Five thoughts from Mavs' Game 4 loss to Spurs
APR 29, 2014 2:58a ET
Sports can be so cruel. After erasing a 20-point second-half deficit, the Dallas Mavericks fell just short of taking a commanding 3-1 series lead over San Antonio Monday night.
Here are my thoughts on the Mavs losing Game 4, 93-89, at American Airlines Center.
1.) You can't say they didn't fight. The shots weren't falling and it looked like this one might be over early in the third. But after hitting only 4 of 19 shots in the second quarter, the Mavs never quit, keeping the home crowd involved until the final buzzer. When asked about avoiding a letdown before the game, Rick Carlisle said his team just needed to keep fighting. "We got to fight to stay at an even keel and keep our level of fight up and elevate it," he said. Dallas did that, they just came up short. Maybe it took too much energy to climb back. Vince Carter said after the game that if it would've been only a 10-point deficit, the outcome would've been different.
2.) Who needs ACLs? DeJuan Blair doesn't have them in either knee and somehow he's still a professional basketball player. No idea how that's possible. Without Blair Monday night, the Mavericks don't rally in the second half. His energy off the bench, rebounding, tapping out misses and scoring in the paint was outstanding. Yes, he made a terrible decision by kicking Tiago Splitter in the head and getting ejected with 3:08 to play, but that shouldn't overshadow his 12 points and 11 rebounds in 16 minutes.
3.) Dirk Nowitzki seems to be getting more involved offensively by each game in this series. He had 19 points on 7 of 19 shooting in Game 4. Sure, he's not old Dirk. He's never going to be. He's almost 36. But the only way I see the Mavs winning two of the next three is if he returns to 2011 playoff form. Perhaps he's headed in that direction.
4.) Fantastic crowd, again. I get it, it's a playoff game, everyone should be into it. But the American Airlines Center crowds have been off the charts during these last two games. I didn't think the building could get any louder than it was after Vince Carter's game-winner on Saturday, but they might have topped it midway through the fourth quarter Monday night while erasing the huge Spurs lead.
5.) Where do they go from here? The Mavericks have already won in San Antonio, so doing it again certainly isn't out of the question. There are three games left and two are on the road. How have the Mavs done in series tied at 2-2? They're 6-4. How have the Spurs done in the same situation? They're 9-6.
Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota