Raise your hand if you thought San Antonio had this series in the bag.
I sure did.
Maybe I was a bit naive, but what happened to the no-nonsense Spurs team that I have come to love, deep down in my heart?
Yes, I am ashamed that I wrote off this talented Mavericks team. I thought the Spurs wouldn't have a problem taking this series. Boy, was I wrong.
With a 3-1 series lead, the Mavericks are on the brink of eliminating a hurt and tired Spurs team.
Throughout this series, the Mavs have outplayed the Spurs, in convincing fashion, and even stole a game in San Antonio.
The most convincing win of this series—and the most embarrassing for the Spurs—came in game three, when Dallas dismantled San Antonio 88-67. It was so embarrassing that Spurs coach Greg Popovich benched all five of his starters, the last one leaving the court after only playing 21 minutes.
The Spurs cannot rely on Tim Duncan and Tony Parker (the only two San Antonio players who are averaging double-digit scoring in this series) alone. Without Manu Ginobli, the Spurs have been limp. They can't get the job done, and if they don't start realizing that and making serious adjustments, they can say goodbye to one of the last few playoff runs that they have left in the tank.
The Mavericks have been a great example of a team playing together and working the ball around to find the best shot. They play hard defense and they're good at hustling. Jason Terry just won the NBA's Sixth Man Award. Josh Howard is finally healthy and playing up to expectations (19 PPG, 1.5 APG, 5 REB), and former NBA MVP Dirk Nowitzki is playing like, well, Dirk Nowitzki (16 PPG, 2 APG, 8.5 REB).
Game four is Tuesday. Can the Spurs pick it up and win a big one at home? Or will the Mavericks send the San Antonio into the offseason? Tune in folks—hopefully, this one will be a nail-biter.