The Dallas Mavericks take on the San Antonio Spurs tonight in Game 5of their first round series. Coming off a 93-89 loss at home Monday, Game 5 presents itself as a huge momentum game for either team with the series tied 2-2. The Spurs had a 20 point lead in the fourth quarter, the Mavs stormed back only to lose by four after a huge Boris Diaw three in the fourth.
The Game at Hand:
After splitting their home court advantage the past couple of games against the Spurs, as in any playoff game, this game is huge. If the Mavs can steal this game from the Spurs they could have a series clinching game at home. If not, they will have two win or go home situations in front of them. The Mavs somehow couldn’t find their offense on Monday really struggling from the floor only shooting 38%. The offensive will have to get on track tonight for Dallas to go back home with the series lead.
Dejuan Blair was absolutely huge off the bench Monday putting up 12 points 11 rebounds and 2 steals in only 16 minutes of play. He was the main piece that lead to the Mavericks erasing the 20 point deficit. However, midway through the fourth quarter he was ejected for kicking Tiago Splitter in the head. Although it looked intentional he was suspended for the game tonight, so his presence will be truly missed. Look for Brandan Wright to take the minutes that Blair has gotten in this series meaning he will have to step up.
Keys to the Game:
Getting Our Offense Back: It’s not every day you see the box score and the Mavs have less than 90 points. The Mavs and Monta Ellis have got to attack the paint and stop settling for outside jumpers. Yes, I know Vince Carter scored the game winner in Game 3 but he really wasted a ton of possessions in Game 4 from early in the shot clock threes or long two pointers. Get the ball to Monta and let him and Dirk execute the two man game.
Filling Blair’s Gap: Blair played with a chip on his shoulder Monday until he was ejected. His offense was great, but more noteworthy was his scrappiness and defense that was giving Tim Duncan fits. Whether we win or lose very well may come down to the play of Samuel Dalembert and Brandan Wright. Both will play substantial minutes and both cannot get bullied by Duncan and Splitter.
Matchup of the Night:
Ginobli vs. Mav’s Role Players
Although it absolutely kills me to type this Manu Ginobli has been an absolute machine so far in this series. In Game 4 Ginobli had 23, Patty Mills had 10 and Boris Diaw had 17 including the go ahead three point shot to ultimately win the game. On our bench Blair had a huge game but no other Mavs role player scored more than 8. The Mavs role players must step up and score or God forbid guard the role players of San Antonio.
“I love the way that we’ve competed all year long. I love the way that we’ve competed in this series, second quarter not withstanding [Monday night]. And you know, it’s now a three-game series and we’ve got to go back in there with the same kind of aggression that we did the first two games.” – Rick Carlisle
They had us a little bit on our back heels, and I thought in the second half we reversed that. We were the aggressors there. We took it to them, got some stops, got some rebounds and sped the game up a little bit.” – Dirk Nowitzki
When and Where:
Game time is tonight April 30 and will take place in San Antonio at 6 P.M. CST.
Quotes via Earl K. Sneed at Mavs.com
(AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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