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Everything Has Changed, Absolutely Nothing’s Changed

By Jeff Koch on March 19, 2011.

San Antonio 97, Dallas 91  //  55-13  //  1st in the West

Not a lot of time to digest last night’s great win against the Mavs as we have a quick turnaround to tonight’s home game, but a few quick points:

–That kind of felt like a game from the championship seasons, no? Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili completely dominated the game scoring 80 of our 97 points; most of our points were scored from Duncan in the post or a guard penetrating, with less emphasis on the 3-ball (though we did shoot it at +40% and got some timely makes in the 4th quarter); and we actually played pretty tenacious and aggressive defense.

–The most interesting thing to me from last night’s game was our crunch-time line-up: Parker, Duncan, Ginobili (to be expected), McDyess, and Gary Neal. Gary Neal? Yes sir. And he has earned it. His development this season has been remarkable, from ‘end of the bench player that is a shooter’ to ‘end of the rotation player who can come in and make some shots’ to ‘one helluva shooter’ to ‘consistent rotation player’ to ‘hey, he actually can do a lot offensively and he’s a pretty clutch shooter’ to ‘he consistently can score 10+ points a night’ to ‘he plays crunch time minutes in a tight game against our most bitter rival over Richard Jefferson and George Hill’. I love him, and can’t wait to see how he responds in the playoffs.

–McDyess showed why he is such an important player for us and why we’ve been keeping him under wraps most of the season. Nobody can stop Nowitzki, but in crunch time, he did a great job guarding him, and even came up with a key steal against the German that led to a fast-break Ginobili dunk that more or less iced the game.

–Parker eats the Mavs defense for breakfast.

–The phrase “playoff intensity” gets thrown around a lot, but this game certainly did have more of an edge to it, which is understandable given the team’s rivalry, playoff positioning, and both teams wanting a win to shore up some bad losses. The game was physical with most every moment hotly contested. It was nice to see our team rise to the occasion and show a little grit.

–With the way the seedings are breaking, this might have been the last meeting between these two teams this season. Mavs-Spurs playoff series have almost become a yearly tradition it feels like, but with the Spurs more or less locked into the 1 seed, and the Mavs and the Lakers fighting for 2 and 3, unless the Mavs can beat the Lakers in the second round, the two teams wouldn’t meet until the Conference Finals (also assuming the Spurs get there as well). I think the Mavs could beat the Lakers, but I think they need to have home court against them. However, with last night’s loss to the Spurs, they fell into the 3 seed, a full game behind the Lakers. All that being said, the Thunder could conceivably catch the Mavs and overtake the 3 seed, dropping the Mavs to the 4 seed, and setting up a potential second round match up between the Mavs and the Spurs. *Sigh* I hate playing the Mavs. Like the title says: everything has changed, absolutely nothing’s changed.

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