Mavericks vs. SpursVince Carter had another big night as the Mavs and Spurs exchanged blows Sunday night.
SAN ANTONIO — After seeing their four-game win streak come to an end Friday night at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Mavericks needed to catch a convenient case of amnesia two days later while entering a building they hadn’t won in since January of 2011.
Looking to snap their seven-game losing streak against the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs, the Mavericks attempted to conquer their recent demons in the AT&T Center. The Mavs also tried to ruin the return of Spurs point guard Tony Parker, who stepped onto the court after missing six games due to mental and physical fatigue.
But, despite a valiant effort, the Mavericks (36-25) wouldn’t be able to avoid an eighth consecutive loss to their in-state rivals and second straight overall, suffering a 112-106 defeat as Parker’s return sparked the Spurs (43-16).
“You know, this effort is good enough to beat a lot of teams. Not [the Spurs] with the way they played tonight,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after falling into a 3-0 hole in the season series. “I’ve got to look at our team and look at where we are and where we’re trying to get to. I’m disappointed by the result but not the effort. I thought the effort was good. And look, we’ve got to do better. We’ve got one more shot at these guys at our place, and we’ll be ready for that.”
Relinquishing a 16-point lead in the first half before falling to the Bulls, the Mavericks began Sunday’s showdown looking for sustained success. But Parker would quickly shake off any rust from his 19-day layoff, powering the Spurs’ attack in the opening quarter while 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki was forced to sit with two quick fouls.
However, even with Nowitzki on the bench, the Mavericks would hold their own after falling down by nine, staging a 9-0 run in response. Still, the Mavs faced a 25-22 deficit at the end of the first 12 minutes of play.
Looking to make up for lost time, Nowitzki returned to the action and quickly drained a jumper over Boris Diaw to begin the second stanza. But again the Spurs would create a separation on the scoreboard, extending their lead to double digits behind a balanced attack on the offensive end.
The Mavs then attempted to rally behind the play of sixth man Vince Carter off the bench. And with starting 2-guard Monta Ellis lending some assistance, the Mavs crept within one, 48-47, at the halftime intermission.
Led by Carter’s 15 points off the bench on 6-of-11 shooting while passing Peja Stojakovic (1,762) for eighth on the NBA’s all-time 3-pointers made list, the Mavericks found themselves within an arm’s reach at the midway mark. However, the Spurs’ 46.5 percent from the field as a team bettered the Mavs’ 40 percent at the half, adding a 27-22 rebounding edge to make up for 10 first-half turnovers.
With Parker looking for his own shot to start the second half, the Spurs again tried to distance themselves from the visiting Dallas team as the third quarter got underway. Nowitzki then did his best to keep his team close, scoring with an array of moves while taking over the offensive responsibilities.
But, after back-to-back treys by Manu Ginobili tilted the momentum in San Antonio’s favor, the Mavs faced an uphill climb at 78-70 entering the fourth.
“You know, it felt like we were kind of close, but then we weren’t really close. That’s what kind of game it was,” Nowitzki confessed. “I just think we were never quite in the game the way we wanted to be.”
Converting a three-point play to open the fourth period, Nowitzki showed that he wouldn’t let the Mavs fade down the stretch while putting the team on his back. But again the Spurs would have an answer, attacking the Dallas defense inside behind center Tiago Splitter to go back up by double digits.
The Mavericks refused to go quietly, however, climbing within five before Tim Duncan’s and-one score over big man Brandan Wright made it a 97-88 game with 5:23 left to play. And despite the best efforts of Carter and Ellis down the stretch, the Spurs would then put the game away on Duncan’s layup inside to make it a 106-99 margin with just 45.2 seconds still on the clock.
The two teams cleared their benches a short time later, finishing the rest of the way with their reserves.
Scoring 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, Nowitzki led the Mavs while also snatching down seven rebounds in a losing effort. Carter added 21 points off the bench, dishing out five assists and pulling down four rebounds to boot. Meanwhile, Ellis made it three Mavs in double figures with 17 points and eight assists.
“I think we lost the game defensively and not offensively,” Nowitzki said. “I mean, I was scoring the ball and Vince was scoring well and Monta was getting to the basket. When you score 106 in this building, that’s pretty good.”
Parker led six Spurs in double figures with 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting in his return, dishing out seven assists as well. The Mavs did equal the Spurs in shooting with both teams connecting on 46.4 percent, forcing 13 San Antonio turnovers but losing a 46-43 rebounding battle. The Spurs also cashed in at the foul line, hitting 24 of 28 at the charity stripe compared to the Mavs’ 9-of-14 shooting at the other end.
“There were a lot of big plays. They made a few more plays than we did. That’s what it came down to,” Carlisle concluded. “It’s just one of those kinds of games. Our shotmaking wasn’t were it needed to be, we had a good turnover game, we got beat by a few on the boards, but it just came down to making plays.”
“They’re a very poised team,” Carter added. “I mean, they know who they are, and they do a great job of executing. I think we did a great job of just keeping ourselves in the game. We just never could quite get over the hump. I mean, they just had a bunch of guys hitting big shots or making that play, whatever that is, on either end. … We were in the game, which we wanted to be, and I think them getting points with the clock stopped hurt us more than anything. We were getting the shots that we wanted but they were getting the shots they wanted and getting free throws. It was tough. We just couldn’t get over the hump, particularly in the last five minutes of the game.”
Note: The Mavericks will now continue to play away from home, touching down in Denver for Wednesday’s showdown against the Nuggets. Denver leads the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Friday night, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. The season series is tied at 1-1 after both teams won on the other’s home floor. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.
|Shawn Marion, F||28||5||1||3||0||4||3||1||0||1||-3||2-7||1-3||0-0|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||31||22||0||0||1||7||6||1||1||3||-13||9-17||0-2||4-5|
|Samuel Dalembert, C||18||8||0||0||0||10||5||5||0||4||-2||3-7||0-0||2-2|
|Monta Ellis, G||37||17||8||1||0||3||3||0||3||2||-2||7-15||1-2||2-3|
|Jose Calderon, G||31||8||6||3||1||2||1||1||2||1||-8||4-11||0-1||0-0|
San Antonio Spurs
|Kawhi Leonard, F||34||16||1||1||1||7||5||2||2||2||6||6-9||3-5||1-1|
|Tim Duncan, F||34||17||2||0||2||9||7||2||4||3||-1||5-11||0-0||7-9|
|Tiago Splitter, C||28||11||3||2||1||5||3||2||1||1||10||4-9||0-0||3-3|
|Danny Green, G||23||5||3||0||1||4||4||0||1||1||13||2-8||1-4||0-0|
|Tony Parker, G||31||22||7||0||0||3||3||0||1||1||8||10-15||1-2||1-1|
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SAN ANTONIO — After seeing their four-game win streak snapped at the hands of the Chicago Bulls, things don’t get any easier for the Dallas Mavericks.
Falling to a 100-91 loss on their home floor, the Mavericks (36-24) would see their offense grow stagnant in the second half Friday night after building a 16-point lead in the first 24 minutes of play. The Mavs also struggled to score down the stretch while losing a 46-37 rebounding battle, falling to defeat after winning 10 of their previous 12 games.
“Some nights teams miss shots,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after his team shot just 40 percent, “and you have to hang in with grit, guts, defense and rebounding. Weird thing about it was we were in front most of the first half and we let them climb back into it with grit and guts and rebounding. Down the stretch we had some good opportunities and made some mistakes, too. Second chances were costly. They had 15 second-chance points and we had 10. … We couldn’t overcome the rebounding margin and the way we didn’t make shots when we needed to.”
Now, the Mavericks will try to get back on track against the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs on the road, looking to avenge two losses this season to their in-state rivals.
The Mavericks have dropped seven straight overall to the Spurs (42-16) and six in a row at the AT&T Center. They’ll try to change their misfortunes Sunday, which could also mark the return of Spurs point guard Tony Parker from his six-game hiatus due to mental and physical fatigue.
Parker has averaged 24.0 points in the Spurs’ two wins over the Mavs this season. Still, even with the cat-quick point guard’s possible return, the Mavericks hope to leave the Spurs’ home floor with their first victory in the series since a 106-99 home win on March 17, 2012.
“All you can do is go down there and be ready to compete and then go from there,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said as the Mavs try to claim their first road win against the Spurs since January of 2011. “That’s really all I can say. I mean, we know what they do. They know what we do. We’ve been competing against them for a long, long time. So, it should be a fun challenge against one of the best home teams this league has had over my career. They’re always great down there, so we’ve got to be ready for a big game.”
Note: The Mavericks will now play their next two games on road, rekindling their Southwest Division rivalry with the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. San Antonio leads the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on NBA TV at 6 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Friday night, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. The season series is tied at 1-1 after both teams won on the other’s home floor. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.