Parker walked off the court with 38 points, a comfortable lead and a roaring Spurs crowd cheering him back to the bench with a Game 2 victory minutes away.
Unlike the first game, Dallas was unable to pester Parker and the Spurs breezed to a 105-84 blowout over the Mavericks on Monday night. It evened the series and handed Dallas one of the worst losses in the history of the playoff rivalry.
“You want to make sure I’m in attack mode every single play,” Parker said. “Even if it’s not to score, to penetrate for my teammates or make great cuts.”
He did it all against the Mavericks, who head back to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday night. Dallas was trying to send the Spurs to consecutive home playoff losses for the first time since 2002, but couldn’t contain San Antonio’s speedy point guard.
Parker had 27 points in the first half and finished 16-of-22 from the floor. It was a marked difference from Game 1, when the Mavs let Parker score 24 but made him a non-factor in the second half, when he made just two field goals.
“First of all you have to meet the challenge,” Mavs guard Jason Terry said of guarding Parker. “We had four or five different guys on him.”
It still wasn’t enough. Parker had 19 points in the first quarter alone, equaling the Mavericks’ total.
Parker departed with about 5 minutes left in the fourth to a raucous ovation — and with the leading man out of the game, many fans headed to the exits as Parker took his seat.
“I guess a split in San Antonio in a tough building is not bad,” Nowitzki said. “But if you win the first one you always want to get the second one. You’re not happy with a split after you get the first one.”
Nowitzki said his left thumb needed to be taped after someone hit it. He said the same thumb was jammed several months ago and that it hurt when hit again Monday, but he was able to finish the game.
The Mavericks beat the Spurs 105-97 on Saturday night for their first road playoff victory in three years. But it was hardly rare territory for San Antonio: The Spurs have come back to win four series after losing Game 1 since 2002.
They put together a convincing response in the second game and the frustration for Dallas could be seen all the way down its bench. Mavs owner Mark Cuban punched a water cooler as San Antonio pulled away in the fourth.
The Mavericks haven’t won a playoff series since 2006. Winning the opener was a start, but they’ll have to figure out another way to stop Parker in Game 3.
The Mavericks were a favorite target all season for Parker, who averaged more than 31 points and seven assists in four regular-season meetings this season. He had 24 points in Game 1 but the Mavs kept him under control by using different defenders, including the pesky Jose Barea.
The approach didn’t work this time.
Parker fell three points of his playoff high of 41, set last year in the first round against Phoenix.
“I try to stay the same and take whatever they give me,” Parker said. “Tonight in the first half they were going under the pick and roll and my outside shot was going. And then I was able to penetrate.
Dallas shot just 39 percent from the field. The Spurs also dominated on the glass, outrebounding Dallas 44-28.
“We talked about sustaining,” Duncan said. “Obviously we had a great start to the game and got out to a lead. We understand the third and fourth quarter last game we really let off the gas. Defensively we wanted to stay solid, and I thought we did a really good job of doing that and playing more of 48 minutes.”
Mavs G Jerry Stackhouse, bothered by a foot injury all season, left San Antonio on Sunday for personal reasons. Stackhouse watched Game 1 in a suit on the bench and isn’t expected to see any action in the playoffs. … Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle both groomed Cleveland’s Mike Brown, who was named the NBA’s coach of the year Monday.