By Richard Perez – columnist / blogger
In what appeared to be an offensive clinic in the AT&T Center, the San Antonio Spurs routed the Dallas Mavericks, fresh from a win within the past 24 hours, the Spurs carried that momentum into the first quarter of the game on a Mavericks team that had flown in from Phoenix where they played game the previous night. Despite the back to back games, the Spurs came out firing on all cylinders, producing a game that flaunted the team’s threat from beyond the arc; making 16 total thee-point shots team wise, the Spurs shot just below 50 percent shooting in three-point range.
All but two Spurs scored, only goose eggs on the stat sheets are DeJuan Blair, and new Spur Ike Diogu, but despite missing all three of his shots, Blair contributed to the victory with rebounds, steals, and defensive presence on the court, Diogu played just under five minutes towards the end of the game and is trying to get into the rhythm of the Spurs system. With five Spurs scoring double digits and launching a full offensive attack, the Spurs as a team were simply too much for the tired Mavericks to handle; in the first quarter alone, the spurs put up 31 points, a season high for the first quarter and muscled up 55 at half.
The story of the game is the Spurs defense, holding the Mavericks to only 17 in the first quarter, 12 in the second, and ultimately, 29 points at half time, being outscored by the Spurs in the first quarter alone, much less the entire half. Despite an offensive sputter in the third quarter, scoring only 11, the defense was stricter, only allowing 13 points, defensively putting on a clinic as well as an offensive clinic, keeping the Mavericks to under 20 points per quarter in the first three quarters of play.
With fatigue setting in during the second half, Coach Pop and the Spurs took their foot off the gas pedal, which had been on the floorboard since tip-off, and coasted to assured victory with a comfortable lead, but still played competitively, as they are not always guaranteed that big of a lead in future consecutive game nights. The Spurs allowed 29 points in the fourth quarter, but also scored 27, keeping the Mavericks under their thumb for a 22 point victory, and a well deserved victory it was for the worn out Spurs.
Coach Pop showed the team that what they experienced in Houston was a sign of what is to come in this shortened, rushed, and almost unabbreviated season, games in consecutive nights is not a walk in the park as traveling and insufficient rest is a burden. luckily for the Spurs, when traveling to the West Coast, the will gain two extra hours due to time zone changes, a blessing other teams may not have.
– Richard Perez