How it happened: Believe it or not, Dallas won with suffocating defense.
That's certainly a surprise, considering the Mavs struggled defensively all season and the top-seeded Spurs rank among the NBA's most efficient offensive teams. But it's true, as the Mavs forced an astounding 24 turnovers.
The Spurs did shoot 50 percent from the field, led by sixth man Manu Ginobili scoring 27 points on 9-of-12 shooting, but that wasn't nearly enough to overcome San Antonio's uncharacteristic sloppiness with the ball.
Dallas' offense was fueled by its defense, converting all of those San Antonio turnovers into 33 points. Six Mavs scored in double figures, led by 21 points from Monta Ellis and 20 from defensive stopper Shawn Marion.
The Mavs routed the Spurs despite the second straight off-game by superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki. He missed his first six shots and finished with 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting.
The Spurs closed the first half with a 10-0 run featuring eight points by Ginobili, cutting the deficit to five despite committing 15 turnovers before halftime. However, the Mavs took that punch and came out swinging in the third quarter, building their lead back up to 16.
After a scoreless first half, Mavs point guard Jose Calderon took over in the third quarter. He had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and dished out four assists in the frame, drilling jumpers on three straight possessions at one point, the final one despite a foul.
San Antonio, which rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final seven-plus minutes to win Game 1, never made a run in the fourth quarter.
What it means: This might actually be an entertaining series. The teams head to Dallas tied 1-1 after the Mavs snapped a 10-game overall losing streak to the Spurs with their first playoff victory since clinching the 2011 championship. Teams that split the first two games on the road in best-of-seven series are 93-105 in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It would have pretty much just been a matter of when the Mavs' offseason fishing trip would start if they didn't get this win. Teams that lose the first two games on the road in best-of-seven series are 13-207, a puny winning percentage of .059.
Play of the game: DeJuan Blair stripped Ginobili and took off on a one-man, relatively fast break, spinning in the lane and finishing with a layup. That bucket by the 6-foot-7, 270-pound former Spur stretched the Mavs' lead to 16 with 1:03 left in the third quarter.
Stat of the night: The Spurs, who averaged 14.4 turnovers in the regular season, had 15 in the first half. According to data from ESPN Stats & Information, that's the most turnovers the Spurs committed in the first half of a game in the past five seasons, including playoffs.