SAN ANTONIO — The Dallas Mavericks were trying to overcome a nine-game losing streak against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs on Sunday afternoon and quickly ran into problems.
A slow start had Dallas trailing by nine at the end of the first quarter, but that paled by comparison to how it all ended.
The Mavs had a 10 point lead with 7:45 left in the game, but that would not be enough, because from there, the Mavericks would miss their next 12 shots while committing three turnovers.
"We gave ourselves every chance to win this game," Mavericks forward Shawn Marion said. "We put ourselves in great position to win this game. It was a battle all night long. When you hold a team under 90 points, you're supposed to win. But at the same time, you're supposed to be able to score as well, too."
The Mavericks go-to guy Dirk Nowitzki finished with only 11 points. He was 2 for 6 from the field in the final quarter, which certainly didn't help their cause.
"All night, they were not going to leave me much; we knew that coming into the series," Nowitzki said. "At the end, in the fourth quarter, they decided to trap me from the low side. I turned the ball over when I wasn't ready for it. I had some decent looks... I've just got to shoot it better."
Dallas scored only four points in the final 7:45. The team's only field goal during that span came as time expired. The late comeback by the Spurs killed any chance the Mavericks had of taking an early lead in the seven-game series.
"We've got two days to sit on it and watch some film and make some minor adjustments and let it all rip in game two," Nowitzki said. "That's all we can do in the playoffs."
"Regardless, we just have to play at a high level and intensity for 48 minutes — regardless of whatever this game is, we're going to have to do it harder to them," Mavericks forward Vince Carter said.
"We want to be better," Mavericks guard Devin Harris added. "Obviously, we can get better for Game 2. We've got some things we can correct. We'll look at it and get ready for Game 2. I don't think we're in a must situation yet."
The good news for Dallas is that they'll get another shot on Wednesday. They'll return to Dallas to practice on Monday and Tuesday, return to San Antonio on Tuesday evening, then get ready for Game 2 on Wednesday night.