Alright Mavs fans, tonight we finally got to see our new lineup play a game that mattered… game 1 of the regular season, and against our biggest rival. In the first few minutes it looked like both teams were a little too excited. Shots were off target and ball handling was a little sloppy on both ends, but that didn’t last too long. Less than 3 minutes into the game, Chandler Parsons welcomed himself to the team by driving past Belinelli and slamming it on Tim Duncan. He already looks like a perfect fit in Dallas. All in the first quarter, we immediately got to see Tyson Chandler grab offensive boards again and defend Duncan, Jameer Nelson hitting threes, Dirk hitting shots as usual and Devin Harris came off the bench with Brandan Wright for a quick alley-oop… it’s obvious that the new additions are a great fit and the team is already solid all around with a strong bench. Carlisle should have a lot of fun this year with all the different combinations of weapons he can put on the floor. The Spurs also made some changes during the offseason, as they have Becky Hammon (former WNBA player) as an assistant coach, and Greg Popovich grew a beard. It looks like the Mavs are a more improved team.
In the second quarter we got to see others like Crowder, Aminu and Jefferson each do a little damage too, and Monta scored 8 straight points for Dallas to close out the 2nd quarter. The first half ended DAL 53 SA 45 and it just felt like Dallas was in control. The Spurs hit a few shots to start the third quarter, and then the refs called a BS foul on Tyson Chandler, which then led to a technical against him and he had to sit down for a while. Momentum shifted to the Spurs and they took the lead, but after a couple free throws and a jumper by Dirk, the Mavs were back up by a point midway through the 3rd. After that, Dirk got some rest but the Mavs kept the score close without Dirk and Tyson with great scoring by Ellis and defense by Crowder and the rest.
Tyson Chandler jumped back into the game at the start of the fourth quarter and kept a possession alive by tapping the ball back to Jefferson, which led to a conversation among the announcers on whether or not he is the best “back-tapper” in recent years in the NBA. Then the Spurs went on a little run and took a 9 point lead, but then Dirk followed a jumper with a couple free throws to cut the lead back down to 5. The Spurs then went back up by 10 with less than 6:30 left and it looked like the game was slipping away but Devin Harris hit a big 3 and a nice drive by Ellis past Duncan cut the lead back down to 5. Parsons later hit another big 3 pointer to cut the lead down to 2 with 2:36 left and this game was up for grabs again.
After a nice little fadeaway jumper by Dirk, the announcers agreed that Tyson is the “back-tapper” and Dirk is the “step-backer”. Spurs were up by only 2 points with 2 minutes to go… Monta hit a couple free throws to tie the game again, and after Duncan missed from right under basket Dirk hit another jumper and Dallas was up by 2. Things were looking good but then Parker hit a big three and once again the Spurs were up by 1. These teams were battling back and forth as usual.
Dallas had the ball for what looked like the last possession of the game with a chance to win. The Spurs played good defense and Dallas moved the ball around until time was running out forcing Parsons to take a long 3 point attempt that was just short. It looked like the game was over but a foul was called on the rebound that gave made the Spurs inbound the ball with 0.4 seconds left. Somehow Harris stole the inbound pass and launched it for one last chance that unfortunately missed as well…. Final score: San Antonio 101 Dallas 100.
So the Mavs start the season 0-1, but it was a loss to the defending champions on their home court. The Spurs are for the most part the same team as last year, but the Mavs roster is very different so we can expect the chemistry to improve over time. This Mavs team is a real contender and there’s a lot more hoops to play.