Notebook: Spurs 92, Mavericks 91

Posted Mar 14, 2013 11:59 PM

Tim Price, for

THE FACTS: Tim Duncan scored 28 points and had 19 rebounds, yet the Spurs couldn't put this in the win column until Vince Carter's 26-foot shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer, giving San Antonio a 92-91 victory over Dallas on Thursday at AT&T Center.

The Spurs, again playing without the injured Tony Parker, led by 10 to start the fourth quarter. But Dirk Nowitzki and Carter began to heat up, going a combined 6-for-11 from the floor (3-for-5 on 3-pointers). The Spurs missed their last three shots and committed a shot-clock turnover to put the game in danger.

Despite it all, the Spurs (50-16) clinched a playoff spot and have won at least 50 games for the past 14 seasons.

The Mavericks (30-34) got 21 points and 11 rebounds from Nowitzki. But this could be a damaging loss, for the Mavs had drawn to just a game back in the loss column of the Lakers for the final playoff spot in the West.

QUOTABLE: "I thought they played better than us. We continued to play in the mud like we have been for the past two weeks. Nothing that's hard to guard. I'm not sure what to attribute it to, but it's a fact. We were really fortunate to win this game."
-- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

THE STAT: If the Spurs weren't moving the ball on offense, they at least were grabbing the loose balls. San Antonio out-rebounded Dallas 49-35. They also dictated things inside by creating 46 scoring opportunities in the paint compared to 30 for Dallas.

TURNING POINT: The game was teetering on a blowout when the Spurs led 54-41 1:15 into the second half. But the Mavericks outscored San Antonio14-4 over the next 3:15 and trailed by three. It set the stage for a close game.

QUOTABLE II: "Vince (Carter) has been unbelievably clutch for us this year. He's hit tough shots. We still had six seconds to get a good look (on the last shot). I was kind of in his way. I don't necessarily like the play call."
-- Nowitzki

HOT: Duncan started the game by shooting 3-for-10 in the first half. He led the Spurs to the victory when he hit all six shots in the third quarter and just missed one of his four shots in the fourth (9-for-10 in the second half).

NOT: Manu Ginobili had nine assists tonight, but he shot 2-for-9 and is 14-for-45 over the past four games (31 percent).

FANTASY SPOTLIGHT: Duncan might have missed season-highs for points (by three) and rebounds (missed that two), but his 28-point, 19-board performance puts him back in the double-double category for the first time in the last two games he's played.

INSIDE THE ARENA: World champion boxer and Olympic gold-medal winner Oscar De La Hoya was at the game and is in town promoting a super-welterweight title bout between Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout, set for April 20 in San Antonio. Another former world champion, James Leija, also is promoting the fight.

GOOD MOVE: The Spurs had a lot of success the last time they went freely to Gary Neal off the bench. He had six assists and seven points in 25 ½ minutes against Oklahoma City, and tonight in 24 ½ minutes he shot 6-for-13 with a pair of 3-pointers for 16 points.

BAD MOVE: Throwing the ball in with 5.6 seconds, the Mavs just needed a two for the win and they had Nowitzki on the floor. But the ball got out to the top of the key to Carter, and there was no other ball movement until Carter launched his last-second attempt over Tiago Splitter from past the 3-point line.

ROOKIE WATCH: Jae Crowder started his 12th game. He played 23 minutes with five points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and a pair of assists.

NOTABLE: The Mavericks were looking for their season-best fifth-straight win. They came in with a three-game road winning streak. ... This is the first time in 15 years that the Spurs have swept Dallas in the season series.

UP NEXT: For the Mavericks, Friday vs. Cleveland, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, Monday @ Atlanta. For the Spurs, Saturday vs. Cleveland, Wednesday vs. Golden State, March 22 vs. Utah.