Well wasn’t that a Stinko de Mayo?
You probably never believed the Mavs could beat the Spurs in their first-round playoff series. But after three wins including a dramatic Game 6 victory Friday night, you had legit reason to hope.
But in the first minute Sunday afternoon in San Antonio it was painfully clear – the Mavs had served as an annoying alarm clock long enough. The Spurs were awake, agitated and tired of merely tapping the “Snooze” button. This was a sledgehammer to the nightstand.
The Spurs out-everything'd the Mavs, beating them to loose balls, winning battles for 50/50 rebounds, playing emphatic in-your-jersey defense and just being flat-out determined to drive to the basket on offense. In the end, the Mavs ran out of fuel. And fight. For all its hope and hype, Game 7 felt like the Dad palming his son’s forehead, effortlessly keeping him at a distant and flailing away haplessly.
It was a nauseating end to a delicious two-week series.
Difficult, though, to be too disappointed. Admit it, you didn’t predict the Mavs to win the series. Some of us – my hand is raised – thought Dallas would be lucky to win one game. Forcing a Game 7 and pushing the NBA-best Spurs to their limit is indeed a moral victory.
I know that rings hollow for a team that hasn’t won a playoff series since winning the NBA Finals in 2011, but this is reality: For a team picked to win 50 games and squeak into the playoffs, the Mavs achieved their goal. And for an underdog picked to get swept or lose in 5 to the Spurs, the Mavs in this series actually over-achieved.
From the Game 2 blowout to Vince Carter’s miracle to DeJuan Blair’s passion to Monta Ellis’ perseverance and Dirk Nowitzki’s stubbornness and Shawn Marion’s disappearance, it was a thrilling, exhilarating, heart-stopping ride.
And, later than expected, it’s over.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.