GAME 2: Spurs 102, Mavs 88. My Top 10 Observations

10. Give Spurs coach Gregg Popovich credit. His "dogs" played harder and better than Dallas. In fact, they jumped to a 9-0 lead and basically used the Mavs as a fire hydrant.

9. Watching Erick Dampier and Brendan Haywood, it's Dallas' best center duo since Gana Diop was here with Damp in '06. Wonder how things would've turned out had the Mavs' No. 1 plan worked out last summer. Marcin Gortat anyone?

8. Watching Erick Dampier and Brendan Haywood, it's still evident that Tim Duncan is a Hall of Famer. When he's rattling in 17-foot jumpers, fuhgeddabouddit.

7. I predicted Mavs in 7 so it's hardly time to panic. Especially when you consider that Denver and Phoenix lost home games as well and the Lakers had to dodge a buzzer 3-pointer for its 2-0 lead on OKC. Remember, all eight Western Conference playoff teams won 50 games. Nothing's gonna be easy.

6. Troy Aikman was in the front row at AAC. With Jason Kidd having a really listless night, the former Cowboy was again the best passer in the building.

5. Give Rick Carlisle credit. Granted his team came out flat (and happy?), but he at least tried to yank them awake. Went to a three-guard lineup in the second quarter and flashed a 2-3 zone defense after Tony Parker consistenly found Dallas' lane off pick-and-rolls.

4. Tried to caution you guys who dismissed the Spurs as "old" before the series. When their Big Three are engaged and they make 8 3-pointers, it's awfully tough to beat them. And when you spot them a 20-point lead, the margin for error in the comeback is invisibly minute.

3. Caron Butler played a hellacious fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he was a lethargic, passive jump shooter the first three quarters.

2. Dirk Nowitzki was not good. Missed his first two shots and committed two fouls in the first three minutes that sent him to the bench and threw him off his rhythm. He's got to be smarter. Let's face it, he's got to be better. Funny to say to a guy who had 24 points and 10 rebounds, but it's true.

1. Since 2005 the Mavs are 9-8 in San Antonio. This series isn't over. It's only just begun.

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