Tiago Splitter finished the game with a playoff career-high 17 points. D. Clarke Evans/ NBA Photos
Playing in the most important home game up to date, the San Antonio Spurs had plenty of inspiration and urgency on their minds.
This was no better illustrated than in the performances of Tony Parker and Tiago Splitter.
Parker, who celebrated the birth of his first child, early Wednesday morning, scored a team-high 23 points with five assists, and Splitter notched his third straight double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds on their way to a 109-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night. More importantly, the Spurs now have a 3-2 series advantage with a chance to close it out on Friday in Dallas.
“It was a pretty special night for him. I think his child was a little bit more important than the game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said about Parker. “But he managed to do them both. He had a hell of a night. He was magnificent for us.”
Tim Duncan added his own double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 19 points off the bench and the Spurs outscored the Mavericks 54-28 in the paint.
“I’m a happy man right now,” said Parker, who was nursing a sore ankle throughout the game. “I was just playing on adrenaline today.”
The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki who scored 26 points with 15 rebounds. It was the first time this series Nowitzki had scored over 20 points. Veteran guard Vince Carter was superb for the Mavericks in the loss with a game-high 28 points, including a 7-of-9 shooting performance from 3-point range.
One could point to the play of Splitter on both sides of the ball as the key factor to the win. After signing a four-year, $36 million dollar contract in the offseason, many felt Splitter was overly compensated.
But it was his play in the last three games that have kept the Spurs defensively competent. And tonight, it the fourth quarter, Splitter was undeniably a must have player for the Spurs, scoring nine points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists in a 10 minute stretch.
“I was just feeling good,” Splitter said. “It felt well because it was a tough team. I think it gives us an edge. It’s going to be another war next game.”
The Spurs will travel to Dallas on Friday where they are 3-1 there this season.
A game time has yet to be determined.