San Antonio Spurs 94, Dallas Mavericks 100: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili turn it over

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Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs reacts to a missed opportunity

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.

  • Jim Henderson

    We simply didn’t play well enough to win, calls or not.

  • TradeTp

    And it is directly because of the players in the game and the COACHING strategy. Just like all year.

    Henderson: You agree with I think Tyler who talked about aggressive play. Yet you applaud Pop and his playing Bonner, Mason, McDyess, Bogans, Jefferson, all of whom do not or are not allowed to take it to the rim.

    As a fan, like all here, I am well aware that we need to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. And I know who will give us the aggressive play. Unfortunately you do too, yet you claim POP doesnt. Hes not a good coach.

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  • Tyler

    @Randall –

    So we couldn’t have won game 1 no matter what because of the refs? Not even if we turned the ball over only 7 times instead of 17? If we turn the ball over 10 less times, you can add 10-12 points to our total and take away a few from the Mavs. We might have gotten shafted in game 1, but that doesn’t excuse us turning the ball over. And that certainly doesn’t excuse RJ’s performance (I’ll give Hill a pass due to his ankle).

    And no, we didn’t play as aggressively as Dallas. Pop even said the same. Even more, as the road team, we have to be MORE aggressive. If that’s what it takes to get a whistle, then that’s what you have to do. Find a way to win. That’s what championship caliber teams do. We didn’t do that, and that’s no one’s fault but ours.

  • Jim Henderson

    TradeTp
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:22 am

    “Yet you applaud Pop and his playing Bonner, Mason, McDyess, Bogans, Jefferson, all of whom do not or are not allowed to take it to the rim. ”

    These players are not ALLOWED to take the ball to the rim? You are joking me, right? I can guarantee you Pop does nothing to discourage these players (by threatening to bench them, verbal abuse, intimidation, by whatever means!) from taking the ball to the rim, where appropriate. Unfortunately, most of these players are not very adept at driving the ball and finishing off the dribble, or in the case of RJ, are simply a head case this year.

    And I don’t “applaud Pop” for playing Mason & Bogans. Not long back, I made several pleas for Pop to give Hairston a shot at Bogans role, and just recently, I in no uncertain terms questioned Pop for his insistence in giving Mason ANY playing time (look at my comments over the past few days).

    That said, while Pop does not, in my humble opinion ALWAYS coach well (e.g., game one against Mavs), he is without question an excellent coach.

    Tyler
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:05 am

    Right on!

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  • Patrick

    @SpurredOn –

    We’ll agree to disagree. Our debating why or why we didn’t get calls is probably a minor point in the big scheme of things anyway. I just happen to take the position that if we lose, it’s no one’s fault but ours. I shy away from blaming others because ultimately, like Jim touched on, you risk losing focus. Luckily for us, we don’t have an organization that blames others or makes excuses – they leave that to the fans.

    But sometimes the calls just don’t go your way. That’s basketball. Yet, if we want to win a championship, we have to find a way to win those games.

  • Robin

    @Randall –

    So we couldn’t have won game 1 no matter what because of the refs? Not even if we turned the ball over only 7 times instead of 17? If we turn the ball over 10 less times, you can add 10-12 points to our total and take away a few from the Mavs. We might have gotten shafted in game 1, but that doesn’t excuse us turning the ball over. And that certainly doesn’t excuse RJ’s performance (I’ll give Hill a pass due to his ankle).

    And no, we didn’t play as aggressively as Dallas. Pop even said the same. Even more, as the road team, we have to be MORE aggressive. If that’s what it takes to get a whistle, then that’s what you have to do. Find a way to win. That’s what championship caliber teams do. We didn’t do that, and that’s no one’s fault but ours.

  • Brad

    @grayden
    @jesse
    This is my 4th post in 5 hours and not one has been posted.

    You can email me to tell me why I am not allowed to post.

    thanks

  • Alan

    We can complain about the refs because we CAN see the unnecessary calls. It doesn’t mean it’s a foul if the shooter leans back and fall by himself. Better pay attention on how Nowitzki does it. He fades away, leans back and stretch his leg, and boom! Automatic foul. He does his all the time. He’s one of the obvious floppers. Barea is the no.1! Just a soft touch and he falls. They tolerate the gesture, so they keep doing it, and succeeds. I just want the refs to call fouls FAIRLY, not FREELY… Don’t like the star treatment I’m seeing on the playoff games; not just this series.

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