THE FACTS: Despite the absences of coach Gregg Popovich and injured All-Star Tim Duncan and a scary incident involving Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs dumped the Dallas Mavericks for the third straight time this season and extended their winning streak to seven with a 113-107 victory Friday at the American Airlines Center.
Popovich (illness) and Duncan (sore left knee) did not travel to Dallas and the Spurs (35-11) nearly lost another All-Star when Parker suffered two cuts around his left eye while spinning through the lane early in the first quarter. That's the same eye that was injured in a New York City nightclub brawl back in June. He received three stitches and returned to the game midway through the second quarter, finishing with 23 points and 10 assists.
DeJuan Blair added a season-high 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting. Gary Neal scored 18 and Tiago Splitter had a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Seven Spurs scored in double figures.
The Mavericks (18-25) have dropped eight of their last 10 meetings with the Spurs, including lopsided losses earlier this season by 38- and 25-point margins. They trailed by as many as 26 points in this one before using an 11-0 run in the final minute to make it look close. Playing on four days of rest, Dallas looked rusty in the first half, shooting 37 percent overall and just 1-for-7 from deep. Rodrigue Beaubois led the Mavs with a season-high 19 points off the bench. Vince Carter added 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 15.
QUOTABLE: "When we play without [Duncan], we need everybody. Everybody has to step up. Tony came back and stepped up when we needed him. I was ready. We were all ready and it was great. It was a pretty fun game."
QUOTABLE II: "I was a little bit mad obviously. I told the doctor to hurry up and get the stitches to get back on the court."
THE STAT: The Spurs are 17-1 this season when Parker dishes at least eight assists.
TURNING POINT: San Antonio, which never trailed after being down 4-3, blew it open at the start of the second half. The Mavericks turned it over five times within the first five minutes of the third quarter as the Spurs used a 20-6 surge to take a commanding 74-59 lead. Two 3-pointers by Danny Green and another by Kawhi Leonard and a three-point play by Splitter did most of the damage.
QUOTABLE III: "They have our number."
-- Mavericks forward Shawn Marion.
QUOTABLE IV: "They played at a higher level than we did. We had some stretches where I thought we were doing OK. Our shot making really wasn't there and that was a problem. The run to start the third quarter was decisive. That put us in a huge hole."
-- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle.
HOT: Blair scored 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting in the first half.
NOT: At the free-throw line with 1:03 left in the first quarter, Blair shot an airball on the first attempt and barely grazed the front iron on the second.
GOOD MOVE: Carlisle replaced Chris Kaman with Elton Brand in the starting lineup. It was Brand's 14th start of the season and the 844th of his career, but his first since Dec. 6. His game-high 13 rebounds helped the Mavericks finish with a 47-46 edge on the boards. Brand added eight points and two blocked shots. Kaman contributed eight points and three rebounds off the bench.
FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: After missing Wednesday's win against New Orleans with a lacerated left knee, Leonard returned with 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals. It was his sixth game this season with three or more thefts, with San Antonio winning all six contests.
ROOKIE WATCH: Former Washington State center Aron Baynes, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound native of New Zealand, made his NBA debut for San Antonio. He played the final 42 seconds and was charged with a turnover. Baynes has played professionally in Slovenia, Lithuania and Greece since the end of his collegiate career (2005-09).
NOTABLE: The Mavericks have scored 100-plus points in seven straight games. ... Neal had a four-point play in the first quarter. ... Carter celebrates his 36th birthday on Saturday. ... Beaubois scored more points than he did in the entire month of December (15). ... The Spurs are 21-2 when they have more steals than their opponent. ... The Mavericks used their 16th different starting lineup this season. They only had 13 combinations all last season. ... Dallas shot a season-high 94.4 percent (17-for-18) at the line.
UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Sunday vs. Phoenix, Tuesday @ Portland, Thursday @ Golden State. For the Spurs, Saturday vs. Phoenix, Wednesday vs. Charlotte, Feb. 2 vs. Washington.