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News » NBA PLAYOFFS 2009-04-25


NBA PLAYOFFS 2009-04-25


NBA PLAYOFFS 2009-04-25
DALLAS - The Spurs could start by looking on the bright side. This ugly thing they endured Thursday night at the American Airlines Center was not absolutely the worst offensive performance in the history of NBA playoff games.

That dishonor still belongs to the 1998 Utah Jazz, and in the end it wasn't even close.

Not that it's much consolation for the Spurs now.

They are down 2-1 to Dallas in this Western Conference first-round series, put there by an unsightly 88-67 loss in Game 4 that essentially was decided at half.

quot;They kicked our ass every which way but loose,quot; Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. quot;We didn't play well at either end of the court, and they had a lot to do with it.quot;

Though the Jazz remained tops in the NBA annals of postseason futility, the Spurs still endured a record-setting night of their own.

They established a franchise playoff low for points, breaking the previous mark of 70 set in a 2000 first-round series against Phoenix.

Tim Duncan, meanwhile, set career playoff lows for points (four), rebounds (two) and minutes (15:30). Duncan went to the bench early in the third quarter, along with the rest of the Spurs' regulars, with the game out of reach and with an early tipoff looming in Game 4 on Saturday.

It took a 25-point fourth quarter from the Spurs' bench to cruise past the record-low 54 points the Jazz scored against Michael Jordan's Bulls in Game 3 of the 1998 Finals.

Afterward, Duncan stopped short of guaranteeing a victory in what has become a must-win Game 4. He did, however, guarantee the Spurs would be more competitive.

quot;We're not going to play like that again,quot; Duncan said. quot;We're not going to give that kind of effort, and we're not going to make the same mistakes again.quot;

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 12 points, and did not get flattened as Dallas center Erick Dampier had promised. Of course, there wasn't much time to put Parker on his back, given how quickly the Mavericks put the Spurs on theirs.

Before the Spurs could blink, they were in a 12-point hole in the first quarter. Energized by their home crowd, the Mavs led from start to finish and were ahead by as many as 35 points in the third quarter.

Dirk Nowitzki made the shots he did not in the first two games of the series, and finished with his first 20-point game of the postseason. J.J. Barea, the miniature thorn in the Spurs' side, started in place of Antoine Wright and had nine of his 13 points in the first quarter.

By half, the Mavericks had a 46-30 lead. The Spurs avoided matching the lowest-scoring first half in franchise history, only by virtue of a George Hill floater at the horn.

The Spurs, who shot 50 percent in the first two games of the series, made only 32.1 percent Thursday.

quot;The numbers told the story,quot; Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Mavericks hit seven of their first eight shots of the second half to quickly push the lead to 62-36. Nowitzki had six points during that four-minute flurry, while Josh Howard had five of his 17.

quot;Obviously not the response we wanted to come out with at half,quot; Duncan said.

That was the cue for Popovich to surrender. He pulled his starters, emptied his bench and conceded the game.

For the Spurs, it was a disappointing response after evening the series with a 21-point victory in Game 2.

quot;When you win a game, you talk about coming back the right way, just like you talk about coming back from a loss the right way,quot; Popovich said. quot;You have to handle wins as well as you handle losses.quot;

For the second time in this series, the Spurs will have a chance to respond to a loss. How they handle it will determine the rest of the series.

FROM GRAPHIC:

Spurs' lowest scoring outputs

Playoffs

67: vs. Dallas (West first round, 2009, lost 88-67)

70: vs. Phoenix (West first round, 2000, lost 72-70)

71: vs. Minnesota (West first round, 1999, lost 80-71)

71: vs. Detroit (NBA Finals, 2005, lost 102-71)

72: vs. Utah (West first round, 1994, lost 105-72)

72: vs. Lakers (West finals, 2001, lost 111-72)

Regular season

64: vs. Utah (2008, lost 90-64)


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 25, 2009

 

 
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