Through two games, the Mavericks have slowed down San Antonio's steamrolling offense. The Spurs' offensive rating (98.7) is almost 10 points worse than it was in the regular season. The weird part is that San Antonio's Big Three -- Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan -- are still cooking.
Parker is averaging 16.5 points, 4.5 assists and three boards on 54 percent shooting. Duncan has a 19 and 17 split on 64 percent shooting. Ginobili has absolutely dominated: 22 points, 3.5 assists, four boards and 8-of-12 (67 percent) from deep. Still, the Spurs, as a team, aren't scoring at the rate to which we are accustomed.
Part of that lies on their role players. Kawhi Leonard is averaging just 8.5 points on 31 percent shooting. Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills are a combined 5-of-22 for 14 points. Danny Green, last year's playoff hero, has just six points on seven shots. The Spurs can't keep getting that little production from the complimentary guys and expect to get past the Mavericks.
Dallas has registered a blistering 108.3 points per 100 possessions, via NBA.com/stats, despite Dirk Nowitzki's uncharacteristic inefficiency. He has scored 27 points on 11-of-33 shooting and has only gotten to the free throw line five times through the first two games. But Dallas' role players have upped the ante.
Devin Harris is averaging 18.5 points and five assists on 15-of-25 (60 percent) shooting. He's Dallas' leading scorer and he's guarding Parker. Shawn Marion has moved to power forward in small-ball lineups and he has responded with 28 points on 21 shots. Brandan Wright has 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, and Jose Calderon and Vince Carter have combined for 37 points on 36 shots.
The playoffs are a chess match. Rick Carlisle and Gregg Popovich are two of the NBA's best chess players. Carlisle has thrown San Antonio for a loop with a ton of funky, small lineups. Popovich now has a two-game sample size of film. Let's see how he adjusts.
TV Schedule: TNT; 4:30 p.m. ET
Announcing crew: Joel Meyers, Chris Webber and Jaime Maggio
Local: FSSW, KTXA. 103.3 FM ESPN, WOAI 1200AM/KCOR 135
Canada: SPORTSNET ONE