NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Sunday, May 4th
(All times Eastern)
(8) Dallas Mavericks (3-3) at (1) San Antonio Spurs (3-3), 3:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The storied rivalry between the San Antonio Spurs and
Dallas Mavericks will add a new chapter Sunday afternoon when the two teams
meet for Game 7 of this Western Conference quarterfinal at AT&T Center.
For the second time in the Tim Duncan/Dirk Nowitzki era, these two perennial
titans will clash in a Game 7.
In the 2006 Western Conference semifinals, Dallas prevailed in the critical
final game. Since Nowitzki turned the Mavericks into a title contender, they
are 4-0 in Game 7s.
Duncan's Spurs have won four titles under his stewardship and his San Antonio
team is 2-2 in Game 7s.
This series finale will be in San Antonio, which owned the best record in the
NBA this season.
"You play the whole season to have a Game 7 at home," Spurs guard Tony Parker
If the Mavs, who won Game 2 in San Antonio, prevail, it will mark the sixth
time a No. 8 seed has bested a No. 1 seed. It will also be the second time the
dubious distinction happened to the Spurs, who fell in round one three years
ago to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Game 7 is necessary because the Mavericks defended their home court in Game 6
Monta Ellis led a fourth-quarter surge and finished with 27 points Friday as
Dallas forced a winner-take-all Game 7 in San Antonio with a hard-fought
Ellis scored 12 of his 29 points in crunch time, but nearly wiped it all away
when he threw an ill-advised pass out of bounds with 1.3 seconds remaining to
give the Spurs one final look.
Patty Mills' off-balanced shot at the buzzer was well short and came after the
clock struck zero.
"My teammates just told me to be aggressive," Ellis said. "My team just
believed in me, and I just had to go out there and respond."
Nowitzki chimed in with 22 points and Dallas' deep supporting cast came up
with big plays down the stretch, notably former Spur DeJuan Blair.
Parker netted 13 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Spurs, who
led 81-76 entering the fourth and appeared in control before the Mavs rattled
off nine straight points midway through the frame.
Ellis hit a go-ahead 3-pointer during the run and Blair, who was suspended for
Game 5 after kicking Tiago Splitter in the head the previous game, capped it
with a three-point play for a 97-92 Mavericks lead with 4:25 to play.
After some sensational play from Parker, the margin was one.
Dallas' Vince Carter made it a three-point game with two free throws, and
Blair picked off a Parker pass intended for Duncan under the basket, forcing
the Spurs to foul the rest of the way.
Dallas made 5-of-8 free throws and hung on despite Ellis' head-scratching
turnover in the closing seconds.
The winner will meet the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday. If it's San
Antonio, Game 1 of the conference semifinals will be in Alamo City, but if
Dallas prevails in Game 7, the series opener of the second round will be in
05/04 10:36:36 ET