- Created on Friday, 22 April 2011 19:05
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by Travis Pulver
The San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks could make that possibility a reality this season. That is, if they can get back to their winning ways once again.
Neither team is doing poorly. It is still fairly early in the first round of the playoffs as well. However, both teams have also been pushed pretty hard by teams that they should be able to dominate.
Dallas could very easily be in a hole rather than enjoying a 2-1 lead (prior to Game 4 on Saturday). Game 1 was won largely due to the heroics of Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki who scored 52 of the team’s 89 points. The team needed a huge fourth quarter by Nowitzki (14 points) in Game 2 to pull that one out.
In Game 3 Thursday night, the version of the Mavericks that got their head coach to refer to them as soft showed up. Although that word has not been bantered about (yet), the team’s toughness and in some cases intelligence has been questioned.
"He's got to be a little smarter," Dirk Nowitzki said. "(He) got some tough fouls there, obviously, but on the road that's what happens. We just have to overall be a little smarter. He's been a factor for us all year long with his length and athleticism in the paint."
Nowitzki was referring to Tyson Chandler fouling out with over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter and after only being able to play 15 minutes in the game.
The Mavericks have become known as one of the best regular season teams in the league, but one that can’t get the job done in the playoffs. In four of the last five seasons they lost in the first round, as the No 1 seed in 2007 and as the No 2 in 2010.
In San Antonio’s case, it might come down to what people expected to keep the Spurs from winning 60+ games this season—their health.
At one point late in the season San Antonio found itself sitting out four of five starters due to injuries and overall health concerns. Minus Manu Ginobili, who was suffering from a late season injured elbow, in Game 1, the No 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies won their first playoff game in franchise history.
The physical style of play that the Grizzlies have been bringing so far in the series has pushed what could very well be a Spurs team that is too tired for a deep run to the limits. Even with Ginobili back in Game 2, the game was a very close one with the Spurs coming out on top 93-87.
Even with their early struggles, it would be surprising to see the Mavericks or Spurs lose their first round match-ups. What could make an all-Texas Western Conference Finals not happen could be the likely semi-finals opponents, the Los Angeles Lakers for the Mavericks and the young Oklahoma City Thunder for the Spurs.