Final: Spurs 112, Mavs 83
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
The Mavs held the Spurs to just 14 points in the first quarter. It was the best defensive frame against San Antonio since Jan. 5, 2012, when the Spurs mustered 11 points. Unfortunately Dallas only scored 16 itself, so it was still tight in the opening frame. Regardless, it was the first time Dallas led in San Antonio after the first quarter, which shows not only how good the Spurs are at home, but also how well you have to play in order to have the advantage even after 12 minutes.
This was just kind of one of those nights. Open shots weren’t falling, and when that happens against the Spurs you’re in for a tough night. San Antonio is the best defense in the league by far, so you’ve got to take advantages of the opportunities you have when you can get them. Dallas did a good job of keeping the game competitive through the first half, but a big third-quarter run opened the game up for the Spurs. Rick Carlisle would later get ejected for arguing calls, hinting that he’d seen enough of what was going on. The Mavs fortunately can’t dwell on this game for long, as they have a game tomorrow night at home against the Boston Celtics.
It’s always fun to see Rick Carlisle try new things with Wesley Matthews on the defensive side of things. One game after holding Jimmy Butler to just 4 points — one night after hanging 53 on Philly — Matthews began this game guarding Tony Parker. He also spent time guarding Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard. Unfortunately he got into foul trouble in the first quarter so he had to leave the game early, but the fact remains that Matthews is the defensive force on the perimeter the Mavs desperately needed after last season. He’s been so fun to watch in Dallas.
Dwight Powell hit his first three-pointer of the season in this game, knocking one down from the right corner. It’s a shot he’s worked hard to add to his repertoire this season. If he can reliably drain those looks moving forward, he could potentially earn some more minutes moving forward. The Mavs certainly enjoy his energy on defense and the glass, but without extended range at the 4 spot, it’s tough to play him in situations where the Mavericks want to space the floor. That’s why stretch-4s are so important in this league. The good news is Powell works hard every day and already has talent in several other aspects of his game, so if he can add that three-ball, he has the chance to be a special player.
The Mavs (23-19) play the Boston Celtics (22-19) Monday at American Airlines Center. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. Central.