SAN ANTONIO -- With a seemingly comfortable 10-point lead with 7:45 remaining in Sunday's game against the San Antonio Spurs at the AT&T Center, coach Rick Carlisle turned to his closer.
But Dirk Nowitzki missed all four of his field goal attempts and turned the ball over once in the final 7:44, and the Spurs rallied for an improbable 90-85 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks in the opener of this best-of-seven first-round playoff series.
Nowitzki was just 4-of-14 from the field overall and finished with only 11 points in a sub-par performance by the 12-time All-Star. He even missed what looked like an easy basket from point-blank range with the score tied 81-all and 3:33 to go in the game.
"I thought Dirk had some good looks and there were some that were heavily contested,'' Carlisle said. "It's a long series.
'The shot-making is going to be down a little bit, even if you're one of the 10 greatest scorers in the history of the game. Again, I have to do a better job of getting them great shots, not just good shots.''
Nowitzki said he had some "decent looks'' at the basket, but his shot just didn't find its intended destination.
"They're a good defensive team,'' Nowitzki said. "They're not necessarily unbelievably athletic and long, but they're very smart.
"What they want to do defensively is take you out of your comfort zone. If you like one move, they won't let you get that one move.''
Down the stretch, any move the Mavs made turned into a disaster.
-- Dwain Price
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