Final

Dallas wins series 4-3 (Game 1 of 7)

Dallas wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, May 7th
Mavericks85Final
Spurs87
Game 2: Tuesday, May 9th
Mavericks113Final
Spurs91
Game 3: Saturday, May 13th
Spurs103Final
Mavericks104
Game 4: Monday, May 15th
Spurs118Final
OT
Mavericks123
Game 5: Wednesday, May 17th
Mavericks97Final
Spurs98
Game 6: Friday, May 19th
Spurs91Final
Mavericks86
Game 7: Monday, May 22nd
Mavericks119Final
OT
Spurs111

Mavericks 85

(60-22, 26-15 away)

Spurs 87

(63-19, 34-7 home)

12:00 PM ET, May 7, 2006

AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 29 23 20 1385
SA 26 20 25 1687

Top Performers

Dallas: D. Nowitzki 20 Pts, 14 Reb, 2 Stl

San Antonio: T. Duncan 31 Pts, 13 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

Duncan, Bowen help Spurs hand Mavs first playoff loss

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Avery Johnson should've known better than to underestimate Tim Duncan. Especially in the playoffs.

Daily Dime
Bruce Bowen didn't merely drape himself all over Dirk Nowitzki's body. He also crawled into his head.

To read more of Sunday night's Daily Dime, click here.

In the opener of a second-round series against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Johnson took the calculated risk of letting his former teammate go against his centers with only limited help.

Duncan, a three-time Finals MVP who teamed with Johnson for the Spurs' 1999 championship, made the strategy backfire by scoring 20 of his 31 points in the first half, giving his worn-out teammates the lift they needed to pull out an 87-85 victory Sunday.

"Timmy was awesome," teammate Tony Parker said. "When he plays like that, it makes it easy for everybody."

The Spurs were playing just 36 hours after closing out their first-round series in Sacramento, while the Mavs had been off since Monday.

Both teams, however, had been bracing for this meeting most of the season because of a flaw in the NBA's seeding system that forced them to meet in the second round, regardless of the fact they both hit 60 wins.

Spurs vs. Mavs: Last three meetings
Date At half Result
May 5 Mavs led 52-46 Spurs won by three
Apr. 7 Spurs led 53-51 Mavs won by six
March 2 Mavs led 38-36 Spurs won by nine

Neither team needed much time to prepare for the other, anyway, considering all the ties between them -- from Johnson's time in San Antonio and his close relationship with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to San Antonio reserve Michael Finley having spent the last nine years on the Mavericks.

But at game's end, when the difference should've benefited Dallas the most, it was San Antonio that persevered -- thanks mostly to Bruce Bowen.

Bowen hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:15 left that ended up being the winner. His biggest contribution, though, was pestering Dirk Nowitzki into a forgettable game with what Johnson called "bear-hug defense."

Nowitzki was 8-of-20 for 20 points after averaging 31.3 in the first round. It was a bit of redemption for Bowen after not living up to his first-team All-Defense reputation against Sacramento's Bonzi Wells in the first round.

"You don't want people talking bad about you," Bowen said. "You get a little upset and your pride gets hurt a little bit."

Bowen came up big on the game's final possession, which began with 13.9 seconds left.

Nowitzki got the ball on the right side, but Bowen was all over him. When Nowitzki tried going right, Duncan headed his way. So Nowitzki threw a crosscourt pass to Jerry Stackhouse.

Manu Ginobili nearly intercepted it, but Stackhouse recovered. He could've driven for a tying shot, but instead stepped back into the left corner and put up a well-covered 3 that came up way short.

"Somehow, if I had a little more on it, then maybe we'd have a different feeling right now," said Stackhouse, who led Dallas with 24 points. "We came in here with the right attitude, right energy, but we let them take the game."

Johnson worried that the long layoff might get some of his players to lose their focus. Perhaps all the down time got him to overthink his strategy against Duncan -- one that's likely to change in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

Duncan hasn't been his Big Fundamental self lately. His scoring was down this season and again in the first round. He's also been slowed by a foot injury.

Parker said he wasn't surprised that Dallas didn't aggressively double-team Duncan.

"A lot of people have been doing that lately because they thought he can't score any more," Parker said. "That's a big mistake."

DeSagana Diop was the first to go at Duncan alone. He got two fouls, then was replaced by Erick Dampier. He got two fouls, then was replaced by D.J. Mbenga. Yes, he also got two fouls -- all before the first quarter ended.

Despite the barrage, Duncan was only 3-of-5 for 10 points. Then he scored 10 of San Antonio's first 12 in the second quarter, giving him 20 of their first 38 points.

"He was pretty aggressive," Johnson said.

Most importantly, Duncan's start made the Spurs tied in a game they otherwise might've already gotten away from them. He was the only player who didn't seem bothered by the quick turnaround, or the noon start.

Duncan said he felt good even though he woke up at 6 a.m.

"Not by design," he added. Considering how he played, he joked that "that might be the routine" from now on.

Duncan made 12 of 24 shots, grabbed 13 rebounds and tied Parker for the team's assist lead with four. Parker scored 19 and Ginobili added 15.

Nowitzki was only 1-of-4 in the fourth quarter. He scored only two points in the final period and Dallas scored only 13. The Mavericks missed their final six shots.

"There wasn't any rust," said Nowitzki, who put himself through two workouts a day to remain sharp. "We played well enough to win the game, but didn't."

Dallas' Josh Howard scored 17, but only four in the second half. Jason Terry had 14. Nowitzki had 14 rebounds and Dampier had 10.

Dallas was hurt by nine missed free throws. The Mavs missed only 16 in four games against the Grizzlies.

Game notes


Nowitzki finished third in MVP voting for the second straight year. Duncan was eighth, Parker ninth. ... Both teams went 10 deep in the first half. ... When Bowen went to the foul line early in the second quarter, it was his first attempt in 188 minutes this postseason. ... San Antonio great David Robinson showed his support for the Spurs by wearing a Ginobili jersey. ... The Spurs are in the second round for the sixth straight year.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
SA
Points 85 87
FGM-FGA 32-77 (.416) 31-75 (.413)
3PM-3PA 2-7 (.286) 3-13 (.231)
FTM-FTA 19-28 (.679) 22-30 (.733)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 13-47 11-40
Assists 8 11
Turnovers 13 12
Steals 9 8
Blocks 7 4
Fast Break Points 9 4
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 20 (0/0)
Largest Lead 8 5

Top Performers

Dallas
San Antonio
Dirk Nowitzki Nowitzki
Points: 20
Reb: 14
Ast: 0
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Tim Duncan Duncan
Points: 31
Reb: 13
Ast: 4
Stl: 1
Blk: 2