Dallas, TX — After trailing for three full quarters, the San Antonio Spurs (26-20) had to mount a full-blown comeback in a 105-101 win over the Dallas Mavericks (20-24) on Wednesday night.
With the Mavericks on the verge of victory, the Spurs went on a 9-2 run with eight minutes left in the fourth to stretch their lead to 96-90 and eventually secured the win.
Before halftime, the Mavericks’ offense was in full swing. In the first quarter alone, they went 7-of-11 from the three-point line. The Spurs struggled to score 20 points to the Mavs’ 35. At the start of the second quarter, the Spurs began whittling down their 15-point deficit to 11 by forcing Dallas to turn the ball over six times.
By the end of the secondframe, every person on the Spurs bench had managed to score. For the Mavs, Luka Doncic tallied 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists. In addition to Doncic, Dorian Finney-Smith and Maxi Kleber provided offensive and defensive sparks, scoring seven points and two rebounds a piece respectively.
At the end of the first half, the Mavericks held a 56-45 lead.
Going into the second half, the pace of the game drastically changed. Marco Belinelli managed a critical three at the end of the third quarter to bring the Spurs within five. When the game was tied 90-90, DeMar DeRozan drained two jump shots that resulted in the Mavs calling a timeout. From there, Doncic forced his way to the rim with layups to try and put the game away for Dallas.
In the end, Doncic and company were unable to secure a win despite his great performance (25 points, eight assists and eight rebounds).
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich summed up tonight’s win as a stroke of professional luck, considering their horrid first quarter performance.
“Thankfully NBA games are 48 minutes,” Popovich said. “We spotted them 12 minutes and didn’t really compete, just followed them around. I thought in the second, third and fourth quarters we competed. That was the big difference in the game for us. It shows in your pace on offense, it shows in defense.”
When Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was asked post-game what he disliked about his team’s defense late in the game, he replied “any of it.”
He further elaborated with frustration clearly on his mind.
“We just did not play with enough force on our end,” Carlisle said. “We had opportunities… But I just remember them getting key loose balls and us not getting them and just some critical defensive mistakes.”
The Dallas Mavericks have now lost two straight very close home games. They will have a few days to regroup before traveling to take on the Indiana Pacers while the San Antonio Spurs will turn around and take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.