Not everything from the 2006 run to the NBA Finals is being forgotten by the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas superstar Dirk Nowitzki says beating the San Antonio Spurs on their way to the 2006 Finals will give his team confidence in their 2009 first round series against the Spurs.
“San Antonio used to be like a big brother who would always beat up on the little brother. But in 2006 we finally got out of that shadow. And since then we have played some very good games against the Spurs,” Nowitzki said in an interview with the German sports portal spox.com.
“We can use again the confidence of knowing that we won back then. San Antonio has the home court advantage this time again and their arena is very loud. But knowing that we can win there and even decide a series there will give us a good feeling.”
San Antonio had the home court advantage in the 2006 Western Conference semifinals and won game one at home. But the Mavs came back to win Game Two in San Antonio and took both of the next two games at home for a 3-1 lead. The Spurs took Game 5 at home and then beat the Mavericks in Dallas to set up a Game 7 in San Antonio. Nowitzki and Dallas pulled out Game 7 in overtime to move into the Conference Finals.
Nowitzki gave the interview before Game 1 of the series on Saturday, which the Mavericks won 105-97 in San Antonio. The power forward admitted in the interview that the Mavericks are lucky that Manu Ginobili is out of the series.
“Of course it’s a bit lucky that Manu Ginobili is out. But that really only means that Tony Parker and Tim Duncan will do even more. Parker was at times unstoppable against us. It will definitely be a difficult series, but we will have fun as well. We beat them once this season in double-overtime and these games are always classics. So it should be a great series.”
Nowitzki said the key will be trying to stop Parker as a collective unit.
“He will score his points no question. But I hope we can win the games as a team and keep together and hold off Parker in the important stages.”
In Game 1, Parker scored 24 points and had eight assists. But he also shot just 10 of 23 from the field and turned the ball over five times.