When the Dallas Mavericks got matched up with the San Antonio Spurs I picked the Spurs to win in five games. There was no reason not to. The Spurs had beaten the Mavs nine straight times going into the playoffs and looked like a team on a mission to avenge their loss in the Finals last year.
And yet here we are. The Spurs are up 3-2 in a series that the Mavs have had every opportunity to control. If they don’t all of a sudden become basketball stupid for the last few minutes in game one they win that one. If DeJuan Blair doesn’t get ejected in game five they win that one. If Dirk Nowtizki played like he did on Wednesday night for the whole series, who knows where we’d be. Even if the Mavs lose the series on Friday, it’s hard to consider it a disappointment.
Before this series started started, nobody gave the Mavericks even the smallest chance to win this series against the Spurs. Yet, this team has fought valiantly during every single game during this series and have shown that the nine game winning streak that the Spurs mean nothing.
You could argue that the Spurs should have closed out this series in five had it not been for Vince Carter‘s miraculous game winning shot in game three, but you could also argue the Mavs had the chance to sweep the big bad Spurs, which says a lot.
If we’ve learned anything this series, it’s that it’s not not over until the buzzer sounds. With that being said, there’s no way that this series is over yet. The chances are slim since the Mavs now have to win two straight games against the Spurs, but Dirk Nowitzki finally broke out of his shooting slump on Wednesday so it’s not out of the realm of possibility the Mavs could force a game seven in San Antonio.
The one thing that is for sure: the Mavs are going to play their butts off and aren’t going down without a fight. Dallas has shown everyone that picked them to get slaughtered, including myself, that we were idiots. There’s too much history with the Spurs for them to just roll over. Rick Carlisle is showing that it’s a shame that he wasn’t even considered for Coach of the Year by the voters. This isn’t your typical eighth seed and that’s something all of us should have known going into it.
The Mavs will need Monta Ellis to have a huge game on Friday night and will need Dirk to play like his Hall-of-Fame self to have a chance. And, not to mention they’ll need their defense to go back to what it was earlier in this series.
But no matter what the Mavs will continue to fight and push the Spurs just like they’ve been doing. The same Spurs team that everyone thought would dispatch the Mavs easily.
That’s something to be proud of.