2006 Western conference semifinal’s Spurs v Mavericks : One of the greatest playoff series of all time

The 2005-6 NBA season

This NBA season will definitely go down as one of the most underrated seasons of all time. The regular season positioning was not exciting as a whole but was full of memorable individual instances.

Unstoppable Kobe

Even though Kobe didn’t win the MVP award he just couldn’t stop scoring.

With Shaq leaving Lakers due to the fallout with Kobe the lakers were nowhere near there past selves. The team just made the playoffs placing 7th seed with with a very abysmal 45-37 record. That did not stop the mamba from going on a rampage and producing one of his best seasons ever averaging 35.4 points per game during the course of the regular season.

One of his most impressive outings was surely against Dallas Mavericks. This was the game which gave him the famous name “The Black Mamba” In one of his best performances of all time Kobe Scored 62 points inside three quarters out scoring the Mavs 62-61.

The Rise of the heatles

If we were to talk about the timeline of basketball we can divide it into dynasties. From Bird’s Celtics, Jordan’s Bulls to Kobe’s Lakers. One of the greatest teams to play the modern basketball game was the Miami Heat. The ‘06 season proved to be a stepping stone for the rise of the Heatles.

Before the Lebron, Wade and Bosh era started there was the Shaq and Wade duo. Before the ‘06 playoffs Miami was considered a very lightweight team in the Eastern conference. Although they finished second in the league they were never really considered a threat to the championship. This team went on to beat the mavs in 6 games in the NBA finals and winning their first ever NBA title carving their way to a glorious future ahead

San Antonio Spurs:- The Greatest Dynasty that never was

This San Antonio team was one of the best teams in the league for 5 straight seasons. The spurs had the best coach of all time in Greg Popovich. They had their big three consisting of Duncan, Parker and Manu who dominated the league in all aspects season after season.From 2003-07 this team won 3 trophies but never one two back to back which is probably why they’re not considered when talking about the best dynasties of the game. The history books will always say how one foul and one crazy shot prevented spurs from winning 5 titles in a row.

After putting up an amazing 63 win regular season in ‘06 San Antonio ended up breezing past the Sacramento Kings in 6 games and faced the Dallas Mavericks next.

Dallas Mavericks :- The Fraudulents

The Fraudulents was a nickname given to this team as no matter how good their team was they always ended up choking or bottling the season in the playoffs. The Mavs ended up putting up a respectable season performance overall placing 4th in the tightly contested western conference. The 2006 season was a breakout season for the 7 foot German Dirk Nowitzki. The team’s manager Avery Johnson and head coach Mark Cuban helped him understand how he wasn’t needed on the perimeter and how attacking the paint will help him develop as a player. After The departure of their best player Steve Nash, Dirk really took charge this season and was one of the leading contenders for the most valuable player award. After a respectable 4th place finish in the conference they sweeped the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs and were up to face the team that beat them in the WC finals just a few seasons ago. The team knew that the only way to remove their shameful tag would be to defeat spurs and their big three.

The Series

End of the day if I had to describe this series we could say it all came down to Tim Duncan vs Dirk Nowitzki

The San Antonio Spurs were not only favourites to win the series but the championship.The Dallas Mavericks travelled to San Antonio for the first two games of the series. San Antonio took the first game of the playoffs with a closely contest 85-87. Tim Duncan scored 31 for the spurs whereas Dirk scored 21

The second game was a blowout win for the Mavs as they beat the spurs 113-91. Josh Howard, Devin Harris and Nowitzki combined for a total of 68 points for Dallas whereas Duncan’s 28 points went in vain as no one else stepped upto the occasion for the spurs.

The Dallas returned back to their home court for the next two games of the series.

The third game was a bit of a controversial one as Dallas got a total of 51 chances at the free throw line compared to the San Antonio’s 22. In fact the Maverick’s were down by one when they got fouled once again which enabled Dirk to make both free throws and take the lead 103-104 in the dying embers of the game. The 7 foot German scored 27 points out of which 21 came at the free throw line.

Game 4 was a really exciting one as it was probably the first game in the series when both teams performed as whole and not just relied on their two big men. The spurs three combined to score a whopping 90 points but heroics by Jason Terry, Devin Harris, Jerry Stakehouse and obviously the glue that held the team, Dirk helped take down the spurs 118-123

With a 3-1 lead in the series for the Mavs it looked as though the Spurs were out of the contest and The Maverick’s would no longer be known as the fraudulent’s but Pop’s men were not going down so easily.

Game 5 went down to the wire with spurs just surviving in a 97-98 game at and the Spurs had clawed their way back in to give themselves a fighting chance and make the series (2-3).

Going into game 6 the talk was that surely Maverick’s will close it out in game 6 as they had home court advantage and had dominated spurs throughout the series but the Mavs were outclassed by Manu who went big with 30 points against a tired Dallas team. The fraudulents were back, they had blown a three 3-1 lead against the spurs and had to face the San Antonio Spurs for the final showdown in the opposition’s backyard

Game 7

The final game of an overall exhilarating series. The game started with Dallas taking charge and somehow by mid second quarter Dallas were up 20 points and everything seemed to be going in for them. They had a huge lead heading into halftime. Dirk was on a rampage.It seemed like it would surely take a lot for spurs to get back in the game but somehow by the time four minutes were left in the third quarter spurs were down just 4 points. After that it was a back and forth game until the final minute of the the final quarter with the game tied at 101-101. Manu Ginobilli once again proved clutch for San Antonio and drained a three With 32 seconds to go. You could see the smile drain of the face of Dallas Headcoach Mark Cuban.At that point it seemed as though that was it, The odds were with Spurs. The momentum was with spurs but most importantly the history was against the Mavs. You could see the life drain out of the Players and head coach Mark Cuban.

The Foul

With just enough time left for one more play the spurs just had to make sure the Mavs don’t get a chance to make a three point shot and they did that well. Dirk was left open and was going on for a easy two point layup when Manu shocked the world. One of the Spurs Best defenders Manu Gibinolli went for the block on The seven foot German. There was no need to do that. Spurs would’ve won the game if Dirk just hit the easy layup for two points but instead he made the basket plus the foul which gave him the trip to the free throw line and the game was tied at 104-104 and the game went into overtime.

Spurs stood no chance as the Mavs dominated the spurs in overtime and the Mavs ended up winning dominantly 119-111.

Spurs star Tim Duncan’s first words after the loss were not of grief or anger but of awe. He stated that this was the best series he’d ever played in.

The Dallas Mavericks ended up beating the Phoenix suns in 6 in the western conference finals only to lose to the Miami in the NBA finals.

Although the Mavs couldn’t bring home the title they were never called the fraudulent’s again

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