- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN ANTONIO -- This will be one of the most memorable nights of Shawn Marion's life.
His massive contributions to the Dallas Mavericks' first playoff win since they popped champagne bottles in Miami a few years ago were a mere footnote.
Marion wasn't available to the media after the Mavs evened the series with a 113-92 rout of the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, but he had a really good reason for bolting out of the AT&T Center visitor's locker room after the win. He rushed to the airport to hop on a private jet to get to his hometown of Chicago for the birth of his first child, a source confirmed to ESPNDallas.com with the approval of the proud new father.
The 15-year veteran forward, one of the most versatile players in the history of the league, stuffed the box score with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, five rebounds, three steals and two assists in 35 minutes during Game 2. He did an outstanding the job as the primary defender on All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who had only 12 points and three assists in the blowout.
The performance by the man known as "Matrix" could speak for itself.
However, his coach and teammates were happy to speak about Marion as he rushed to the airport.
"I thought Marion played a phenomenal game all-around -- defense, offense, he hit one or two 3s, he was rebounding," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "He was terrific."
That's the kind of performance the Mavs need from a 35-year-old who joins Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone and Kevin Garnett as the only players in NBA history to record at least 17,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 1,500 steals and 1,000 blocks in their careers.
The list of players capable of doing a solid defensive job on every player from Parker to Tim Duncan might be even shorter.
"He's one of the strangest players that I've played with in this league," said Dirk Nowitzki, who joins Marion as the only players remaining on the Mavs' roster from the 2011 title run. "He can do a lot of things out there. On defense, I've been saying for the last five years with him, he's our best perimeter defender. I've seen him guard [point guards to centers] in my five years with him, so on that end, you can always rely on him. On offense, he's just so great on the move. He posts up a little bit, he's just so great when he cuts and moves, and when he makes the 3 ball, he's great.
"We're going to need him. He was great tonight."
Marion was great in Game 2, and that wasn't even the best part of the Matrix's night.
3dMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon