Spurs vs. Mavericks
Tony Parker scores 23 points and Danny Green adds 22 points as the Spurs beat the Mavericks on the road 116-107.
DALLAS — Carrying over the holiday cheer from Monday’s 111-104 win in Houston, the Dallas Mavericks returned to American Airlines Center three nights later for the ultimate test on the home floor.
Welcoming in their Southwest Division rival and the reigning Western Conference champions Thursday, the Dallas Mavericks looked to build off their latest victory as the San Antonio Spurs came to town. The Mavericks also attempted to avoid a sixth straight loss in the series, catching the Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back after their 111-98 Christmas Day defeat at home to the Rockets.
But instead the Spurs (23-7) would again have the Mavs’ number, holding off a late Dallas rally down the stretch. And after a 116-107 defeat on their home floor, the Mavericks (16-13) will now be forced to embark on a three-game road trip having dropped three of their last four outings.
“We had a big win for ourselves on the road and wanted to come back and protect home, but it didn’t happen,” Mavs sixth Vince Carter said of the loss. “But at the same time there’s some positives. I think our team really stuck together. Against a good team like that, we could have easily been blown out. But we fought and gave ourselves a chance to win, and now we have to get the first one on the road.”
With Brandan Wright ruled out of the contest due to an illness, big man DeJuan Blair didn’t have to wait long to seek retribution against his former team, sliding back into the starting lineup at center over Samuel Dalembert after a DNP-CD Monday night in Houston. Mavs leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki then began the game with a vintage jumper, picking up where he left off at in Houston while scoring 31 points to move past Alex English (25,613) for 13th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
However, with the Spurs finishing the opening quarter on a 12-2 run, the Mavericks faced some early adversity while trailing 27-20 after one.
Continuing their momentum into the second stanza, the Spurs would quickly seized a double-digit advantage as Patty Mills swished in a corner 3-pointer in front of the Mavs’ bench. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle then turned to his bench, getting a brief lift from Carter on the offensive end.
But, as Spurs sharpshooter Danny Green caught fire from the perimeter and Tim Duncan asserted himself inside, the Mavs would eventually find themselves down by as much as 12. And despite a combined 32 points from the trio of Nowitzki, Blair and Carter, the Mavericks faced a 58-51 deficit entering the halftime intermission.
Postgame: Shawn Marion
Mavs F Shawn Marion says it was frustrating to come so close only to fall short against the Spurs Thursday night.
Led by Green’s 14 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting, the Spurs took charge of the scoreboard through two quarters of play while connecting on 5 of 11 from behind the arc and holding a 25-20 edge in the rebounding department. Meanwhile, the Mavs trailed despite outshooting the visiting San Antonio squad, 47.6 percent to 46.5 percent.
Beginning the second half with a flurry, the Mavericks would inch to within two early in the third quarter. Spurs point guard Tony Parker created separation on the scoreboard immediately after that while powering a 9-0 San Antonio run, however, scoring with ease to keep the Mavs at a safe distance.
Nowitzki and Carter then did their best to keep the Mavericks close, hitting an array of jumpers to bring the home team within seven, 84-77, entering the fourth period.
“I thought we did a pretty good job to get ourselves back into the game,” Carter explained. “You know, they’re just a very smart team, they stick to their system and they make you pay for your mistakes. But we were able to give ourselves a chance late in the game. … We just kept fighting till the end and we gave ourselves a chance to win late.”
With Green swishing in his fourth 3-pointer of the night, Manu Ginobili’s transition assist to Boris Diaw quickly prompted a timeout by Carlisle as the Mavs fell into a 92-81 hole with 9:42 remaining. But, after the Mavs went down 15, Monta Ellis attempted to will his squad back into the game with relentless attacks to the rim, converting a three-point play before also scoring in transition to power a 12-0 Dallas run as the home team charged to within three, 100-97, with 3:54 left to play.
However, Green’s corner triple with 1:59 on the clock would halt the Mavs’ furious comeback attempt down the stretch. Ginobili’s 2-for-2 trip to the foul line with 34.2 seconds left after a foul on Ellis then put the Mavs at a 112-107 disadvantage. And after Ellis’ drive to the rim at the other end of the floor came up empty, Parker put the game away at the foul line with clutch strokes in the final seconds.
“We made some mistakes in coverage,” Carlisle said of the defense down the stretch. “We were in zone late. We had five stops in a row and we had a couple of places where we just became undisciplined and they took advantage of it. This is one of the things when you play San Antonio. You have to be really precise with your offense and your defense, and we just had little slippages here and there. Their team has been together for a long time. They are highly-skilled. They have a lot of guys that are great players and they took advantage of it. We basically had to pitch a shutout in the last four minutes and we had a chance to do it, but we had a couple of mistakes that short-circuited us.”
Finishing the night 10 of 17 from the field, Nowitzki led the Mavs in the loss with 25 points. Ellis came on strong in the second half, scoring 23 points in a 9-of-19 shooting performance. Off the bench, Carter added 20 points. Meanwhile, Blair tallied up 14 points and 13 rebounds against his former team. Starting point guard Jose Calderon made it five Mavs in double figures with 13 points and seven assists.
Leading five Spurs in double figures, Parker finished with 23 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Green added 22 points off the bench, hitting all seven of his shot attempts and going 5 of 5 from 3-point range. Duncan added 21 points and 13 rebounds inside.
“They are a great team,” Blair said of his former squad. “They take their time, they’re patient and they played a great game.”
The Spurs also outshot the Mavs on the night, 49.3 percent to 45.9 percent, adding a 46-41 rebounding advantage. The Mavs failed to secure the win despite forcing 18 San Antonio turnovers for 17 points at the other end as well, committing 14 giveaways of their own.
“It’s just giving up too many points. I mean, we gave up 116 tonight and almost 30-point quarters across the board,” Nowitzki concluded while critiquing the defensive effort. “It’s tough and puts a lot of pressure on our offense. You know, they are a good offensive team and we know that. Green got hot and you’ve got to pay a lot of attention to Ginobili and Parker on the pick-and-rolls and Duncan rolling to the basket. If you guard that then some of their shooters are open, so they are a tough team to guard. That’s why they’re winning all these games.
“It’s another tough one to swallow,” he added. “Now, we have another tough road trip with three tough games.”
Note: The Mavericks will now venture back out away from home, beginning a three-game road trip in Chicago with Saturday’s showdown against the Bulls. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Jan. 3, playing host to the Los Angeles Clippers. 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.
San Antonio Spurs
|Kawhi Leonard, F||28||7||2||2||1||8||7||1||2||5||-9||3-6||0-2||1-2|
|Tim Duncan, F||31||21||3||0||2||13||11||2||3||2||-7||7-16||0-0||7-8|
|Tiago Splitter, C||22||12||1||0||1||6||4||2||2||1||-4||2-4||0-0||8-11|
|Marco Belinelli, G||19||4||1||1||0||3||3||0||1||2||8||2-5||0-3||0-0|
|Tony Parker, G||33||23||3||2||0||2||2||0||4||1||-7||6-18||0-0||11-12|
|Nando De Colo||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0-0||0-0||0-0|
|Shawn Marion, F||27||4||0||1||2||6||5||1||2||1||-4||1-9||0-2||2-2|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||35||25||2||2||0||5||5||0||1||4||-3||10-17||1-2||4-4|
|DeJuan Blair, C||23||14||3||1||1||11||4||7||1||2||-9||6-8||0-0||2-3|
|Monta Ellis, G||41||23||6||3||0||3||3||0||4||4||-9||9-19||0-3||5-7|
|Jose Calderon, G||32||13||3||2||0||7||7||0||0||5||5||5-11||3-4||0-0|
Shootaround: Shawn Marion
Mavs F Shawn Marion comments on how it feels to go up against a former team the way DeJuan Blair is Thursday against the Spurs, how he deals with defending opposing point guards and more.
DALLAS — Behind a vintage performance by their franchise player and a second-half rally, the Dallas Mavericks entered the Christmas holiday full of joy thanks to Monday night’s 111-104 victory in Houston.
Getting on track following back-to-back disappointing losses to Toronto and Phoenix, the Mavericks (16-12) outscored the in-state rival Rockets 36-21 in the third quarter after trailing by seven at halftime. The Mavs then leaned on leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki down the stretch as the 11-time All-Star passed Alex English (25,613) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting to lead the visiting Dallas team to the win.
“You don’t ever want to sit on two days at Christmas with a three-game losing streak, so we definitely wanted to have this one in the second half and I think we showed it defensively in the third quarter. We competed and everybody who was out there played hard,” Nowitzki declared after the win.
Shootaround: Rick Carlisle
Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle touches on the illness of his frontcourt, a motivated DeJuan Blair, how to stop Tony Parker Thursday night and more.
“You know, we had a disappointing first half, and at halftime we just talked about hanging in,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle added. “We were very fortunate to just be down seven, and we felt like with defense in front of us in the second half we could help the guys a little bit and just felt like if we hung in we’d give ourselves a shot. We started getting some stops, the ball was going in the basket, we got some momentum and we had a lot of guys step up.”
With the win, the Mavericks improved to 5-1 in the Southwest Division this season. They’ll now try to add another notch in the win column Thursday night, welcoming in the division-leading San Antonio Spurs before venturing out for a three-game road trip.
Catching the Spurs (22-7) on the second night of a back-to-back after point guard Tony Parker’s season-low six points translated to a 111-98 Christmas Day defeat to the Rockets at home, the Mavericks hope to continue building momentum prior to leaving the American Airlines Center. The Mavs also intend on avoiding a sixth straight loss in the series, dropping nine of the last 11 meetings against the Spurs and five straight by an average of 17.4 points.
Note: The Mavs return to American Airlines Center Thursday when they play host to the Southwest Division rival San Antonio Spurs. 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.
Dirk Nowitzki, who passed Alex English (25,613) for 13th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list at Houston (12/23/13), has 8,986 career field goals and needs 14 baskets for 9,000. He will become the 19th player in NBA history with at least 9,000 career field goals. Nowitzki needs 31 buckets to pass Jerry West (9,016) for 18th place on the NBA’s all-time field goals made list.
Vince Carter, who became the 10th player in NBA history with at least 1,700 career 3-pointers at Houston (12/23/13), currently has 1,701 triples and needs 19 to pass Dale Ellis (1,719) for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time 3-point field goals made list.
Monta Ellis has 1,989 career made free throws and needs 11 for 2,000.
Shawn Marion has 16,940 career points and needs 60 points to become the 82nd player in NBA history with at least 17,000 points.