Corporate Knowledge: Fallout from Game 2

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Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com: “The Spurs have been a model of consistency — 15 straight 50-plus win seasons, four titles and a third coach of the year trophy coming just this week for Gregg Popovich as a reminder of all that — largely because of the never-too-high, never-too-low mentality that Duncan and Pop have spread throughout the organization year after year. But they’re going up against a Mavericks team with several of its key players – Monta Ellis,Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, Samuel Dalembert and even DeJuan Blair – on their first ride with Dallas. The Mavs haven’t had enough time to establish a true identity for their current group, so in the short term they’ve adopted a go-for-broke mentality.”

Jesse Blanchard, Project Spurs: “The Mills-Belinelli-Ginobili backcourt combinations were absolutely flammable on defense.  Monta Ellis (21 points, three assists) and Devin Harris (18 points, five assists) expertly found the pockets of air between the Spurs big man hanging back in the lane and the guard trying to fight over a screen, pulling up for jumper after jumper. They attacked poor closeouts, getting into the middle of the Spurs defense, sending rotations flying around chaotically, and leaving the Spurs vulnerable on the boards (14 offensive rebounds, 14 second-chance points).”

Dan McCarney, MySA.com: “Dirk Nowitzki said after the game that Shawn Marion is one of the strangest players he’s ever played with. Perhaps “unique” might have been a kinder word, but Nowitzki’s point stands: Marion is as unorthodox as they come, from the unfortunate form on his jumper to his ability to guard virtually any player on the court. He put all those skills to good use Wednesday, scoring 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting while helping limit Tony Parker to just 12.”

Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News: “In Game 2, we saw what can happen when the lead is 20 and there are just under six minutes to play. That’s when Spurs fans start filling the exits and heading out of the AT&T Center. The Mavericks emptied the building and evened the series with a stunning 113-92 victory that was, in stretches, a spotless offensive showcase. Everybody got in on the act and, more important, the debate over which point guard coach Rick Carlisle needs to feature in this first-round series followed those Spurs fans right out those exits.”

Travis Hale, Pounding the Rock: “Look, in a playoff atmosphere where psyches around the league are eggshell fragile, strange things are bound to happen. The Trailblazers, Wizards and the Heat are the only teams left unscathed in what has been a surprising start to the post season. The Rockets and Bulls are in a free fall, OKC looked bad in a loss to Memphis and who knows what’s going on in Indiana. So even after what I saw on Wednesday night in South San Antonio, I still wouldn’t trade places with any other team in the NBA. This isn’t going to be easy, so stiffen your spines and clear the fog from your minds. Surviving the gauntlet in the West is going to be extremely difficult. The Spurs stumbled in Game 2, and while the path to the promised land may be slightly more treacherous after a bad loss, the path is still there.”

Bill Barnwell, Grantland: “Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford clearly deserve tremendous credit for building a perennial championship contender, but Belinelli’s success brings another piece of the Popovich-Buford puzzle out of the shadows: Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland. He has made a career out of molding shooters, and Belinelli is his latest star pupil.”