Matchup of the Night:
Battle of the Big Men
In a Game 5 loss to the Spurs Samuel Dalembert scored 2 points in 23 minutes while Brandan Wright scored 4 points in 24 minutes. On the other side of the floor Tiago Splitter scored 17 points on 12 rebounds just dominating the Mavs centers. While Brandan Wrights minutes will likely be limited with Dejuan Blair back from suspension, the production of Blair and Dalembert will be huge on offense and defense.
We all have heard what the deference in an engaged Dalembert and a disengaged Dalembert can have on a game. For the Mavs to put themselves in a position to win we need the engaged Dalembert and an angry Dejuan Blair.
Don’t know what adjustments Mavs make to SA P&R. I just know they’re coming. Can’t allow 50+ PIP again. SA 3 50+ PIP in series
— Chuck Cooperstein (@coopmavs) May 2, 2014
Rick Carlisle on his local radio show today as Mavs ready for Spurs in Game 6: “We should be the ones up 3-2. That’s how I see it.”
— Jeff Caplan (@Caplan_NBA) May 2, 2014
When and Where:
Game time is tonight May 2 and will take place in American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX) at 7 P.M. CT; Watch nationally on ESPN and locally on TXA 21.
(Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
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