San Antonio Spurs might have an edge over Dallas Mavericks heading into the second playoff game, but their in-state rivals are capable of making a turnaround, after losing Game 1 narrowly.
The Mavericks, who nearly pulled off an upset in a 90-85 loss, would be hoping to perform consistently as they blew their lead in the final moments. Devin Harris had a strong game, but the form of Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis is a concern for the visitors as they only scored 22 points combined.
Despite their underperforming star players, Mavericks put up a spirited performance. Nowitzki and Ellis need to recover if Dallas is to threaten Spurs, who have championship aspirations.
Mavericks' backup guard Harris said the team is not too concerned about Nowitzki's form as he will bounce back in the forthcoming tie. "Dirk is our least concern," said Devin Harris. "He is going to get his shots and we know he's going to make them."
Spurs would be hoping to confine the 35-year-old German once again, making it difficult for him to score from the paint and three-point line by crowding him.
"We basically stayed with him a lot of times and we didn't help," said Spurs center Tiago Splitter. "That makes the other guys have to work a little bit more. So it wasn't just me and Boris."
Nowitzki is aware that Spurs won't be giving him much room in the entire playoff series. "I don't think they're going to leave me much on pick-and-roll coverage all series," Nowitzki said. "I can't just sit out there and measure the wind and shoot."
Spurs are aware that stopping the seven-foot German is not going to be easy, as even against a good defense he is capable of scoring at will. "Even some days we do a good defense and he's going to still make shots," Splitter said. "If he has that kind of day it's hard. All you've got to do is pray that the ball doesn't go in."
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is confident Nowitzki will come out stronger in the vital tie. "The thing about all-time great players is that it's not about one day coming in and saying, 'Hey, I'm going to go harder today' or 'I'm going to be more aggressive today,"' Carlisle said. "He's had the same approach every day for 16 years."
Although, Mavericks are locking horns with table-toppers Spurs, it's going to be a nice battle between the Mavericks offense and the Spurs defense at the AT&T Center.
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm ET (5:30 am IST, 12:00 am GMT) start. The game can be watched via live streaming online in the US HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.