NBA Finals not a Lone Star love fest By DOUGLAS PILSdpils@express-news.netRivalries have a tendency to skew ones perception of reality or, at worst, make viewing another reality incomprehensible. The best example going right now outside of the political Cheap Kobe Bryant Shoes arenas constant state of being is among Texas NBA fans.Spurs fans, those who bleed silver and black and nothing else, are in full riot mode over the Dallas Mavericks being in the NBA Finals. You could hear the citys laughter building on Thursday before the Mavs evened the series with a mad fourth-quarter rush in Miami.As if he needed the answers, SpursNation.com writer Tim Griffin asked and found reasons for fans disdain last week.The hatred is because of the rivalry and the fact that they have a classless owner and loud mouth peanut sixth man, wrote someone calling himself rperez_jr.Its not hard to realize hes talking about Mark Cuban and Jason Terry.In a 2006 playoff series won by Dallas, the duo forever made themselves enemies of Alamo City by saying bad things about the River Walk and with a short punch to Michael Finleys groin.It doesnt matter that a few months later, the city did find zoo feces in that river or that Finley and Manu Ginobili had jumped on top of Terry. Never mind that had it been Terry and some other Maverick on top of Finley, and it was Finley doing the punching, Spurs fans would see a folk hero instead of a villain. And it makes no difference that Cuban has been a model citizen during these playoffs, even if hes had to be quiet to do so.The perception wont change. Generally, Texans band together when faced with outside aggression see the Alamo, Civil War and any state saying it has better high school football or barbeque. If something shines a positive light on the state, it doesnt take much to get behind it. Even Longhorns and Aggies can admit that things are better for both, and the conference they play in, when both find themselves ranked. It didnt do AM much good to say it beat a 5-7 Texas football team last year, just as the Aggies didnt do the Longhorns many strength-of-schedule favors from 2000-09 by averaging six wins a season. Fact is, the Spurs and Mavericks have a lot in common: Playoff streak: Dallas is at 11, Spurs 14. No current team has more than eight.50-win seasons: Dallas has 11 straight, Spurs have 12, which would be 14 if not for the 1998-99 lockout. Only the Lakers at 12 from 1980-91 have matched that.Foreign influence: Mavs have four not counting Puerto Ricos J.J. Barea. The Spurs have three not counting Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands.Coincidence: The Spurs made their first Finals in the 26th season after moving
from Dallas. Mavs made their first Finals in the 26th year of existence, losing in 2006 to New Kobe Shoes 2011 Spurs fans delight.Ah, but little of that matters in San Antonio. That leaves Spurs fans who hate Dallas left rooting for what one SpursNation.com reader calls the anti-Spurs because of the way the Heats LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scream and preen after good plays. Again, thats perception. To Spurs fans, Ginobili has great expressions after big plays. You can bet others see screaming and preening.If the Mavericks win, it means the great state of Texas has seven NBA titles in the past 18 years. If youre counting and you care about telling Hollywood to stick it, that would be two more than California in that time.And Spurs fans can still point to the imaginary scoreboard that would read: San Antonio 4, Dallas 1. TEXAS SHARINGNBA players who have crossed over between Dallas and San Antonio since 2000:Former MavericksSteve Novak: Seven games with Mavs and 23 with Spurs in 2010-11.Michael Finley: Played nine seasons in Dallas, where he was a two-time All-Star, before spending 4 1/2 with Spurs.Austin Croshere: Ended NBA career with three games here in 2008-09. Spent 2006-07 in Dallas.Pops Mensah-Bonsu: Three games here in 2008-09; 12 in Dallas in 2006-07.Kurt Thomas: Severe right ankle injury limited him to five games with Dallas in 1997-98. Played well with the Spurs from 2007-09.Nick Van Exel: Backup point guard in 2005-06 played 100 games for the Mavs from 2002-03.Mark Bryant: Spent 18 games in Dallas in 2000-01; 30 in S.A. the next season. Cherokee Parks: Of his seven NBA stops, he had 64 games in Dallas as a rookie in 1995-96; 42 with Spurs in 2001-02.Samaki Walker: No. 9 pick in 1996 spent three seasons in Dallas and the next two in S.A.Former SpursIan Mahinmi: No. 28 pick in 2005 joined Mavs this season after 32 games in S.A. Drew Gooden: Started 2009-10 with the Mavs; finished 2008-09 in S.A. Matt Carroll: Three games in S.A. in 2004; 46 with Mavs in two seasons from 2009-10. Kevin Willis: With Spurs from 2002-04. Came out of retirement and played five games for Dallas in 2007.Avery Johnson: He got a start on his coaching career working with Don Nelson over 1 1/2 seasons from 2002-03. Notes on a scorecard: Pop in line for big milestone if Spurs keep winning The Spurs kepttheir franchise's fastest start in history going with another victory Friday night.Their 106-96 triumph over New Jersey pushes them to 48-10 for the season with 24 games remaining.That means they can equal last season's win total Monday in their 60th game, as amazing as that might have sounded before the start of the season.A very modest 16-8 finish would enable them to set a franchise record
with 64 victories, breaking the previous mark of 63 wins set in 2005-06.And even if he might not have much interest in milestones, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can pick up a huge one if his team sets that record.Friday's game gave Popovich 784 victories. If the team can win 16 games during the rest of the regular season, it will boost him to 800 for his career.Only 13 NBA coaches have reached that milestone. And Phil Jackson is the only coach who has accomplished the feat sooner than Popovich, who is coaching in his 15th season. The Spurs will likely keep charging for victories as long as another team has a chance towrest homecourt advantage from them. Their victory Friday keeps their margin at 5 1/2 games in front of Miami as their closest challenger. It also extended their margin over Dallas to 6 1/2 games for the best record in the Western Conference.Here are a few other notes and tidbits from the Spurs 19th victory in their last 23 games. That's the span since they lost against New York and Boston on Jan. 4 and 5 their only back-to-back losses this season.The importance of Manu Ginobili's big game against the Netscan't be overstated. Ginobili erupted for 26 points, hisbest scoring game in nearly a month. His 26 points, six rebounds and five assists were one of his strongest games of the season. It marked the fifth time this season he's produced at least 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in a game.Ginobili's 8-for-16 shooting enabled him to rebound from a miserable February shooting slump. Before Friday night,Ginobili had hit 34.7 percent from the field, 24.4 percent from 3-point range and 12.8 points per game during February games. Despite those struggles, the Spurs are 8-3 in the month.The Spurs dominated the game early inside, piling up 24 points in the paint in the first quarter en route to a 29-25 lead. They finished with a 50-30 edge in points in the paint.DeJuan Blair dominated inside with 17 points and six rebounds, with 15 points coming in the first half. After the big early start, Blair failed to score in the second half, attempting only one shot.Tim Duncan had a solid game with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting.Despite his reduced role in the San Antonio offense this season, Duncan has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 14 games. And since his season-low of two points against Los Angeles on Dec. 28, Duncan has notched double-figure scoring games in 22 of his last 27 games.Tony Parker's 4-for-13 shooting night was one of his seven worst shooting nights Zoom Kobe 5 5 Shoes of the season. But he had a balanced game with 13 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists. It marked his eighth double-double of the season.
San Antonio is 8-0 in those games.Parker'sseven rebounds matched a season high. And his 13-7-10 game marked only the eighth time in his career he's notched double figures in scoring and assists with at least seven rebounds in a game.After a recent slump, George Hill rebounded to hit for 19 points and share team rebounding honors with Parker with seven. It was his fourth-highest scoring nightof the season and his second most rebounds in a game. Hill had averaged seven points and shot 33.3 percent in his last two games before Friday. Richard Jefferson's 0-for-7 shooting night was his worst shooting game of his career and worstsince his second season as a professional. Hewas 0-for-8 for New Jersey at Milwaukee on Dec. 8, 2001. And Jefferson was 0-for-7 at the Bucks on Nov. 6, 2002.James Anderson saw his longest playing action since before his foot injury with 18:06. It was his longest playing stint since notching 23:03 in the fourth game of the season against Phoenix on Nov. 3. He scored six points against New Jersey, which was more than the combined scoring total in his other four games since returning from the injured list in late January. Anderson averaged 7.0 points in his first six games before the injury, compared with an average of 1.3 points per game in his four games since coming back to the roster before Friday's game.Antonio McDyess struggled through his worst shooting effort as he missed all four shots and was shut out in scoring for the eighth game this season.Despite his lack of familiarity with his new team, Nets point guard Deron Williams produced 14 points and 12 assists against the Spurs. It marked his eighth double-double game against the Spurs in points and assists in his career. The previous seven games came when he played with the Utah Jazz.The Spurs outshot their opponents for the 40th time this season. They are 40-0 in those games.San Antonio won its ninth straight game over New Jersey in the Alamo City. The Nets last won in San Antonio on Jan. 22, 2002.How big was Friday's game with the arrival of Williams for the 17-40 Nets New Jersey owner Mikhail Prokhorov watched his team play a road game for the first time this season, cutting short a Vancouver ski trip to catch Williams' first game. Prokhorov viewed the game from a suite high in the AT&T Center and did not speak to reporters afterwards. Tom Orsborn: Not a good sign LOS ANGELES For the Spurs to be leading by only 6 with five minutes left in the first half, with Kobe Bryant scoreless, is not a good sign.Bryant has been content to keep his teammates involved in the early going, but you just know he'll be working his magic at