Final: Spurs 115, Mavs 108
Box Score | Highlights
Behind the Box Score
Tonight was a matchup of three of the top-four players on the active all-time wins list. Dirk Nowitzki (880) still reigns supreme at the moment, trailed by Tony Parker (831) in second place and Manu Ginobili (734) in fourth place. All three are international players, too, which is pretty awesome. By the way, Jason Terry ranks third on that liast with 752 career Ws. All in all, seven of the top-10 in active wins have played for either the Mavs or Spurs in their career. If you’re telling a story of the NBA’s last 20 seasons, you might as well start with these two teams and work your way down from there. The Lakers won five titles and the Heat peaked high as well, but the two Texas teams sustained longer periods of consistency. It’s very impressive stuff.
As has been the case for a decade or more, the Spurs double-teamed Dirk Nowitzki on the baseline pretty much every time he touched it. They did the same thing to Harrison Barnes, too, and he admitted it caught him by surprise the first time he saw that coverage last season. It makes sense to double on the baseline when you’re working at a size disadvantage because the sideline becomes a third defender and you can play passing lanes to force turnovers. Dirk has seen it forever so it doesn’t necessarily fool him at this point, but it means other players have got to make shots when the ball swings their way. Not many teams double-team Dirk anymore as consistently as San Antonio does. It takes a lot of discipline to do it.
Dwight Powell has been on a nice little run lately and that continued tonight. Powell ended this game with a +20 plus/minus rating, which is pretty astonishing given the final score. He gives the Mavs a vertical roll presence on offense and has quick hands on defense, which leads to a lot of forced steals. He had four of them in this one. The undersized group with him, J.J. Barea, Devin Harris, Yogi Ferrell, and Dirk continues to play really good defense, primarily out of the zone. That unit doesn’t include a wing yet manages to force a lot of tough shots and rebounds the ball well, a good recipe for any lineup.
The Mavs (5-16) will play the Brooklyn Nets (7-12) on Wednesday at American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. Central.