SAN ANTONIO _ Closing time came early for the Mavericks, just like it has most seasons lately.
This time, they fought the bouncers to the bitter end. But they still got pitched out the playoff door by the San Antonio Spurs.
The Mavericks fought as hard as they have all season, but a hard-edged San Antonio defense at crunch time and another large game by that unknown Spur George Hill doomed the Mavericks' season.
The Mavericks went down 97-87 Thursday night at AT&T Center. The Spurs had a 22-point first-half lead and, though they lost it all by the third quarter, they held on to put the Mavericks out of their misery with a 4-2 series win in the best-of-seven first round.
If you're counting, that's three of the last four years that the Mavericks have failed to win a playoff series. They beat a banged-up Spurs team in the first round last season before getting hammered by Denver.
A mudslide of questions about the makeup of this team is sure to come quickly. In fact, they probably started before halftime when the Mavericks were getting blistered by the Spurs.
Who will stay and who will go as another season of Dirk Nowitzki's prime has slipped away? Those answers won't come for weeks or months.
For now, they know this was another upset as the seventh-seeded Spurs took down the No. 2-seeded Mavericks.