It might have been ugly only in the eye of the beholder.
The Spurs’ 93-71 victory over Dallas Thursday night showed post-lockout basketball at its very worst.
But even with the offensive challenges for both teams, the Spurs claimed their fifth straight home victory as they endured their first three-games-in-four-night stretch of the season.
Here’s how they did it.
Game analysis: It was an understandable result in a game where the Spurs utilized one of their best 3-point shooting games in team history against one of Dallas’ worst. Throw in 10 Dallas turnovers before San Antonio’s first miscue and a blowout might have been expected.
Where the game was won: The Spurs jumped on Dallas early, scoring on a 3-pointer by Gary Neal on their first possession and never trailing. In the first five minutes, they hit Dallas with a 19-4 run keyed by three 3-pointers and never looked back.
Player of the game I: Matt Bonner went for 17 points, including five 3-pointers in his best shooting game of the season.
Player of the game II: Richard Jefferson was efficient in many areas Thursday night. Not only did he continue his recent scoring binge with 16 points, but he also provided some tough rebounding and even a couple of notable defensive plays.
Player of the game III: Danny Green wasn’t hesistant to look for his shot as he scored eight points in 24 minutes. He again was an active on defense and was Popovich’s first substitute, gaining his trust to play a lot of early minutes.
Most unsung: Gary Neal. Without Manu Ginobili in the lineup, the Spurs needed somebody to step up. Neal did it quickly with three 3-pointers in less than six minutes. The game was effectively over by the time he left the lineup for the first time.
Did you notice: Play was stopped in the third period when referees noticed that a fan was shining a laser light at players on the court. After the perpetrator was found, the game continued.
Stat of the game: The Spurs hit 16 3-pointers and Dallas had one.
Stat of the game II: Before Jason Terry’s 3-pointer late in the third quarter, the Mavericks missed their first 13 3-pointers.
Stat of the game III: For the first time since 2007-08, the Spurs have won their first five home games of the season.
Weird stat of the game: The Spurs shot 34.0 percent of their shots inside the 3-point arc against Dallas and 48.5 percent of their attempts outside of it.
Weird stat of the game II: According to Basketball-Reference.com, the Spurs became only the 16th team since 1985 to win a game by at least 22 points when shooting less than 40 percent from the field. San Antonio finished at 39.5 percent.
Quote of the game: ”You didn’t see the real Dirk Nowitzki tonight, that’s for sure,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, commenting on Nowitzki six points on 3-for-11 shooting in 24 minutes. It was the first time that Nowitzki had scored six points or less in a game with at least 20 minutes since a playoff loss to Portland on May 2, 2003.
How the schedule stacks up: The schedule can be blamed for the struggles by both teams Thursday night. Both teams were playing on the second night of a back-to-back. The Spurs are in the middle of a run of four games in five nights. Dallas was playing its fourth game in five nights and will finish a stretch of five games in seven games with a home game against New Orleans Saturday night.
Injuries: Ginobili missed his second game after undergoing surgery earlier in the day for a fractured fifth left metacarpal. Dallas guard Jason Kidd suffered a lower back injury in the final minute of the first quarter and did not return. Kidd failed to score in 11:32 of game action.