San Antonio got the win they needed to tie the series and take away home-court advantage from Dallas in the opening round of the 2010 NBA playoffs.
Behind a surprise effort from Richard Jefferson, the Spurs celebrated on the Mavericks home court following a 102-88 victory in Game 2, setting the series at 1-1.
Jefferson was one of the players that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich called out after Game 1, saying that they “played like dogs.” A new game and a new chapter flipped as Jefferson redeemed his opening game performance with a 19-point effort, tabbing 17 points in the first half.
“You could see it in his eyes that he was motivated,” remarked San Antonio guard Tony Parker of Jefferson. “Nobody likes to play bad and he knew he didn’t have a good first game. Knowing his mentality, we knew he was going to come back.”
Jefferson scored four points in the first game of the series, and eclipsed that early in the first quarter of Game 2. He finished the first two quarters 7 of 9 from the floor and spearheaded a 12-1 run deep into the second quarter to open up the game for the duration.
“My teammates were looking for me, coming off the pick-and-roll and throwing it back to me,” Jefferson said after the game. “That’s pretty much my game. After I struggled the last game, I think there was a concerted effort to get me involved.”
The Spurs were led by their usual suspect in Tim Duncan, who tabbed 25 points on the night to go along with 17 rebounds in a very well rounded performance to ensure that his team did not get down into a 2-0 hole.
“We went to Tim just about every other time down the stretch,” Popovich said in a post-game interview. “He came through by scoring and rebounding at the other end.”
On the other side of the court, Dirk Nowitzki was coming off a night in which the basket seemed enormous. However, on Wednesday, it was the polar opposite, as the Mavericks’ star struggled from the floor, knocking down only one of his first seven field goal attempts.
“If they give me those same looks on Friday, I’ll take them,” said Nowitzki after the game referring to Game 3 which will take place in San Antonio on Friday night.
Nowitzki finished with 24 points on the night, down 12 from his 36-point effort in Game 1.
The series now shifts to San Antonio, where the eager fans await Dallas and owner Mark Cuban who has been on record recently saying that he hates the Spurs.
“We’ve lost at home to them many times, so we’ve just got to stay humble, keep working hard, knowing full well that it’s going to be a long series,” said Spurs guard Manu Ginobili.
Online Sportsbooks have similar odds for both the Spurs and Mavericks for the 2010 NBA Championship. Currently, the Spurs sport 18/1 odds on Bodog Sportsbook, and the Mavericks are at 14/1.