Game 28: Mavs vs. Spurs

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GAME RECAP: Mavericks 95, Spurs 89

Harrison Barnes notches 17 points and six assists as the Mavericks spoil Kawhi Leonard's season debut with a 95-89 win over the Spurs.

DALLAS — Continuing to play without rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr., the Dallas Mavericks tried to collectively come together Tuesday night at home against the Southwest Division rival San Antonio Spurs.

Welcoming in the Spurs after going winless on a three-game trip, the Mavericks tried to find success on their home hardwood before venturing back out on the road. The Mavs also tried to avenge two previous losses to the in-state rival Spurs, hoping to do so without the services of Smith (left hip strain) for the third straight game. And despite playing without their first-year floor general, the Mavericks (8-20) rallied together while sprinting to a 95-89 victory.

“Well, tonight we did a great job. In the second half, it wasn’t a good start. But we got some good rhythm, especially offensively there in the second half, and we kept attacking throughout the second half. I think that was the key tonight,” Mavs veteran reserve guard J.J. Barea said after the win.

Sticking with second-year standout Yogi Ferrell in the starting lineup while filling Smith’s void, the Mavericks tried to jump out to an early advantage in the opening quarter. Ferrell would then do his part to ensure the Mavs got off to a good start, scoring the team’s first five points of the night in the midst of an 8-2 run.

The Spurs (19-9) charged back behind the instant offense of perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard, who made the most of his season debut. The Mavs countered with the duo of Ferrell and leading scorer Harrison Barnes to keep the visiting Spurs at bay. Ferrell and Barnes then combined for 16 points, lifting the Mavericks into the second stanza with a 30-23 advantage.

Starting the second period with an alley-oop connection between Barea and backup big man Dwight Powell, the Mavs threatened to pull away. Powell continued to give the Mavericks a boost off the bench from there, helping the home team keep the Spurs at a safe distance. But after Leonard’s three-pointer from the wing, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle called for timeout with 8:06 left in the first half and his team up 36-30.

Barnes then began to intervene after the Spurs came within four, lifting the Mavericks to a 42-34 advantage while forcing a San Antonio timeout with 3:58 left in the half. Still, with Spurs reserve Rudy Gay upping his aggression, San Antonio refused to go away quietly. And after Bryn Forbes banked in a three at the buzzer, the Mavs escaped into the intermission with just a 46-44 lead under their belt.

Led by 11 points apiece from Barnes and Ferrell on a combined 10-of-19 shooting, the Mavericks held the slight edge at the midway mark while being outshot from the field, 44.2 percent to 42.2 percent. The Mavs also held a 24-22 rebounding edge, overcoming their six turnovers by forcing seven giveaways at the other end of the floor.

“Tonight, we won the first quarter. The second quarter, we didn’t shoot the ball great, but we hung in. And then we kept touch and gave ourselves a chance,” Carlisle foreshadowed.

Surrendering the lead early in the third quarter after Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green’s three-pointer, the Mavericks called for a timeout in a 51-46 hole with 8:38 left in the period after missing their first seven shots of the second half. The stoppage wouldn’t slow down the Spurs, however, as big man LaMarcus Aldridge began to have his way inside. But with swingman Wesley Matthews catching fire, the Mavs trailed just 61-59 with 3:55 left in the third after Barnes’ midrange jumper.

A pair of three-pointers from Barea then kept the Mavericks close after the Spurs attempted to further separate the two squads on the scoreboard. Barea’s driving score brought the Mavs within two a short time later, entering the final period down by the same margin at 69-67.

Taking the lead after back-to-back athletic finishes by Powell to start the fourth quarter, the Mavericks held a 73-69 edge with 10:24 remaining after the fourth-year big man’s 2-for-2 trip to the foul line. Barea took matters from there with a circus finish on a reverse layup, forcing a San Antonio timeout after the Mavs assumed a 75-69 lead with 8:50 left to play following an 8-0 Dallas run.

“We just continued to fight and follow our game plan, trying to execute to the best of our ability,” Powell would later say. “We knew they were a good team and they were going to continue to execute. They were going to make runs, so we just had to keep battling.”

However, with Leonard out the remainder of the game after meeting his minutes restriction, the Spurs turned to former Finals MVP Tony Parker to claw back to within four. Matthews and Ferrell then stepped up after the Spurs came within three, swishing back-to-back threes to put the Mavs up 85-76. The Dallas lead reached 11 from there after Barea’s driving score and feed to German big man Maxi Kleber. The Mavericks then tried to secure the win with clutch strokes at the free-throw line after reaching the bonus with 1:52 remaining. And despite a three from Gay to bring the Spurs to within six, the Mavs held on down the stretch with late-game defensive stops in the final moments.

Scoring 17 points on 8-of-17 shooting, Barnes led the Mavericks to the win while grabbing six rebounds. Ferrell added 16 points and eight rebounds in the first unit, and Matthews pitched in 16 points of his own. Meanwhile, Barea finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists off the bench, and Powell recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 boards in a reserve role.

“We just finished the game. This has been our brand of basketball as of late. You know, if we continue to play this way, like we have been, more often than not we’ll pull these games off. We’re a lot better than the record shows. We didn’t play the way we were supposed to during the early part of the season, so we’ve got a lot of uphill battling to do. But we’re equip to do it,” Matthews confidently proclaimed.

Aldridge led three Spurs in double figures with 23 points on 9-of-23 shooting, grabbing 13 rebounds to boot. However, the Mavs outshot the Spurs for the game, 42.7 percent to 40.2 percent, battling to a 49-all rebounding stalemate while forcing 10 San Antonio turnovers.

“I give our guys a lot of credit. A lot of guts and a lot of grit. You know, they’re a great team. We just had to outfight them,” Carlisle concluded.

“I thought we did a good job of just fighting,” Barnes echoed. “You know, Aldridge was getting some baskets there, but I thought we made him work. Everyone pitched in, was getting rebounds and helping us get stops, and that’s what allowed us to get the win.”

Note: The Mavericks will now hit the road for a two-game trip that begins Thursday against the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors lead the season series 1-0 after a 133-103 win in Dallas on Oct. 23. The game will air nationally on TNT at 9:30 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to their home floor next Monday night at American Airlines Center against the Phoenix Suns. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) — out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

DALLAS — Returning home after a winless three-game road trip, the Dallas Mavericks will now find themselves squaring off with a familiar foe Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.

Looking for their first win of the season against the Southwest Division rival San Antonio Spurs, the Mavericks (7-19) will attempt to bring their three-game skid to an end before venturing back out on the road. The Mavs will also try to overcome their piling injuries, playing a third straight game without rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain). Still, according to 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavericks believe they will be able to right the ship and begin surging up the Western Conference standings with a win against their in-state rivals.

“Unfortunately, the rookie has been out the last couple of games now, and we’ve missed him,” Nowitzki admitted. “You know, there’s been some athletic teams, and it would have been right up his alley. You know, we still were able to run with them, but we haven’t even seen Seth (Curry) yet, and he was one of our best players last year. Hopefully he can get right here some time soon and [Dorian Finney-Smith], but we’ve just got to fight through it and hold the fort down.”

Dropping the first two meetings of the season against the Spurs (19-8), the Mavericks know they must be better on the defensive end of the floor in order to collect a win Tuesday night.

The Dallas defense surrendered 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting to big man LaMarcus Aldridge, leading to the Mavericks’ 97-91 home loss at the hands of the Spurs back on Nov. 14. The Mavs also failed to contain Aldridge the second time around just 13 days later, seeing the perennial All-Star tally 33 points on 13-of-19 shooting, 10 rebounds and four assists to lift the Spurs to a 115-108 win on their home floor. The Mavericks now know they will have to do a better job defending Aldridge on Tuesday night before concluding the season series in San Antonio on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Spurs could receive a boost with former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard expected to make his long-awaited season debut Tuesday night. That said, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle is certain his team will once again have its hands full.

“Aldridge is a great player and he’s having an All-Star season without question. They’ve tweaked their roster, and he’s really been the featured guy. I see that continuing even with Leonard coming back,” Carlisle explained. “I still think he’s going to touch it an awful lot. We know [Aldridge], because he’s a Dallas guy and we recruited him. We know how good he is. He’s a great guy and he loves playing in Dallas, and we’ve got to try to make it more difficult this time around.

“[Leonard] is a great player. We don’t know what his parameters of return are in terms of minutes and stuff like that. But if he’s out there, that means that he’s healthy,” the coach added. “He’s become a perennial MVP candidate, so I think that tells you what the problem is. He’s got great impact on both ends. We respect the heck out of him, and we’re going to have to be ready.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center against the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 2-0. That game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dennis Smith Jr. (left hip strain) — out
Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

Cleveland Rejects Kawhi

Antonious Cleveland blocks Kawhi Leonard in the paint as he attempts to sink the jumper.


Postgame: Dwight Powell

Mavs F Dwight Powell comments on Tuesday night's win over the Spurs.


Powell Slam Dunk

J.J. Barea tosses it up to Dwight Powell and he throws down the slam dunk.


Barea Reverse Layup

J.J. Barea gets a fast break and gets inside for the reverse layup.


Postgame: J.J. Barea

Mavs G J.J. Barea dishes on Tuesday night's win over the Spurs.


Postgame: Harrison Barnes

Mavs F Harrison Barnes weighs in on Tuesday night's win over the Spurs.


Dirk 41 Moments #12

Dirk Nowitzki scored one of the most iconic baskets of his career on May 22, 2006, when the Mavs defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.


Practice Report: Antonius Cleveland

Antonius Cleveland dishes on what he brings to the team, getting a grasp of the playbook and more.


Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle shares an update on the team's health, looks ahead to tomorrow's game against San Antonio and more.

Spurs

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
K. Leonard, SF 15 6-12 1-4 0-0 1 5 6 1 1 1 0 0 8 13
L. Aldridge, PF 38 9-23 0-1 5-6 4 9 13 2 0 0 3 0 5 23
P. Gasol, C 22 0-2 0-1 0-0 1 8 9 2 0 0 1 2 -1 0
D. Green, SG 23 1-6 1-4 0-0 0 3 3 1 0 2 2 2 1 3
T. Parker, PG 23 3-9 0-2 0-1 0 5 5 3 1 0 1 1 1 6
M. Ginobili 26 1-5 0-4 3-4 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 2 -6 5
P. Mills 24 3-8 2-5 0-0 1 2 3 3 1 0 2 0 -7 8
B. Forbes 21 2-8 1-5 1-2 0 1 1 4 0 0 0 0 -11 6
R. Gay 26 8-11 2-2 3-4 2 3 5 1 1 2 0 1 -16 21
J. Lauvergne 5 2-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -3 4
B. Paul 3 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 -2 0
D. Bertans 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -2 0
D. Murray 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 0
K. Anderson 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
M. Costello 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Hilliard 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. White 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   35-87 7-28 12-19 10 39 49 20 4 5 10 11   89
    40.2% 25.0%                      

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Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 34 8-17 1-3 0-0 0 6 6 0 3 0 1 0 1 17
M. Kleber, PF 30 2-5 1-3 0-0 1 3 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 5
D. Nowitzki, C 26 1-8 0-1 4-4 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 6
W. Matthews, SG 35 7-15 2-5 0-0 0 5 5 4 0 0 1 4 -3 16
Y. Ferrell, PG 35 7-14 2-3 0-0 0 8 8 2 1 0 0 0 9 16
S. Mejri 9 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 2 1 2
J. Barea 24 6-11 2-5 2-2 0 6 6 6 0 0 1 2 8 16
D. Powell 17 5-7 0-0 2-4 4 8 12 0 1 0 1 5 8 12
D. Harris 19 1-9 1-3 2-2 1 2 3 3 2 1 1 3 6 5
A. Cleveland 7 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 -1 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Withey 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McRoberts 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Noel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Smith Jr. 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   38-89 9-24 10-12 8 41 49 17 8 2 6 19   95
    42.7% 37.5%                      

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