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Monday, April 19, 2010
Popovich: 'A lot of guys played like dogs'

By Jeff Caplan

DALLAS -- San Antonio shot 50 percent from the field, outscored Dallas 50-34 in the paint, won second-chance points 14-12 and surprisingly finished with a 16-11 edge in fastbreak points.

Sounds like a winning formula. But, it wasn't. The Spurs lost two critical areas: The Mavs shot 20 more free throws for a 13-point advantage at the foul line, and 10 Mavs steals and four blocked shots were part of 17 San Antonio turnovers that led to 20 Dallas points.

But, the real killer -- besides 36 points from Dirk Nowitzki -- was the production, or lack of it, outside of the Spurs' Big Three -- Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Those three combined for 71 of the Spurs' points in Wednesday's 100-94 loss in Game 1 of the their first-round series.

Antonio McDyess finished with 10 points, but no other Spurs players scored more than five points. Richard Jefferson had four points in 32 points. Matt Bonner had five in 19 minutes. George Hill, playing on a sprained right ankle, was scoreless in 18 minutes.

Popovich's assessment was harsh.

"We've got to have a few more people step up and play worth a damn," he said. "I thought we had a lot of guys that played like dogs."