I have never seen or felt anything like that in my entire life. It was like watching 7 heavyweight championship fights. You know that any second either combatant can throw a haymaker and end the entire thing.
Watching our Mavs vs Spurs was the same way. There was Duncan being the Big Fundamental. Ginobli was every bit as fantastic as someone who has won championships around the world should be. Duncan kept the rolling, Ginobli threw haymaker after haymaker. I dont think any of his 3 pointers even touched the rim.
Past Mavs teams probably would have hit the canvas at least once. Even Championship series have blowouts and in the back of my mind as the series went on and the Spurs evened it up, I just hoped that we wouldnt hit the kind of pocket that the Spurs hit in game 2.
It never happened. Going into last night the mood in the locker room was surreal. No one was tense. It wasnt like the guys were even nervous. The best way I could describe it was like a pack of forwards, locked , ready to blow out a ruck in a rugby game. Its tough when you have to make something happen alone, but its a powerful feeling when you are locked and loaded and looking for contact. It sounds corny, but you could just feel it in the Mavs locker room. No one felt that the game was their responsibility. Every player in there trusted the guys on both sides of them.
They trusted their coaches. They trusted the system in place.
It showed when the game started. We came out as a team. We were confident and confidence leads to good shooting. Our shooting wasnt just good. It was unconscious. I remember thinking about Georgetown Villanova at the end of the first quarter and trying to not look up at the board that showed our shooting percentage.
When we got up 20, part of me was hoping that this was going to be like Game 2, but inside i knew better. At home, game 7, we had made our big run, and there was no way the Spurs werent going to make theirs. They had no reason to hold anything back and Pop is such a great coach, he would counter.
He did. They did.
When they hit that 3 pointer to go ahead. All I could think about is that I wasnt ready to go to the Lune , a local Dallas bar. I had seen us come back in this situation before. I trusted that we would get our shot. I couldnt hear what they called in the huddle, so i had no idea what was coming. I expected we would go for the quick 2. Then Dirk did his thing, and all of the sudden it was tied.
Like Deja Vu all over again, we just needed 1 stop. We got it.
Overtime the Legend of Ghana Diop was born. A broken nose trying to guard TD. Watching him push gauze up his nose, Ghana didnt blink. He just went out and got a huge dunk, 2 of the biggest offensive rebounds in Mavericks history and a dunk. When Ghana got the pass and finished the dunk, all I could think of was Avery pre game saying “trust your teammates. Trust the system”
That symbolized this Mavericks team. Dirk and Avery are our leaders, but first and foremost we are a team. A very special group of guys that make me incredibly proud.
A couple shoutouts are required here.
To the Spurs fans sitting by the bench last night. They were first class. They took responsibility of quieting the jerks.
To the Spurs fans on boats in the Riverwalk dragging a floating Mark Cuban in effigy. Hysterical.
To the city of San Antonio. Contrary to what people have written and said, I rhink its a beautiful city with a great culture and city pride. Even if the water in the Riverwalk is muddy 🙂
To what looked like thousands of Mavs fans who came out to see us when we landed about 1am last night. You have no idea how much that meant to all the guys and everyone in the organization.
To all Mavs fans everywhere who I know were jumping up and down and screaming and enjoying the moment. This is YOUR TEAM.
To Mavs fans everywhere who I know were jumping up and down screaming just as loudly as we all were after the game.