DALLAS -- The worst-case scenario for these Mavericks might be sneaking into the playoffs and drawing the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
By all indications, that series might be just as brief as last season’s sweep at the hands of the Mavs’ other Interstate 35 neighbors, the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Don’t be fooled by Friday night’s final score. This loss was a lot more lopsided than 113-107 indicates.
In fact, it looked a lot like the previous two Dallas-San Antonio meetings this season, except Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich didn’t contribute to the Spurs’ dominance this time.
The Spurs’ lead swelled to as large as 26 points during the third quarter, and it remained in double digits until the Mavs’ 11-0 garbage-time run. So this game fit right in with the pair of punkings the Mavs got from the Spurs in December, when San Antonio led by as many as 46 and 25 points in routs.
“It’s frustrating,” said Mavs forward Shawn Marion, who had a rough night Friday with only two points and four rebounds. “They have our number. It is what it is.”
Added Dirk Nowitzki, who had 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting in 34 minutes: “They beat us three times, pretty handily all three. It’s not like one of them was close. I guess you can say that if you want.”
The Mavs would rather not say it –- and Darren Collison bristled a bit about the subject -– but they haven’t been able to do much about it.
After four days of rest, the Mavs got off to a miserable offensive start, shooting only 36.7 percent in the first half. That, however, was far from their biggest problem.
The Spurs scored with ease, even with Duncan (knee) staying in San Antonio and his All-Star pal Tony Parker missing a chunk of the first half after catching an elbow that opened a cut above his left eye and required three stitches to close.
Parker ended up doing plenty of damage, scoring 23 points and dishing out 10 assists while consistently punishing the Mavs off pick-and-rolls. He took over the third quarter, when he had seven points and six assists while the Spurs lit it up for 35 points.
And Parker had plenty of company. Seven Spurs scored in double figures, led by reserve forward/center DeJuan Blair’s 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting in 19 minutes. Starting center Tiago Splitter scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
“It’s hard to overcome layup after layup,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “That’s what happened. We weren’t good enough.”
That’s been the case every time the Mavs have seen the Spurs this season.