Dallas didn’t relent in Game 2 after watching a 10-point lead evaporate in the final eight minutes of the series opener Sunday.
“Game 1 actually helped a lot more than today,” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We were down after Game 1, but in this building to be up 10 with six or seven minutes left, I think that gave us a lot of confidence coming into this one. Just keep executing the game plan.”
If not for the final eight minutes of the series opener, the Mavericks would have a 2-0 lead entering Game 3 on Saturday.
“It feels great, but it’s nothing to celebrate,” Dallas point guard Jose Calderon said. “I think we have to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we played two really good games.”
In Game 2, the Mavericks used an aggressive offense and a brutal defensive effort that discombobulated the normally even-keeled Spurs, who finished the regular season with the league’s best record.
Manu Ginobili had 27 points, Tony Parker added 12 and Tim Duncan 11 for the Spurs, who did not have any other player score more than seven points.
“They beat us in every aspect of the game,” Ginobili said. “They played harder. Our defense was soft (and) not as aggressive as theirs. Not that I don’t expect them to play hard. We know they are a tough team, but having such a poor performance in the playoffs bothers me.”
San Antonio’s ineptness had as much to do with tying the series as Dallas‘ stellar play. The Spurs averaged 14.4 turnovers during the regular season, but had 15 with 3 minutes left in the first half. They finished with 24 turnovers, which resulted in 33 points for the Mavericks.
“Just being very active,” Ellis said. “Not put them on the free-throw line. Trust that the help was going to be there. We locked in to the game plan that we had. They made some careless turnovers. That was good for us.”
Dallas was extremely physical in the first half whenever Parker and Ginobili drove the lane.
“NBA playoff games are physical,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “If you don’t have the right kind of posture and disposition, you’re going to knocked back on your heels and your butt and tonight we did a better job of hitting first in some of those instances.”