San Antonio Spurs 94, Dallas Mavericks 100: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili turn it over
The San Antonio Spurs hung tough with the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their Western Conference Playoff series on Sunday night. Unfortunately for the Spurs, hanging tough isn’t enough for a team boasting four NBA Titles with Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich.
For everything the Spurs did right against the Mavs, they did something else wrong. Whether it was missing relatively easy shots near the rim or failing to secure a defensive rebound. And then there was that other thing. I’ll give you a hint, it’s in the title.
The Spurs only committed two more turnovers than the Mavs on the game (17-15), but the manner in which they came was destructive for the Spurs. There were several occasions when Tim Duncan, who led San Antonio with six turnovers, was in scoring position but bobbled a pass out of bounds.
Six turnovers is inexcusable. There is a correlation between the how often a player touches the ball and the numbers of times they turn the ball over. Just look at the leaders in turnovers for the regular season, it contains names like Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
But that relationship doesn’t necessarily apply to, or is quite as severe for, post players. (Except Dwight Howard. I don’t know what’s up there.) Big men dribble and pass less, and as a result there’s fewer opportunities for them to lose the ball to the other team.
But against the Mavericks in Game 1, Tim Duncan coughed it up six times for the San Antonio Spurs. Manu Ginobili lost the ball five times. His are a bit more explainable for the Spurs, but they also led to fast break baskets for the Mavs. When Ginobili lost the ball on the perimeter in Game 1, the Maverick guards were able to get to the opposite end before the Spurs were able to recover and set up their defense.
It’s easy points for the Mavs, while the Spurs don’t even get the opportunity to attempt a shot. These things tend to bite you in the ass in a six-point loss. And despite 27 points and eight boards for Duncan and 26 points and and six assists for Ginobili, their box score screams of missed opportunities.
For all the good the Spurs did in their Game 1 loss to the Mavs, and they did plenty good, the turnovers cancel that out. It’s one step forward, two steps back. And that’s not the ideal footwork for winning in the playoffs.