SAN ANTONIO SPURS (63-21)
at DALLAS MAVERICKS (50-34)
NBA Playoffs - Western Conference First Round
Game 3 - Series tied 1-1
Tip-off: Saturday 4:35 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -3.5, Total: 202.5
After a huge road win in Game 2, the Mavericks hope to keep momentum when they host the Spurs in a pivotal Game 3 on Saturday afternoon.
After giving away the series opener late and falling 90-85, Dallas made sure it left San Antonio with a win as it rolled to a shocking 113-92 victory as 7.5-point underdogs in one of the toughest atmospheres in the NBA. The Mavs outscored their opponent in each quarter of the game and forced 22 turnovers against a Spurs club that is known for keeping the ball out of the opposition’s hands. The turnovers were the difference in the game (Dallas had just 7 TO), as San Antonio had the shooting advantage (50.0% FG compared to 48.9% FG), but allowed its opponent to score 33 points off of turnovers and grab 14 offensive rebounds, leading to a telling 44-28 advantage for points in the paint. The Mavericks had great offensive balance with five different players scoring 12+ points, including a team-high 21 by SG Monta Ellis. The only one of the Spurs “big three” that really made an impact in Game 2 was SG Manu Ginobili, who posted a game-high 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting. This win snapped a 10-game losing series streak for Dallas, which was just 3-7 ATS in those 10 straight defeats to San Antonio. The series now shifts to American Airlines Center where the Mavs were 26-15 SU (but only 17-24 ATS) in the regular season. But they will really have their work cut out for them against the Spurs who were the best road team in the league with a 30-11 SU record (25-16 ATS). Both teams have multiple positive betting trends for this contest, as San Antonio is 14-3 ATS (82%) after a home loss over the past two seasons, and 26-13 ATS (67%) after a combined score of 205+ points this season. Dallas is 45-29 ATS (61%) in the underdog role in the past two seasons, and 24-11 ATS (69%) versus poor pressure defenses (14 turnovers or less per game) this season. There are no significant injuries for either team for Saturday, and the Mavericks expect that SF Shawn Marion, who left after Game 2 to witness the birth of his first child, will play on Saturday.
The Spurs had one of the most efficient teams in the NBA during the regular season with a league-best 25.2 APG and only 14.1 TOPG, but in the postseason, they have managed just 15.5 APG and 17.0 TOPG. PG Tony Parker (16.5 PPG, 4.5 APG in series) has shot 14-for-26 (54% FG) over the first two games of this series, but played just 26 minutes in the Game 2 loss while scoring only 12 points. He has averaged better than 20 PPG in each of the team's past two playoff runs and is averaging 19.1 PPG over 175 career postseason games (167 starts). PF Tim Duncan (19.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG in series) seemed to run out of gas after the first game, as he took just five shots on Wednesday for 11 points and seven rebounds. This could be a concern for the Spurs, as he played more games this year (74) than he had in each of the previous two seasons where he averaged 63.5 games per year. SG Manu Ginobili (22.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.5 APG in series) was the only player to really do well in Wednesday's loss as he put up 27 points while hitting a solid 5-of-6 from three-point range. He will need to continue to perform at a high level for his top-seeded team to avoid an upset in the first round. That may be tough though, as he has averaged only 14.0 PPG (40% FG) to go along with 4.3 APG and 4.2 RPG over 39 career games (21 starts) when facing the Mavericks.
Dallas had a tremendous collective effort in its Game 2 victory over the Spurs on Wednesday night with five players scoring in double-digits and four players grabbing multiple steals. PF Dirk Nowitzki (13.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 1.0 SPG in series) has made just 11-of-33 shots (33% FG) in the series thus far, and is fourth on the team in scoring in the first two contests. He has always had his troubles against the powerhouse that is San Antonio though, averaging his third-lowest PPG (20.9) against them over his career, including just 18.5 PPG (48% FG) in the four losses facing them in the regular season. SG Monta Ellis (16.0 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 2.5 SPG in series) had a team-high 21 points on Wednesday while shooting 8-of-20 from the floor. He has only four total assists over the first two games, a much lower number than the 5.7 APG that he averaged during the regular season. PG Devin Harris (18.5 PPG, 5.0 APG in series) is leading the team in points during the early going of the postseason while hitting his shots at an incredible clip (15-for-25, 60% FG). He missed 42 games during the regular season and actually did very poorly (8.0 PPG, 24% FG) when facing the Spurs in two games, but could create a new fold that San Antonio was not ready for. SF Shawn Marion (14.0 PPG in series), Jose Calderon (9.5 PPG in series) and SG Vince Carter (9.0 PPG in series) bring the team's total number of players scoring 9+ PPG to six, showing how well the Mavs have spread out their shots so far. C DeJuan Blair (4.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG in series) also provided a great spark off the bench on Wednesday with eight points, seven rebounds, four steals and a +13 rating in just 14 minutes of action.