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Old 04-28-2009, 06:13 AM   #1
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Unhappy Mavericks-Spurs Preview

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Mavericks-Spurs Preview



Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's usual ballcap at practice is stitched with four Larry O'Brien championship trophies, like jewels on some crown of NBA titles.

But the way things are headed for the San Antonio Spurs, there's no need to rush to make room for a fifth.

Tim Duncan has never lost a first-round playoff series, and only once since the Spurs won their first championship in 1999 has San Antonio not advanced in the postseason. But down 3-1 to the Dallas Mavericks, the third-seeded Spurs must win at home Tuesday night in Game 5 or their season is done.

"We haven't been in that position very often," Popovich said Monday. "It is what it is. You just play the games and deal with it."

It was a typical, non-alarmist Popovich response. But it's been anything but a typical postseason for the Spurs, who are saddled with trying to become just the ninth team in NBA history to storm back from a 3-1 deficit and win a series.

Unmoved by the daunting task facing San Antonio are the Mavericks, who want to seal their first playoff series victory in three years and not be lulled into a Game 6 back in Dallas.

"We should know the importance of closing a team out when you get the chance," Mavs forward Dirk Nowitizki said. "But they're a great team with a lot of pride that plays well at home."

The Mavs have been here before: Up 3-1 against the Spurs in the 2006 conference semifinals, San Antonio rallied to even the series and forced Dallas to wrest the series in overtime of Game 7.

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Old 04-28-2009, 06:14 AM   #2
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