Friday, December 27, 2013
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Green's perfect night propels Spurs past Mavs

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[December 27, 2013]  DALLAS  Recent setbacks to the Spurs in general, and San Antonio guard Danny Green in particular, mattered little Thursday night in a bounce-back 116-107 victory over the rival Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center.

The Spurs were just a day removed from a home whipping at the hands of the Houston Rockets that coach Gregg Popovich termed "embarrassing," while Green was recently demoted from the starting lineup. He may be close to earning his job back.

Green had a perfect shooting outing on his way to 22 points. He knocked down every one of his seven attempts from the floor, including five 3-pointers, and all three free throws.

"Danny Green was on fire," Popovich said.

The Spurs (23-7) took the first meeting of the season between the Southwest Division foes and extended their winning streak in the series to six straight. The Mavericks (16-13) lost for the third time in four games.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Tony Parker scored 23. San Antonio center Tiago Splitter had 12 points and six boards.

"We're very happy to win the game," Popovich said. "Any win in the NBA is a good win. When you do it on the road on a back-to-back against a good team, it feels even better. We're thrilled to get out of here with a win."

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 25, guard Monta Ellis added 23, and center DeJuan Blair had 14 points and 11 rebounds against his old team. Swingman Vince Carter chipped in 20 points off the bench.

The Spurs were up 100-85 before Dallas ripped off 12 consecutive points to make it a game with four minutes left. San Antonio protected the lead by going to Duncan on the block on three consecutive possessions.

Duncan scored on the first two before dishing the third out to Green in the corner. The fifth-year pro drained a 3-pointer that gave the Spurs a six-point cushion.

"Danny shot the ball well," Parker said. "We found him tonight."

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle wasn't pleased with his team's overall execution and focus.

"When you play San Antonio, you have to be really precise with your offense and your defense," he said. "We just had little slippages here and there. Their team has been together a long time, they're highly skilled, they have a lot of guys that are great players, and they took advantage of it.

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"We basically had to pitch a shutout in the last four minutes, and we had a chance to do it, but we just had a couple of mistakes that short-circuited us."

San Antonio improved its league-best road record to 13-3 while dropping Dallas to 11-4 at home. The Spurs are 7-2 on the second night of back-to-back sets.

Dallas should have been the more energetic club, having been off since Monday's road win at Houston. However, the Mavericks spent most of the night playing from behind.

"We just couldn't get over the hump," Dallas forward Shawn Marion said. "We got close quite a few times, and then we would do something to mess up ourselves. We stop a run or get a turnover or something. All of us have some blame in this."

San Antonio went into the halftime locker room up 58-51 behind 27 combined points from Duncan and Green. Nowitzki scored 12 first-half points.

The Spurs took their first double-digit lead (32-22) early in the second on guard Patty Mills' 3-pointer from the corner. Carlisle called two timeouts in the first four minutes of the quarter in an effort to stem San Antonio's momentum.

The Mavericks made a push early in the third quarter to get within two points, only to have San Antonio answer behind Splitter. The Spurs went into the final 12 minutes leading 84-77.

NOTES: Dallas backup C Brandan Wright (illness) was out. Mavericks C Samuel Dalembert also was battling an illness, but he played 24 minutes and scored eight points. ... Spurs C Tiago Splitter (hamstring) started despite being a game-time decision. ... Dallas C DeJuan Blair squared off against his former team for the first time. Blair spent his first four NBA seasons with San Antonio. ... Spurs G Marco Belinelli began the night second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 50.5 percent, but he missed all three 3-point attempts against Dallas. "He plays old-school basketball and I enjoy that," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "If I could get him to play some defense, that would be even better." Dallas G Jose Calderon was third in long-range shooting at 48.4 percent before Thursday, and he went 3-for-4 against the Spurs. ... San Antonio's bench averages a league-best 46.2 points per game. "Their main three guys are Hall of Famers, and the rest of the guys are great system players," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

[ 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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