The Margin: San Antonio Spurs 113, Dallas Mavericks 107


With Friday night’s 113-107 win over the Mavericks the first night of a back-to-back, we’re forgoing a typical recap and instead going with the Margin format. One bullet point for each point in the difference in the score.

  • Tony Parker left the game early in the first quarter after taking a pair of elbows to the eye from Elton Brand. The Spurs actually did just fine without Parker in the game, as Boris Diaw of all people took it upon himself to be more aggressive offensively. Parker returned in the second quarter after getting a few stitches and continued the fine play he’s displayed as of late. In just under 30 minutes of action, Parker had 23 points and 10 assists. He did have an uncharacteristic five turnovers, a third of the team’s giveaways, but the positives far outweighed the negatives. He’s having a good run of form right now and I get the impression that he steps up his role as a leader in games like this one where Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich are absent.
  • Tony Parker’s performance isn’t all that surprising, but the production the Spurs saw from DeJuan Blair was. Blair put up 22 points on 10-13 shooting and four rebounds in less than 20 minutes of game time. The Spurs worked Blair in the pick-and-roll a lot against the Mavs, and Dallas was pretty atrocious in defending it. Blair often rolled to the basket wide open and the Mavericks help defense didn’t rotate quick enough. Blair also knocked down a midrange jumpshot. With the signing of Aron Baynes, I think Blair is the most likely Spur to get traded and performances like Friday night’s can’t hurt his value one bit.
  • Speaking of Baynes, the big Aussie made his debut for the Spurs late in the game and the results were… yeah. It wasn’t good. Let’s be honest, though, Baynes only made one mistake in his 42 seconds of game time. It was just a really bad mistake as the rest of the Spurs on the court were falling apart as well. The Spurs were up 15 with a minute left. After a Roddy Beaubois 3-pointer, Baynes entered the game. Darren Collison then knocked down a 3-pointer, cutting San Antonio’s lead to nine points. After a Blair turnover, Jae Crowder hit another 3-pointer for Dallas that cut the Spurs’ lead to six. When the shot went through the hoop, Baynes grabbed the ball and stepped out of bounds to put the ball into play. Neal curled along the baseline in front of Baynes and the new signing rocketed a pass to Neal. It was much too hard a pass when Neal was three feet in front of him and slightly behind Neal as well. Collison picked up the loose ball and knocked down a short jumper, cutting the lead to four. It was one big mistake that will stick out in people’s minds, although he also had some trouble with the Spurs defensive schemes, but the team as a whole was full of mistakes during that stretch. San Antonio committed four turnovers as the Mavs went on an 11-0 run in the last 1:03 of the game before Nando De Colo hit a couple of free throws to end it. We’ll need to see Baynes in more normal circumstances to really get a feel for his game.
  • With the Spurs missing Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich, and Manu Ginobili only logging about eight minutes, the Spurs relied on superior ball movement to beat the Mavs, especially during the stretch where Tony Parker left the game to get stitches. I watched the ESPN broadcast of this game and Jeff Van Gundy raved about San Antonio’s ball movement and how they play the game. The Spurs’ motto is good-to-great, sacrifice the good shot to get a great one, and that’s how they played against Dallas offensively on Friday night. Despite missing so many weapons for so much game time, the team’s offensive efficiency was right in line with its season average.
  • Ginobili only played 8:11 against the Mavericks, all in the first half, though I don’t think it was for injury reasons. The Spurs were simply playing well enough without Ginobili, who returned from a hamstring injury in the previous game against New Orleans, and saw fit to rest him with the second night of a back-to-back looming. We only got eight minutes of Manu, but that was enough time to drop a one-handed bounce pass through the legs of Chris Kaman on a pick-and-roll that Blair was able to convert for a layup and the foul. He should’ve just walked straight to the bench and sat down after unleashing that pass.
  • Tiago Splitter with another double-double, 13 points and 12 rebounds. This has been your daily Tiago Splitter update. Actually, one more thing on Tiago. Splitter seems to get fouled a lot and those incidents go uncalled. But I can’t figure out if he’s actually getting fouled, or if Tiago’s reactions are leading me to believe he was fouled harder than he actually is. Splitter isn’t the stereotypical soft European. He’s a banger. The softest thing Tiago does is his love affair with reverse layups. Otherwise, he’s a brute. Yet it seems like he’s refereed like a soft European. I don’t know, I can’t figure it out.

Stats courtesy of


  • Sven²

    When I read the box scores last night it said that Baines was -11 in 1 minute with 1 TO. This morning, I went back and saw he got a DNP-CD, lets just all forget he played his seconds and relive his season debut tonight, ok?

  • Titletown99030507d

    Props to Blair for an outstanding performane. Even the jumper from the perimiter impressed. Lots of smooth energy from him last night. I wonder if the slow front court of Kaman and Dirk had anything to do with it. Either way they had no answer for Blair last night.
    Parker another tough all star performance but I just wish he would resign to dishing off when there just isnt anything enroute to the rim ei: (four wasted opportunites for Tiago last night) and to come away with nothing. We won thats all that matters but I sure wish hed consider the trsiling big man. Manu seems to do this very well with Blair.

  • Andrew

    I’ve always been a Blair guy but I understand the reality of the situation, so last night was a positive in that he only helped his value as a trade piece. I don’t know how Baynes will turn out but he’s big and wants to play like Reggie Evans so there you go….all the Spurs need out of their 4th big is a banger with Tim, Tiago, and Diaw eating up most of the playing time.

    All that said, not sure what the Spurs could get in return for Blair and/or Corey Joseph maybe. Everyone outside lumps Jack’s expiring contract into Spurs trade assets but I’d really rather not dump Jack. I like having his mean streak more than his actual game in Pop’s arsenal. Blair is a lock to be overpaid by some mediocre Eastern Conf. team in the off season.

    A little alarming to see the Spurs crush the Mavs for 3 quarters then switch off. I take heart in the fact that Pop, home with the flu, was probably screaming at the TV about then and would have fared better in stopping that slide even if there simply was no way Dallas was going to pull it out.

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  • neverthehero

    For me, it was the MAVS all of a sudden playing with this manic energy in the last two minutes. No reason for them to be fouling the Spurs with 2 seconds to go down by four. Especially since there is another game today, I don’t mind them cruising a little. The Spurs haven’t lost playoff series in the past 2-3 years because of this flaw, it was usually something specific, either injuries or failure to adjust.

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