'Why Not Us?' Game 6 Mavs Video Donuts
DONUT 1: Mavs 113, Spurs 111 ...
The Dallas Mavericks have latched onto a mantra.
"Why Not Us?''
And at this moment, there is no answer to the question negatively powerful enough to shut it down.
It's the perfect companion to owner Mark Cuban saying to us back on August 15, "I love the team we've put together. Dirk has a lot more to give and we've put a lot of great players around him. ... "I love the fact that everybody is throwing us under the bus ... I'll be very disappointed if we don't make some playoff noise.''
In between the two statements of measured boldness came Friday's Round 1 Game 6, a remarkable 113-111 victory over the first-seeded Spurs at the AAC.
DONUT 2: Dirk 'hangin' in' ...
Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 22 points and now has 20-plus in back-to-back games, said the Mavs' season-long experience in close outings -- not all of those experiences victories -- created a sort of beneficial scar tissue for Dallas.
"We were at a junction there where we had to play really, really well just to get in," Nowitzki said after Game 6. "I think we had a lot of big games already coming down the stretch and I think it helped us here in this playoff run, so far.
"We've been in so many close games this season. We've been in so many close games on the road where we hung in there. So, yeah, I think the last couple weeks of the regular season, just for us scrambling and leaving it all out there just to make it in helped us get off to a good start here in the playoffs."
Dirk's Video Visit:
DONUT 3: We get a Game 7 …
Start time for Game 7 is 2:30 p.m. Sunday (on ABC only). And in our preparation, the numbers will be stacked neatly ... and not all of them stacked against the Mavs.
The Mavs will be attempting to become just the sixth No. 8 seed to take down the top-seeded team in the first round. At the same time, in the Dirk era, Dallas is 4-0 in Game 7's.
"It's the ultimate thrill," said Nowitzki. "It's win or go home. Everything that happened before is out the window. Nothing matters anymore but just this one game. It's great competition, the ultimate competition. You just got to love it. We're going into a tough environment against a great team."
DONUT 4: Marion turns the page …
The Mavs are finding ways to limit Tony Parker (who needed 23 shots to score 22 points). One of those ways is the defense of Shawn Marion. Oh, the Spurs are still managing to get to the rim too much for Dallas' taste, but watch how quickly 'Trix turns from a negative and onto the next page ...
"They just broke us down,'' Marion said of those drives. "It was good defense but better offense. So that is how you have to look at it. Whatever we do, we will be ready for Game 7. We have won there before and now it's time go up there and win again."
Even with Marion's unquestionable value, I'll continue to argue that Dallas is in the series because Dallas is winning on the offensive end. As Coop points out, the Spurs in the regular season were 31-4 when they shot 50 percent or better.
They are 0-3 vs. Mavs in these playoffs because ... well, because sometimes the Mavs can outshoot even that.
DONUT 5: Monta's Daredevilry to the basket …
The Mavericks struggled in the third quarter and found themselves down by seven points early in the fourth. This is where Dirk's words rang true; so many times in this situation this year ... so many leads lost ... so many deficits not overcome ... an NBA-high 22 regular-season games in which the score was "close'' and Dallas only getting 11 wins in those nail-biters ...
But Monta Ellis made the difference, in large part counterpunching the Spurs' clever combination of defensive clutching and grabbing and offensive light-as-a-feater flops with his own brand of physical play:
Daredevilry to the basket. (As demonstrated in Ron Jenkins' great photo above.)
"My teammates just told me, 'We'll keep it close and then the fourth quarter is yours,''' said Monta, whose 29 points ties his playoff-career-high. "Mark Cuban told me the same thing."
Somebody tried to lure Ellis into a conversation about "who's team'' the Mavs are. Monta didn't bite.
No,'' he said, "it's still Dirk's team."
By the way, how much of a challenge is it to climb over the hump of a late Spurs lead? Regular season and playoffs included this year, the Spurs entered Friday with a 54-1 record in games they lead entering fourth quarters.
Make that 54-2.
DONUT 6: Need a hangout for Sunday? …
DallasBasketball's crew will be in San Antonio but the Red Rock Bar & Grill crew will be waiting for you on Sunday afternoon for the 2:30 tip with drink specials for anyone wearing Mavs gear. If you're in North Dallas this is your place -- and tell 'em "Fish'' sent you!
DONUT 7: Manu: Not 'awful' …
Manu Ginobili's numbers weren't very good. He hit just 1-of-8 shots and scored just six points. But he doesn't think his team's situation is quite that awful.
"Of course it's disappointing, but it is what it is,'' Manu said. "We have to go and fight and try to get it in seven. I don't think we're in an awful position."
DONUT 8: Catching up …
DallasBasketball.com is loaded with exclusive video, analysis and inside stuff on this series and more. Check out DB.com Archives -- make sure you're in a comfortable chair -- and dig in!
You can also click here for the full Mavs Quoteboard.
Also, click here to vote for "The Dirkie'' - the Mavs' Player of the Game!
DONUT 9: Stat O' The Day …
Six men on the floor.
You give yourself a headache growing overly concerned about the officiating. Yet you worry about the Crawfords showing up and you wonder if youth-league coaches across the country might as well teach their little ones to draw free fouls as Manu and Splitter do and you wonder if all these Game 7s in the NBA this weekend aren't coming at a perfectly-crafted attention-getting time while Donald Sterling slimes back to the rear of the sports section ...
And then the Spurs put six players into the game in the final seconds.
Watch closely and you not only see the six -- it appears that Monta Ellis is signaling to and talking to a ref about their being too many men on the floor, and the ref is unresponsive.
Six men on the floor can happen; it's a frantic time and maybe the always-clever Pop hid one of them in Row 3 right before the start of the play. But when the other team is telling a ref there are six men on the floor, why isn't the ref taking just one second to count them?
DONUT 10: Parker's Video Visit ...
Parker took a lot of shots. Parker had five of San Antonio's 14 turnovers. The Mavs are trying to survive all of the things that San Antonio's MVP-level point guard can do.
Included in Parker's damage: Jose Calderon sustained a broken nose when he collided with Parker midway through the third quarter. Jose went to the locker room but returned at the end of the period and said he'll be fine for Sunday though he might consider a protective mask of some sort.
DONUT 11: Danny Green's Video Visit …
Dallas' pick-your-poison defense is supposed to control San Antonio on the perimeter while enduring the damage that some of the Spurs might do inside.
Danny Green nearly made Dallas have to swallow both poisons.
Inside, Splitter managed to flop his way to 12 free-throw attempts (Dirk had none) and Tim Duncan was good for 16 points and nine rebounds. Meanwhile, Green hit all five of his first-quarter attempts on the way to 7-for-7 shooting for 17 points.
Green was terrific early. Dallas was better late, the Mavs with their highest-scoring quarter of the series in the fourth ... and they needed almost every one of those 37 points.
DONUT 12: The Final Word ...
The Mavs received massive production from DeJuan Blair, who had 10 points, 14 rebounds and four steals. He is the third-string center ... and then he is a centerpiece of loses in Games 4 and 5 because of his mule-kick ejection and one-game suspension ... and now he is a Duncan-pounder and a pick-and-roll clogger and a massive screen-setter (he destroyed Parker to free Devin Harris for a first-half-ending coast-to-coast and-1 layup).
"His energy was great," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "He was all over the floor and he was a man possessed.''
And heck, DeJuan's even a team spokesman. It's Dirk's team, yes, but it's also an "us'' team ... a "Why Not Us?'' team.
"Game 7 on their court,'' said Blair, a former Spur. "Winning on their court would be the best revenge.''
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