DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki believes the best thing that's happened to the San Antonio Spurs during their run to this year's NBA Finals were -- the Dallas Mavericks.
Nowitzki and the No. 8-seeded Mavs took the top-seeded Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. Since then, the Spurs took care of Portland in five games in the second round of the playoffs, Oklahoma City in six games, and are currently tied 1-1 with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
In essence, the Mavs may have awaken the Spurs, who were in the fight of their lives before dispatching Dallas in the opening round of the playoffs.
“Maybe we’re a part of the reason they got hot,” Nowitzki said Tuesday at the Mavs Summer Hoop Camp at T. Boone Pickens YMCA. “Ever since Game 7 they’ve been rolling.
"They’ve been really playing well, but for us it was a great series. Game 7, on the road, even when you’re down a bit, you want to stay in position to strike. We just felt the deficit was too big at halftime.''
The Spurs busted out to a lopsided 68-46 lead at the half in that Game 7 against the Mavs en route to rolling to a convincing 119-96 victory.
“Game 7 was definitely frustrating, but we had a good season and a good playoff series against (the Spurs),'' Nowitzki said. "Just in Game 7 they definitely brought their best game and we didn’t play our best game, unfortunately.”
-- Dwain Price
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