Image Credit: @spurs Twitter
On Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks played the San Antonio Spurs in the first game of the second half of the season. The Mavericks ended the first half by going 8-2 in their last 10 games before the All-Star break. The Mavericks start the second half of the season with a big game against their archrival Spurs. The Spurs and Mavericks are separated by one game in the standings and the Mavericks can secure the season series tiebreaker with a win, that will help tremendously at the end of the season with regards to seeding.
Before we get things going with the second half of the season, we would like for you to get all caught up with what happened during the All-Star break. First, Mark Cuban said that he would begin to allow Dogecoin as payments for tickets and team gear. This is huge as “Dogecoin”, what started out as a joke- its name is a reference to the popular internet meme, according to Coinbase, has now begun to take off in the crypto market. Be sure to check it out as many people predict it will reach $1 in the future. The Mavericks have already done more than 20,000 Dogecoin transactions according to Mark Cuban. The Mavericks have already began accepting Bitcoin for almost two years, so accepting DogeCoin will help in the crypto market. Make sure to grab your tickets to see the Mavericks in person at the American Airlines Center. Also, Luka Doncic played in his second consecutive All-Star game as a starter which resulted in being drafted by LeBron James as part of the NBA going with the new all-star format. In the game, Doncic would finish with 8 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds as “Team LeBron” would beat “Team Durant” 170-150, that would result in Doncic being 2-0 in All-Star games. The Mavericks have also recalled rookies Josh Green, Nate Hinton, Tyrell Terry and Tyler Bey from the G-League in hopes of giving them a bigger role on the team. The Mavericks also unveiled their “Earned Edition” uniforms and will be worn with this matchup against the Spurs. The second half of the season will do the Mavericks no favors as they will play the second-most games (38) including 10 back-to-backs, due to the postponed games linked to the NBA’s health and safety protocols with handling the coronavirus. New teams will come to play the Mavericks for the first time during the second half, some of them include, Cleveland, Detroit and New York. The Mavericks will begin to play 11 of their first 16 games on the road to start the second half of the season but will have a home stand of five games during the month of April. The Mavericks are now back to .500 on the season, siting at 18-16, which is good enough for eighth in the competitive western conference and will look to gain a higher seed during the second half of the season.
The San Antonio Spurs are coming into this game by going 6-4 in their last 10 games. They are recently coming off a 107-102 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 4th, 2021 to finish the first half of the season with a record of 18-14. The Spurs are coming into this season after losing Marco Belinelli in free agency as he would sign overseas with Virtus Bologna in Italy. The Spurs did have some draft luck as they selected Devin Vassell and Tre Jones with the 11th and 41st overall picks in the NBA draft. Both of them would have limited roles within the team as they are averaging 7.5 points per game combined. The Spurs are no secret to the playoffs as they are accustomed to making it every single season until last season which resulted in snapping their NBA record-tying 22 consecutive seasons of making the playoffs. During the playoff streak, the Spurs won five championships in the 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014 seasons. The Spurs, led by DeMar DeRozan, are looking to start a new playoff streak this season and are currently on pace to do so just as long as they can remain healthy and productive. Prior to this game starting, word just gotten out that LaMarcus Aldridge would not return to the Spurs for the second half of the season, as they mutually agreed to part ways and hope to find Aldridge a new team.
Coming into this game, the Mavericks won the regular season series last season by going 3-1 over the San Antonio Spurs. The Mavericks currently hold the most recent win in the series by defeating the Spurs 122-117 on January 22nd, 2021. Despite losing the season series last season, the Spurs have won 30 of the last 40 meetings, including 17 of the last 20 in San Antonio. The first win in Mavericks franchise history came against the Spurs that resulted in a 103-92 win on October 11th, 1980. These two teams are no strangers to each other as they provided some classic matchups over the years. In order to strengthen this rivalry even more, the Spurs also have a player named “Luka” as in Luka Samanic to match the Mavericks own Luka Doncic. Don’t be surprised if this rivalry is dubbed “The Battle of the Luka’s” for years to come. Overall, the Spurs lead the all-time series with a record of 113-71.
The Mavericks started this game healthy and rested from the All-Star break. As a result, the Mavericks went with Doncic, Richardson, Kleber, Finney-Smith and Porzingis, as their starting five in this game. The first points in the game would belong to Kristaps Porzingis as he nailed a jump shot for the Mavericks to get this game underway. The Spurs wouldn’t get their first points until the 10:57 mark as DeMar DeRozan nailed a two pointer to tie it 2-2 in the first quarter. The Spurs would get their first lead of the game by having DeMar DeRozan nail a jump shot with 9:08 left in the quarter to lead 9-7 over the Mavericks. The Spurs were able to extend their lead to 11-7 before Dorian Finney-Smith was fouled on a jump shot, which resulted in him nailing both free-throws with 7:16 left in the quarter to come within 11-9 of the Spurs. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 6:41 left in the quarter as a result of the Spurs taking a 11-9 lead. Prior to this timeout, the Spurs got off to a great start as they nailed five of their first 10 shots taken thus far while the Mavericks were still adjusting to the game as they only made three of their first eight attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Jalen Brunson as he was able to convert on a layup to tie the game at 11-11 with 6:07 left in the quarter. After forcing a turnover, the Mavericks were able to reclaim the lead as Kristaps Porzingis nailed a jump shot with 5:16 left in the quarter to take a 13-11 lead. Both teams would then exchange time with the lead by exchanging baskets for nearly two minutes until Lonnie Walker IV drilled a three pointer with 3:32 left to give the Spurs a 21-18 lead. Jalen Brunson would make a driving layup to come within 21-20 of the Spurs before the Spurs would call a timeout with 3:15 left in the quarter. Coming out of the timeout, the Spurs turned to Patty Mills as he was able to convert by drilling a three pointer to extend the Spurs lead to 24-20 with 3:08 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Spurs were able to keep their lead and took a 32-27 lead into the second quarter. The game leading scorer after one quarter of play would belong to Patty Mills as he scored 8 points for the Spurs. The Mavericks were led by Jalen Brunson as he scored 7 points. The Spurs were on fire as they ended the quarter by making five straight three pointers. The Mavericks struggled shooting from behind the arc as they only made 2-of-8 from behind the arc.
The second quarter would begin by having Maxi Kleber nail a two pointer for the Mavericks to get this quarter underway. The Spurs wouldn’t get their first points until the 11:03 mark as Lonnie Walker IV nailed a jump shot to extend their lead to 34-29 in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to go on a 7-0 run that resulted in reclaiming the lead at 36-34, as the Spurs were forced to call a timeout with 9:44 left in the quarter. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks were shooting the “lights out” of the ball by making four of their first six attempts taken thus far. Coming out of the timeout, the Spurs turned to Lonnie Walker Iv but couldn’t convert as he missed a three pointer to keep the score at 36-34 with 9:30 left in the quarter. A technical foul was called on Luka Doncic for arguing with the Officials as he thought he had an “AND ONE” with 7:58 left in the quarter, as a result, Patty Mills nailed the technical free-throw to come within 40-37 of the Mavericks. The Spurs were able to reclaim the lead again as DeMar DeRozan nailed a jump shot with 5:30 left in the quarter to take a 43-42 lead. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 5:12 left in the quarter after seeing the Spurs extend their lead to 45-42. Prior to this timeout, the Mavericks had gotten cold shooting the ball as they only made one basket in three minutes of play that resulted in losing their lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Dorian Finney-Smith but couldn’t convert as Luka Doncic threw a bad pass to him that resulted in a backcourt violation with 4:50 left in the quarter. The Spurs would extend their lead to six points on a Rudy Gay three pointer with 4:05 left in the quarter to take a 48-42 lead. Tim Hardaway Jr would get on the scoreboard as a result of draining a jump shot that forced the Spurs to call a timeout with 2:59 left in the quarter, as their lead shrunk to 50-45. Coming out of the timeout, the Spurs turned to DeMar DeRozan as he was able to convert on a jump shot to extend their lead to 52-45 with 2:45 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Spurs were able to maintain onto their lead and took a 59-52 lead into halftime. The game leading scorer after two quarters of play would belong to DeMar DeRozan as he scored 14 points for the Spurs. The Mavericks were led by Willie Cauley-Stein as he scored 8 points. The Mavericks couldn’t solve their three-point shooting woes as they finished the first half making only 4-of-15 from behind the arc. The Spurs came out the gates on fire as they played excellent offense that resulted in shooting 47.1% from behind the arc on 8-of-17 shooting. The Mavericks couldn’t take care of the basketball as they turned the ball over 12 times in the first half that played a key part into why the Spurs had the lead at halftime. The Mavericks would need to protect the ball in the second half if they want to have any chance at coming away with a victory in this one.
Coming out of the half, the Mavericks were able to get on the board first in the third quarter by having Kristaps Porzingis nail a two pointer to come within 59-54 of the Spurs with 11:43 left in the quarter. DeMar DeRozan kept his hot start going as he was able to score the first points for the Spurs as he nailed a two pointer with 11:25 left in the quarter to maintain onto their lead by leading 61-54 over the Mavericks. A 7-0 run by the Mavericks would soon follow as that was enough for the Spurs to call a timeout with 10:16 left in the quarter as Luka Doncic had the chance to give the Mavericks the lead by finishing the “three point play”. Coming out of the timeout, Luka Doncic was able to nail the “AND ONE” free-throw to give the Maverick the lead again at 62-61 with 10:16 left in the quarter. The Mavericks kept their momentum on their side as a result of Kristaps Porzingis nailing a two pointer to extend their lead to 64-61 with 9:37 left in the quarter as part of a 10-0 run. The Spurs got their first made basket since calling the timeout as Dejounte Murray drilled a three pointer with 8:21 left in the quarter to come within 68-66 of the Mavericks. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 7:52 left in the quarter as a result of the Spurs coming back to tie the game at 68-68. Prior to this timeout, the Spurs were on a 7-3 run that would be crucial into tying the game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis as he was able to convert on a two pointer to reclaim the lead at 70-68 with 7:40 left in the quarter. The Mavericks were able to go on a roll after generating some stops on defense that resulted in extending their lead to 75-68 on two Kristaps Porzingis free-throws with 6:38 left in the quarter. The Spurs were able to snap the Mavericks 7-0 run by having Derrick White make a layup with 6:13 left in the quarter to come within 75-70 of the Mavericks. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 4:46 left in the quarter after the Spurs went on their own run that resulted in a 8-0 run to tie the game at 75-75. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Josh Richardson as he was able to convert on a three pointer to take a 78-75 lead with 4:32 left in the quarter. The Mavericks would extend their lead on free-throws by Tim Hardaway Jr as he drilled both of them to take a 80-75 lead with 3:42 left in the quarter. In the final minutes of the quarter, the Mavericks were barely able to maintain onto their lead as they took a 87-86 lead into the fourth quarter. The game leading scorer after three quarters of play would belong to DeMar DeRozan as he scored 25 points for the Spurs. The Mavericks were led by Luka Doncic as he scored 17 points. This quickly turned into a classic as both teams were competing hard through three quarters of play. Well, whoever wins the fourth quarter would ultimately win a hard fought game.
The fourth quarter would begin by having Patty Mills nail a two pointer for the Spurs to get this quarter underway as the Spurs reclaimed the lead at 88-87 with the 12th lead change in the game. The Mavericks weren’t able to get their points until the 10:58 mark by having Willie Cauley-Stein nail a two pointer to make reclaim the lead right back at 89-88. The Spurs decided to leave Tim Hardaway Jr wide open for a three point shot and Hardaway Jr made them pay for it as he drilled it with 9:46 left in the game to extend their lead to 92-88. With 7:56 left in the game, the Officials would review a foul call on Willie Cauley-Stein to see if it was worthy of a flagrant foul. After the review, the officials would increase the foul to a flagrant foul that would give two free-throws and possession for the Spurs. Derrick White would drain both flagrant free-throws to tie the game at 95-95 with 7:56 left in the game. The Spurs couldn’t get more points as Patty Mills missed the three pointer to keep the game tied with 7:47 left in the game. A wild possession for the Mavericks that would result in Josh Richardson getting two free-throws as part of being fouled. The free-throws were both drilled by Richardson that resulted in the Mavericks breaking the tie by taking a 97-95 lead with 7:09 left in the game. Rick Carlisle would call a timeout with 6:51 left in the game while maintaining a two point lead to give the Mavericks a breather in order to finish the reminder of the game strong. This is was quickly shaping up to be a close finish with every second that goes by as this was still anybody’s game. Coming out of the timeout, the Mavericks turned to Kristaps Porzingis as he was able to convert on a slam dunk to extend their lead to 99-95 with 6:31 left in the game. The Mavericks kept the momentum going by having Luka Doncic find Kristaps Porzingis for a wide open three pointer as he was able to drill it to extend their lead to 102-95 before the Spurs would call a timeout with 5:27 left in the game. If the Mavericks can shoot the ball like this and play good defense then the odds would be in their favor of coming away with a crucial win. Coming out of the timeout, the Spurs turned to Rudy Gay but couldn’t convert as he missed a three pointer to keep the score at 102-95 with 5:06 left in the game. Both teams would go on a scoring drought of nearly 2:00 minutes until Kristaps Porzingis nailed a reverse layup while being fouled with 2:52 left in game. Porzingis was able to finish off the “three point play” by nailing the free-throw to extend their lead to 105-97 with 2:52 left in the game. Luka Doncic was able to give the Mavericks a 10-point lead as a result of making a floating jump shot with 2:17 left in the game to take a 107-97 lead. A nasty step-back three pointer by Luka Doncic with 1:42 left in the game that shocked the crowd, gave the Mavericks some breathing room as that extended their lead to 110-99.
This team looked like the All-Star break affected them a little bit as they were rusty on shooting the ball. The Mavericks kept turning the ball over and over and the Spurs took advantage of the sloppiness by getting points off their turnovers. The Mavericks finished the first half by not having a player score 10+ points as they trailed 59-52 at halftime. This quickly turned into what you would expect between the Spurs and Mavericks as both teams were being competitive, leapfrogging over each other throughout the game.
In the end, it was the Dallas Mavericks defeating the San Antonio Spurs 115-104. The Mavericks record would improve to 19-16 on the season as they extended their winning streak to four games. With that win, the Mavericks have now secured the series win against the Spurs. Luka Doncic finished the game with his 33rd career triple-double with 22 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds in the win. The Spurs were led by DeMar DeRozan as he finished with 30 points and 11 assists . Kristaps Porzingis recorded his eighth double-double of the season as he recorded 28 points and 14 rebounds. The Mavericks are now 7-2 this season when Porzingis records a double-double in the game. The Mavericks continue to be undefeated in the month of March as they are now 3-0 with the win. The Mavericks are now tied with the Spurs for the 7th spot in the western conference. This is the first time this season the Mavericks have been 3 games over .500
The Mavericks will now head to Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in the first road game of the second half of the season and the second game of a back-to-back.