In a year where seedings mean absolutely nothing in the postseason, the Dallas Mavericks are leaving San Antonio feeling like this isn’t a typical 1-8 match up.
Dallas tied the series at one, but know it should be up 2-0 heading back to the American Airlines Center for Game 3 on April 26.
The Spurs, who have dominated recent history with their in-state rivals, finished Game 1 on a 19-4 run with a 90-85 victory on April 20.
Dallas got off to a rough start, missing seven of its first eight shots and trailed 21-12 after one. The 12 points marked a season-low for points in a quarter.
Devin Harris sparked a 15-0 run heading into the second as the Mavs took a 24-21 lead, and led 44-43 at halftime. Harris scored 11 during the run and 10 of his 13 first-half points in the second quarter.
After a three-point play from Brandan Wright, Dallas had its largest lead of the night, 81-71 with 7:45 left to play.
That’s where things began to fall apart.
San Antonio won its 10th straight over Dallas after the Mavericks finished the game 1-of-13 from the floor. The lone basket came from Harris at the buzzer.
Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis struggled from the field, both finishing with 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting. The duo averaged 40.7 points a game in the regular season.
It was Nowitzki’s fourth-lowest playoff mark and second-lowest against the Spurs in the playoffs.
The duo scored 14 in the first half, nine from Ellis, but only eight in the second half, two from Ellis.
Harris had a team-high 19, which led to 46 bench points for Dallas. The Spurs finished the regular season with the most points off the bench, but was held to just 23, 17 from Manu Ginobili, in Game 1.
San Antonio went just 3-of-17 from behind the arc, but was able to outscore Dallas 56-32 and 13-3 inside the paint and in fast-break points, respectively.
Game 2 was more of the same, but this time around, the Mavs were able to close out, 113-92 to tie the series up on April 23.
Dallas struggled in the opening quarter, but still found itself with a 24-23 lead after one.
Nowitzki also continued to struggle, missing his first six shots. He would finish the half with nine on 4-of-12 shooting.
The Mavericks used a 17-5 spurt to lead 56-41 with 2:30 left in the second after Nowitzki knocked down a 27-foot 3-pointer.
San Antonio used a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to five entering the break.
Ginobili matched his Game 1 total in the first half with 17 points. He scored 12 in the second, eight during the run.
Dallas went up eight to open the third after a jumper from Nowitzki and 3-pointer from Shawn Marion. Marion finished with 20 points, five boards, three steals and two assists.
The Spurs got within seven after Ginobili’s three with four minutes left in the quarter, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
Ellis led five players with 21 points. Nowitzki added 16 on 7-of-19 shooting.
Jose Calderon went scoreless in the first half, but scored all 12 of his points during the decisive third quarter.
Harris led the bench with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, five dimes, four rebounds and two 3-pointers.
The Mavericks fared much better in fast-break points and points in the paint, outscoring the Spurs 17-12 and 44-28, respectively, but Dallas got most of its points off San Antonio turnovers.
The Spurs finished the season averaging 14 turnovers a game, but committed 24 during Game 2, which led to a season-high 33 points for the Mavs. Dallas’ previous high was 30 (twice).
Through two games, Nowitzki is averaging 15 points on 11-of-33 shooting (33 percent). Harris leads the way with 18.5 points a game.
Tim Duncan scored a game-high 27 points in Game 1, but was limited to just 11 points on five shot attempts in Game 2.
The league’s best bench dropped 51 in Game 2, but 27 came from Ginobili, who shot 9-of-12 and 5-of-6 from downtown.
San Antonio’s starters were limited to 41 points in Game 2 while the Mavs’ starters contributed 73.
The Mavericks also held the advantage in steals during Game 2, 13-1, and got to the free-throw line 16 times, hitting 15 of them compared to 9-of-13 in Game 1.
Game 3 will tip off at 4:30 p.m. ET. Game 4 will be on April 28. Both games will be aired on TNT.
This is the sixth playoff meeting between the rivals, all since the arrival of Nowitzki and Duncan. Game 2 marked the 80th overall meeting between the two future first-ballot hall-of-famers.
San Antonio has won three of the first five playoff match ups, winning 17 of 31 games.
With the win in Game 2, the Mavericks snapped the 10-game losing skid to the Spurs. Their last win versus San Antonio came March 17, 2012.
It also snapped a five-game playoff-losing streak. The Mavericks were swept by the Thunder in the 2012 first round and their last win came in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Heat on June 12, 2011.
It ALSO snapped an eight-game losing streak at the AT&T Center in San Antonio. The Mavs’ last win on the road in the series came all the way back on Nov. 26, 2010.
The Mavericks are in hopes of taking a 3-1 series lead. They finished 26-15 at home while the Spurs were an NBA-best 30-11 on the road.
Dallas ended the season .500, 5-5, in its final 10 home games.