Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 1/31/12

Wow, what a game. I was wanting so much to get into my celebratory stance at halftime, but I thought to myself, “no, remember what you were taught to not count your chickens before they were hatched”, and I’m glad I didn’t. It seemed as though my Dallas Mavericks were hell-bent and determined to let everyone know that they are not going to lie down this season and step it up for the last two-thirds of this shortened season and take the bull by the horns and take control.

Well, that lasted through half-time and into the third quarter and then, BAM, again something happened and all I could say is, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”, oh and scream at my television, well grunt loudly since I had DVR’d the game and the rest of the family was in bed and I couldn’t get real loud as I would wake them for the slaughter it appeared they were about to take.

Dallas has been doing well for themselves even in the losses this season and averaging over 20 plus points in the first quarter, and tonight was no different, they scored 24 and held San Antonio to only 18 in the first and then blossomed that 6 point lead into an 11 point lead at half with Dallas scoring 27 points in the second quarter to the Spurs’ 22.

Now we all know what kind of coach Greg Popavich is and I’m sure that he, along with Rick Carlisle, gave his team a chewing and told them that they had better get their heads on straight or they would lose to the Mavericks as the Mavericks had lost to the Spurs earlier in the season by over 20 points and had to truck it back to Dallas with their tails between their legs with embarrassment, and that always makes out for a long flight home, even though it’s just a 4 hour drive between the two cities.

Pop would be motivating his team to get their act together, Carlisle would be grilling his team to not let up and once the third period started, it looked like Carlisle’s advice stuck with his team and Pop’s needed something different; and then it happened.

At one point in the third quarter, Dallas was enjoying the high-flying antics of Roddy B, JET being on the runway, Vince Carter keeping his “vinsanity” going and Dirk still trying to get his legs to work good after his hiatus, oh and enjoying an 18 point lead, when Pop did the something different.

So here we are, ahead of our arch nemesis that smeared us not long ago on their home court and gave us an ugly loss and you have them by, well, you know what I want to say and then Pop pulls his starters, starters as in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker and starts putting in his bench players. Well if you go back to the other game in San Antonio, these are some of the same guys who burned us back then and I know Dallas remembers who they are and I’m sure they have watched film of this team more than once.

When you think of the Spurs, you think of Duncan, Parker, Manu Ginobli (who is out right now with an injury) and now Richard Jefferson. You don’t really think of Gary Neal, Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, James Anderson and Matt Bonner. When these name are mentioned, you say “who are they and who do they play for?”. Well I can guarantee you that the Dallas Mavericks players, coaches and fans know who these guys are, because now twice they have been burned by the guys with these names.

Speaking of Neal, he led the Spurs with 19 points and also with that hit 3 of his 5 three-point attempts, Jefferson had 12 points and hit 2 of his 6 3 pointers, Duncan ended the night with 12 points also and so did Green who also had 2 of his 5 3 pointers to go in. Now you ask why these guys; well they had nothing to lose and everything to gain and with a little over 3 minutes left in the third quarter, these guys went on a rampage and almost cost Dallas the game.

By the end of the third quarter, with the barrage of three pointers going down, the Spurs were now only down by 11 points (69-58) and limited Dallas to only scoring 18 points in the third quarter. Now for the nailbiters of almost all nailbiters, the fourth quarter.

Behind the shooting of JET and his 34 points, Dallas was able to pull of the victory, but not before all the drama and I mean drama. So here we are, beep bopping along, still clinging to a small lead and no one it seems wanted to play defense on the outside shooters, so they kept coming and shooting over and over again with the threes, but at one point, we were able to match some of the points with our shooting as well, but then before you know it, with 8:56 left in the fourth, San Antonio took the lead 72-71 on of all things, a three pointer.

Before you knew it, we were down by as much as 9 points and time was running out and Carlisle had to do something like Pop did and see what would work, so he turned JET and Roddy loose and let them go. Dallas was able to get the score back to within reason at 89-85 when with only 57.5 seconds left, Roddy scored on a little jumper and got us within now only 2 points. Then we got the ball back, got a basket and now we’re tied at 89 apiece when with 37.8 seconds left, San Antonio got a basket with a foul and took a 91-89 lead but was unable to convert the free throw, Dallas got the ball and then we were back and forth again when with only about 8 seconds left, San Antonio takes a shot, misses, Dirk gets the rebound, takes off up the court, dribbling, trying to what appears to call a time out and at the same time looks as if to pass the ball to JET who with .5 seconds left on the clock takes a jumper and boom, makes the basket and now we are tied at 91-91. San Antonio calls a timeout.

Now all we have to do is block out, take the game to overtime and pull off the win, we are on a roll now, scoring again and playing a little bit better defense. The Spurs get the ball at half court, Green gets the inbound ball, turns and shoots, ball goes in the basket, San Antonio wins, or they think they do. Upon review, just a split half-second before the ball is released, the buzzer and light goes off, basket does not count, we are headed into overtime.

Again we are back and forth, back and forth until right at the end again as to see who is actually going to win this game. Dallas is up at this point 101-98 when with 12.6 left, again Neal takes the ball in for a shot, gets fouled by Shawn Marion and at the same time the ball goes in the basket, now they are within one with Dallas ahead 101-100. Neal goes to the line, shoots the free throw, but misses and Ian Mahinmi gets the rebound and gets fouled.

Now we go to the other end of the court since both teams are in bonus at this time. Mahinmi has been ok at the free throw line, but he misses both free throw attempts and now we only have 10.2 seconds left and San Antonio has control of the ball and calls timeout. When play resumes, the Spurs get the ball in and Bonner has the ball at the three-point line and trying to get free from Carter, who is stuck to him like glue and while doing this, causes him to bauble the ball, they have to scramble to get the ball before it goes out-of-bounds. Green is able to get control of the ball, but with such little time left on the clock, throws up a three-point attempt, but the ball is wide left and the game is over.

Dallas is able to maintain the win, but barely.

Along with JET’s 34 points, Carter added 21 points of his own on 8 of 15 shooting and connecting on 2 of his three-point attempts. Roddy blew up the stat sheet for the night with 14 points, 7 assists and 3 blocks. Dirk, coming into his first game since being out 4 games had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds and Marion added 9 points and had 9 rebounds and 3 steals and 2 blocks of his own. Brendan Haywood may not have looked good on the scoring end of things with only 3 points, but he had 8 rebounds and 5 blocks.

Wow what a stat sheet for the night. Dallas ended the night with shooting 44% from the field to the Spurs’ 41.5%, but left a lot to be desired from the 3 by only shooting 20% to San Antonio’s 48%, but Dallas did do better at the free throw line by connecting on 75% of their attempts to 52.6% for the Spurs. The best thing about the game, outside of the win was Dallas only committed 8 turnovers to San Antonio’s 10 and out rebounded the Spurs 55-52 and outscored the Spurs in the paint, 38-34. Not bad for an old team, huh?

So now where does that leave us? Well as of now, they are in sole possession of first place in the Southwest Division just .5 game ahead of the Spurs and 1 game ahead of the Rockets and they are sitting in 4th in the Western Conference, but it’s still an early season and 2/3′s of the season to play. Now we head to Phoenix to face the Suns who we just played in Dallas and won, so hopefully they are not too tired to carry on in the land of the Sun and get another victory.

With that I bid you a good day and say good luck and let’s go Mavs!

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.


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