Mavericks, Nowitzki finish off Spurs in Game 5
Jason Terry galloped down court after one big shot and Josh Howard skipped along the sideline after another. For what the Dallas Mavericks were about to pull off, they might as well have danced.
For the first time since 2006, the Mavericks are moving past the first round.
And for the first time since 2000, the San Antonio Spurs are not.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points in his first breakout game of a lopsided series, and the Mavericks won a playoff series for the first time in three years by eliminating the Spurs in five games with a 106-93 victory on Tuesday night.
Besides closing another chapter between the Texas rivals, this series seemed to signal more: that the Mavericks are much better than their No. 6 seed might suggest, and whether the Spurs are slipping into a new stage after winning four NBA titles in the past decade.
"(We) went through a lot this year, a very turbulent year," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "Injuries. Ups, downs, emotional stuff, and we really stuck together. We came together at the right time."
The Mavericks advance to the Western Conference semifinals to play either Denver or New Orleans. The Nuggets lead that series 3-1 and can finish off the Hornets on Wednesday at Denver.
Tim Duncan scored 30 and Tony Parker had 26 but again got little help - the story of the series for the two-dimensional Spurs. Predictions that the Spurs were doomed while Manu Ginobili sat out the playoffs with a bum ankle appeared largely validated, as San Antonio never got anyone to step up in his absence.