Dallas-San Antonio déjà vu? 'Felt like 2006'

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
8:00
AM CT
DALLAS -- The sixth playoff series between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs feels like the good ol’ days to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, or at least it did when he was giddy after a thrilling Game 3 win.

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"It felt like 2006 in that war that we fought down there," Cuban said, referring to the classic West semifinals that the Mavs won with a Game 7 victory in San Antonio.

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, one of five players to play in both series, isn’t so sure about that.

"I don’t feel like I did in 2006," Nowitzki said, half-joking about his advanced age. "But it’s a fun, fun playoff atmosphere, battling with that team that’s been through so many playoff battles. That’s really all. I’m not really thinking about eight years ago. I’m living in the moment."

We’ll all live in the moment when Game 4 tips off Monday night. For a moment, though, let’s look back at the past and see the similarities between these two Mavs-Spurs series through three games.

GAME 1
2006 -- Spurs 87, Mavs 85: Tim Duncan dominated, putting up 31 points and 13 rebounds as the Mavs played single coverage against him the vast majority of the night. Nowitzki had an off night, scoring 20 points but going only 8-of-20 from the floor while being harassed by Bruce Bowen. The Mavs couldn’t close out the Spurs because of a crunch-time offensive drought, going the final 4:07 without a field goal in a game that ended with Jerry Stackhouse air-balling a contested 3-point attempt.

2014 -- Spurs 90, Mavs 85: Duncan dominated, putting up 27 points as the Mavs played single coverage against him the vast majority of the night. Nowitzki had an off night, scoring 11 points and going 4-of-14 from the floor while being harassed by Tiago Splitter. The Mavs couldn’t close out the Spurs because of a crunch-time offensive drought, going 7:44 without a field goal in a game that ended with a meaningless layup by Devin Harris.

[+] EnlargeDevin Harris
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE via Getty ImagesNow in his second stint with the Mavs, Devin Harris is turning back the clock to replicate his impact on the 2006 series.
GAME 2
2006 -- Mavs 113, Spurs 91: Harris played a huge role in the Mavs evening the series, scoring 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting after being inserted into the starting lineup. Duncan had another big night with 28 points, but the other two members of the Spurs’ Big Three were nonfactors. The AT&T Center crowd was dismayed by all the whistle-blowing, with the Mavs getting 35 points off 43 free throws in the Spurs' biggest home playoff loss since Game 1 of the 1996 West semifinals.

2014 -- Mavs 113, Spurs 92: Harris played a huge role in the Mavs evening the series, scoring 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench. Manu Ginobili had a big night with 27 points, but the other two members of the Spurs’ Big Three were nonfactors. The AT&T Center crowd was dismayed by the Spurs' sloppiness, with the Mavs getting 33 points off 24 turnovers in the Spurs' biggest home playoff loss since Game 2 of the 2006 West semifinals.

GAME 3
2006 -- Mavs 104, Spurs 103: The Mavs seized control of the series with a one-point home win, pulling out the victory after a wild fourth quarter in which the lead changed hands several times. The game was decided by mistakes in the final moments, the most costly being a Ginobili turnover with two seconds remaining. The superstars -- Duncan (35 points, 12 rebounds) and Nowitzki (27 points, 15 rebounds) -- both had big games.

2014 -- Mavs 109, Spurs 108: The Mavs seized control of the series with a one-point home win, pulling out the victory after a wild fourth quarter in which the lead changed hands several times. The game was decided by spectacular shots in the final moments, with Vince Carter’s corner 3 at the buzzer one-upping Ginobili’s lefty runner 1.7 seconds earlier. The sidekicks -- Tony Parker (19 points, six assists) and Monta Ellis (29 points) -- both had big games.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
19.7 4.6 1.1 31.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 10.2
AssistsM. Ellis 4.6
StealsD. Harris 1.3
BlocksT. Chandler 1.5