In a nightmarish third quarter, the Mavericks allowed a game-changing 19-0 run by their archrivals and saw their star forward, Dirk Nowitzki, sustain a lower leg injury on a nasty spill. The sweet-shooting Bavarian is likely to miss a minimum of 6-7 games, reports the Dallas Morning News, and now Dallas's playoff hopes rest in the balance.
With the 88-81 win, the sixth-seeded Spurs improved to three games over the seventh-seeded Mavericks, plus the tiebreaker, and Dallas players admit that without Dirk, their goal will be just to hang on. Said Jason Kidd: "It's a great test to understand who we are. Are we up for this challenge?"