2014 Playoffs Game 6: Mavs vs. Spurs

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Spurs vs. Mavericks: Game 6

Monta Ellis scores 29 points, Dirk Nowitzki adds 22 points as the Spurs top the Mavericks 113-111 to force Game 7 in San Antonio.

DALLAS — Not today.

Entering Friday night’s Game 6 needing to win two games against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in order to advance to the second round of the playoffs, the Dallas Mavericks returned home ready to take one step closer to that goal.

Looking to stave off elimination after falling into a 2-3 series hole with Wednesday’s 109-103 Game 5 loss, the Mavericks attempted to pull even while treating their hometown fans to one more show. Meanwhile, the Spurs tried to corral their in-state rivals at American Airlines Center in hopes of ending the Mavs’ season.

But the Mavericks would refuse to be done in on their home floor while rallying from down five entering the fourth quarter. And after a thrilling 113-111 victory, the Mavericks forced a winner-take-all Game 7 on Sunday in the Spurs’ backyard.

“It’s the ultimate thrill,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said as the Mavs get set for Sunday’s decisive series finale. “You know, it’s win or go home. Everything that happened before is out the window. Nothing matters anymore but just this one game. Great competition, the ultimate competition, and you know, you’ve just got to love it and you’ve got to embrace it. We’re going into a tough environment against a great team, but you know, we’ve just got to embrace the opportunity and just keep playing hard, keep competing.”

Picking up where he left off at after scoring 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss, Nowitzki opened the night with the game’s first make on the initial possession. The 7-footer then got help from the Mavs’ supporting cast before scoring in transition to put the home team up 15-10 with 7:41 left in the first quarter.

Mavs center Samuel Dalembert made his presence felt inside from there while Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green took charge of San Antonio’s attack. Backup big man DeJuan Blair then checked in for Dalembert, looking to make up for lost time after serving a one-game suspension for kicking Spurs center Tiago Splitter during the final minutes of Game 4. A foul by Marco Belinelli on reserve guard Devin Harris while shooting a 3-pointer with .9 seconds remaining in the period and subsequent 2-of-3 trip to the foul line then took the Mavericks into the second stanza with a 34-26 advantage.

“We played better tonight,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our recognition was better and our communication was better. … We played hard all night and kept our crowd into it, and that was a factor as well.”

Taking a 39-28 lead early in the second period on second-year standout Jae Crowder’s 3-pointer from the top of the key, the Mavs tried to further separate themselves from the Spurs in the first half. Instead, the Spurs would stage a rally, climbing within five at 41-36 after Kawhi Leonard’s steal of Nowitzki and breakaway slam with 7:34 left in the half.

But, after the Spurs charged to within one by capitalizing off Dallas’ miscues, Mavs point guard Jose Calderon began to settle his team down. Harris’ three-point play with 3.1 seconds remaining in the half then took the Mavericks into the intermission with a 58-52 margin under their belt.

Led by Nowitzki’s 12 first-half points on 6-of-10 shooting, the Mavericks’ 51 percent from the field as a team bettered the Spurs’ 48.6 percent through two quarters. Meanwhile, thanks to Blair’s nine rebounds off the bench, the Mavs held a 23-19 advantage on the glass, overcoming their eight turnovers.

Stealing the momentum quickly out of halftime, the Spurs again inched within an arm’s reach early in the third quarter. Spurs big man Tim Duncan then gave the visitors a 63-62 edge, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with 8:59 left in the period.

Nowitzki immediately answered out of the timeout, intervening to put the Mavericks back in front while Calderon was attended to in the locker room with a bloody nose. Mavs starting 2-guard Monta Ellis then began to come alive, scoring in an array of ways to keep the Spurs at bay. Still, not even Ellis’ assertiveness or Calderon’s return would prevent the Mavericks from facing an 81-76 deficit heading into the fourth.

“We didn’t have another great third quarter,” Nowitzki admitted. “We talked about they’re a very good third-quarter team and they’re going to hit you with a lot of speed. They normally step up their defensive intensity, so we lost the third quarter by like 11. That wasn’t great, but hey, we said in our huddle before the fourth, ‘You know, this is the season. We’ve got to win this quarter. We’ve got to scramble for each other and play with each other.'”

With bad turning worse early in the final quarter, the Mavs quickly fell behind by seven as Splitter connected on a pair at the foul line. But sixth man Vince Carter provided an answer, draining a 3-pointer from the wing. Calderon followed suit, swishing a trey from the corner to make it an 83-82 deficit with 10:16 left to play.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker answered at the other end, however, connecting on back-to-back buckets to extend San Antonio’s lead back to five. Parker followed that with a triple to answer a jumper at the other end by Nowitzki, forcing a timeout by Carlisle with the Mavs in a 90-86 hole and 7:19 remaining.

Carter again looked to step up, draining a jumper before splitting a pair at the foul line to make it a three-point game. Nowitzki follow that with a vintage fadeaway, bringing the Mavs back within one midway through the quarter. But it would be Ellis that would put the Mavericks back in front, pulling up for a three on the wing. Nowitzki then found Blair inside, putting the Mavs up 97-92 after his three-point play with 4:25 still on the clock.

Ellis continued to attack from there, converting an and-one score of his own to put the Mavs up 100-94 with 3:22 left. And after Ellis’ soaring finger roll layup put the Mavs up eight, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich wisely signaled for a timeout with 2:55 to respond.

But the Spurs refused to go quietly, getting a triple from big man Boris Diaw immediately out of the timeout. Manu Ginobili then brought the Spurs even closer with two free throws. Harris and Parker exchanged scores from there, leading to Ellis’ driving layup. Yet again Parker would have an answer. And after Parker’s spinning lay-in made it six straight San Antonio points, Carlisle called for a timeout with the Mavs up just 106-105 and 49.4 ticks left to hold on.

Carter would have a response, however, driving through the lane and forcing his way to the foul line, where he calmly connected on two free throws to extend the lead to three with 32.5 seconds still remaining. The Dallas defense then stiffened, leading to Blair’s steal on a Parker pass to Duncan inside. Blair then split a pair at the charity stripe after a foul by Parker, extending the Mavs’ lead to four with 28.3 ticks to play.

Blair again hit one of two at the line after collecting a rebound on a miss by Leonard. But this time Mavs forward Shawn Marion would collect the offensive board, connecting on two foul shots of his own with 20.8 seconds left. But, even after two more clutch free throws by Elllis, the Mavericks weren’t out of the woods safely after Patty Mills swished a 3-pointer to make it a 113-111 score with 7.0 seconds on the clock. Ellis’ turnover then sent the ball back over to the Spurs with 1.3 seconds left. And after an inbound sequence and reset left the Spurs with just .4 ticks to respond, Mills wouldn’t be able to get a shot off before time expired.

Scoring 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Ellis led the Mavericks to the victory while finishing off an 11-of-22 shooting performance.

“My teammates just told me to be aggressive,” Ellis modestly said. “You know, throughout the game they told me, ‘We’re going to keep it close and then the fourth quarter is yours.’ You know, [Mavs owner] Mark Cuban told me the same thing and coach Carlisle. And my teammates just believed in me, so the only I had to do was go out there and respond. Take what the defense gave me, pick my poison when I want to take the jumpshot and when I want to attack the basket, and I just had to be more aggressive.”

Nowitzki added 22 points on 11-of-20 shooting as six Mavs scored in double figures. Carter pitched in 13 points off the bench and Calderon registered 12 points to go along with six assists. Meanwhile, Harris recored 11 points in a reserve role and Blair finished with a double- double after scoring 10 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

“Everybody played great,” Blair said after downing his former team. “We sustained the energy down the line. I know they hit a couple threes, but we kept our head and hit a few big free throws at the end.”

Parker led six Spurs in double figures with 22 points on 10-of-23 shooting. The Spurs’ 53.3 percent shooting as a team also bettered the Mavs’ 51.7 percent. Still, thanks to Blair’s monster night on the glass, the Mavs finished with a 40-39 rebounding edge to make up for the 15 points they allowed off 16 turnovers.

“Our guys knew what was at stake today, and we’re in a situation where we know what’s at stake Sunday,” Carlisle concluded while turning his attention to Game 7. “We’ve got a lot of veteran guys that have been in a lot of playoff games and a lot of big games, and our biggest thing is we’ve got to communicate well, we’ve got to really help each out at both ends of the court and we’ve got to play at a break-neck level of intensity without being frantic and without losing our poise. That’s what it’s about. And hey, they’ve got a great building, their fans are fantastic, but we’ve got to really just concentrate on us.”

Note: The Mavericks return to San Antonio for Game 7 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs on Sunday. The series is tied at 3-3. Game 7 will air nationally on ABC and locally on TXA 21 at 2:30 p.m. CT.




All Stats

K. Leonard, F 34 4-9 1-2 3-4 0 6 6 1 3 0 1 4 7 12
T. Duncan, F 33 7-9 0-0 2-2 3 6 9 4 0 2 1 5 0 16
T. Splitter, C 32 4-7 0-1 11-12 2 6 8 2 2 0 0 2 -10 19
D. Green, G 29 7-7 2-2 1-2 0 5 5 0 0 2 2 1 -1 17
T. Parker, G 36 10-23 1-2 1-2 0 3 3 6 0 0 5 3 -1 22
B. Diaw 22 3-5 1-2 2-2 0 2 2 0 2 0 0 2 0 9
M. Ginobili 23 1-8 0-5 4-4 1 2 3 5 1 0 3 3 -9 6
P. Mills 15 4-6 2-2 0-0 0 2 2 2 1 0 2 2 1 10
M. Belinelli 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
M. Bonner 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
J. Ayres 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0
A. Baynes 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Daye 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. James 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Joseph 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   40-75 7-16 24-28 6 33 39 21 9 4 14 26   111
    53.3% 43.8%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 25 3-6 0-1 1-3 1 3 4 2 0 0 0 2 -3 7
D. Nowitzki, F 38 11-20 0-3 0-0 0 5 5 3 0 0 4 3 -2 22
S. Dalembert, C 18 3-4 0-0 0-0 4 0 4 0 1 1 2 2 -5 6
M. Ellis, G 34 11-22 3-6 4-6 0 2 2 2 1 0 5 1 -4 29
J. Calderon, G 32 5-9 2-3 0-0 1 4 5 6 1 0 1 2 6 12
V. Carter 27 4-6 2-4 3-4 2 4 6 2 1 0 1 3 13 13
D. Blair 28 3-10 0-0 4-7 5 9 14 1 4 0 2 3 11 10
D. Harris 25 4-8 0-0 3-4 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 1 3 11
J. Crowder 8 1-2 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 -9 3
W. Ellington 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. James 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Larkin 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Ledo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Mekel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
B. Wright 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   45-87 8-18 15-24 13 27 40 18 8 2 15 20   113
    51.7% 44.4%                      

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Postgame: Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis addresses the media following the Game 6 win over the Spurs to force Game 7.

Postgame: Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki addresses the media following the Game 6 win over the Spurs.

Postgame: DeJuan Blair

Mavs.com's Lonnie Franklin III goes one-on-one with DeJuan Blair, who had a huge double-double against the Spurs in Game 6.

Postgame: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion talks with Lonnie Franklin III about how big the crowd was at home in Game 6, the team's mentality heading into Game 7 and more.

Postgame: Devin Harris

Mavs G Devin Harris says the difference in Game 6 was the team's collective effort on defense and that they like their chances heading into Game 7 on Sunday.

Postgame: Rick Carlisle

Rick Carlisle addresses the media following the Game 6 win over the Spurs to force Game 7.

Move The Ball

The Mavericks move the ball and Dirk Nowitzki fires the pass inside to Shawn Marion for the easy jam in the paint.

No Stopping

With the first half coming to a close, Devin Harris splits the trap on the drive, hits the layup and draws the foul.

Quick First Step

Monta Ellis blows by Boris Diaw to the cup and converts the layup.

Pure Athleticism

Monta Ellis barrels into the lane, draws the foul, and still manages to convert the layup.

Blair’s And-One

Dirk Nowitzki feeds DeJuan Blair under the rim who fakes then hits the layup drawing the foul.

Calderon In The Corner

Devin Harris drives drawing the defense, and finds Jose Calderon who drills the corner triple.

DALLAS — Sitting alone in his San Antonio hotel room, Dallas Mavericks reserve big man DeJuan Blair was forced to watch helplessly as his team fell to a 109-103 Game 5 defeat Wednesday night.

Serving a one-game suspension for an ejection in Game 4 after kicking Spurs center Tiago Splitter in the head with 3:08 remaining, Blair was unable to assist the Mavericks in taking down his former team. However, after scoring 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting and recording a double-double with 11 rebounds in just less than 16 minutes of work before being ejected, Blair now hopes to return and provide a spark as the Mavericks try to stave off elimination.

“I mean, everybody in the world knows how anxious I am to get back out there and compete and try to get us to a Game 7, so [Friday] is going to be tough and hard-fought,” Blair said as the Mavs try to work out of a 2-3 series hole. “But, you know, we’ve just got to come out here and play our game. I think we got away from it [Wednesday] and they came out and hit us hard. … We’ve just got to come in and feed off the crowd. You know, get the crowd into the game and just play hard.”

However, Blair’s return to the lineup alone will likely not be enough to help the Mavericks even the series and force a Game 7 on Sunday.

Allowing five San Antonio scorers to reach double figures in Wednesday’s loss, the Dallas defense was unable to prevent the Spurs’ offensive onslaught. Friday night, though, the Mavericks hope to be saying a different story, looking to make the proper defensive corrections in front of their hometown crowd.

“You know, we’ve got to change where it’s appropriate and we’ve got to evaluate how much we need to change and how much we just need to do better,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle explained following Friday’s morning shootaround. “Look, they’ve got a bunch of really good players and playmakers, and so they’re going to make it hard on you regardless of the coverage. We want to keep things simple, but we’ve got to do things hard and we’ve got to do things right.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs on Friday night. San Antonio leads the series 3-2. Game 6 will air nationally on ESPN and locally on TXA 21 at 7 p.m. CT.

The series schedule is as follows:

Game 6 : San Antonio at Dallas CT, 7 p.m. CT on ESPN and TXA 21, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4



DALLAS — Undismayed by Wednesday’s Game 5 loss, the Dallas Mavericks return home with their season on the line.

Looking to bounce back from a 109-103 road defeat in San Antonio to fall into a 2-3 hole in their first-round series, the Mavericks will attempt to stave off elimination Friday night at American Airlines Center. And with a win in front of their hometown fans, the Mavs will try to force the series back to San Antonio for a Game 7 on Sunday.

“We know it’s possible, but now we have to figure this puzzle out once again,” Mavs sixth man Vince Carter said. “I mean, I think it’s always a new puzzle each game you go into, especially when you’re playing in a seven-game series. It’s always something a little different, so now it’s really not much to change. It’s just now our effort, and we have to go out there and lay it on the line.”

Leading the Mavs with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting, Carter laid it all on the line Wednesday while also hitting seven of his nine shots from behind the 3-point arc. Perhaps more importantly, the Mavs got 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki going with 14 of his 26 points coming in the fourth quarter to go along with a game-high 15 rebounds.

Still, it will take much more from the two ageless stars in order to extend the Mavs’ season.

“We’ve been basically in the playoffs for a couple of weeks now,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki explained after the team’s late push to get into the postseason. “We had to go on a heck of a finish at the end (of the regular season) to even make it in, so yeah, we’ve been in plenty of big games and we’ll see. The way you’ve got to look at it is you’ve got to win one home game. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ll worry about everything else after that. So, you know, it’s a fun setup [Friday]. One game to win at home, and we’re going to go for it.”

In order to capture a win on their home floor, however, the Mavericks will admittedly have to make several adjustments from Game 5.

Led by Tony Parker’s 23 points on 9-of-23 shooting, the Spurs finished Wednesday’s outing with five players in double figures. The Spurs also surrendered just six turnovers while finishing with a 54-28 advantage in the paint, outshooting the Mavs as a team in the process, 46.6 percent to 43.8 percent, as both squads battled to a 47-all rebounding stalemate.

And after making the proper corrections, it’s the defensive side of the ball that the Mavericks hope can carry them to a win in front of their home crowd.

“Our defense has got to be better,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle confessed. “You know, they had eight threes, 50 percent on threes, they got a big paint number, and really they just kind of had it going all night.”

“We’ve just got to have a little more energy about our defense,” Nowitzki echoed. “What’d they have, [six] turnovers? I mean, that’s a joke in a 48-minute game. You know, we’ve got to be more energetic and get some deflections, get into them a little more. We’ve got to be the more aggressive team on Friday for sure, if we want to win.”

Note: The Mavericks return to American Airlines Center for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Spurs on Friday night. San Antonio leads the series 3-2. Game 6 will air nationally on ESPN and locally on TXA 21 at 7 p.m. CT.

The series schedule is as follows:

Game 6 : San Antonio at Dallas CT, 7 p.m. CT on ESPN and TXA 21, Friday, May 2
Game 7 (if necessary): Dallas at San Antonio CT, TBD, Sunday, May 4