Spurs score final 13 points to stun Dallas
SAN ANTONIO — With the game on the line in the final seconds Saturday night against the Dallas Mavericks, the San Antonio Spurs knew exactly what they wanted to do and who they wanted to go to on their decisive possession.
That surety, and their execution during the stretch run, is why the Spurs are the Spurs and a big reason they have won 20 of their 30 games this season.
Conversely, Dallas’ indecision and failure to make plays when it needs them the most are why the Mavericks have just eight victories in 30 games.
Manu Ginobili hit a running left-handed layup with 3.1 seconds to play for the deciding basket as the Spurs scored the game’s final 13 points to roar from behind and beat Dallas 98-96 at the AT&T Center.
“It’s basketball — sometimes your shots go in and sometimes they don’t,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “I’m happy for the team because they kept pounding the rock, they never gave in. We found a group that played well defensively down the stretch, and it won us the game.”
Ginobili’s continued heroics had a big part in the result as well, on both ends of the floor.
Dallas led just 96-92 after the Spurs’ Bryn Forbes poured in 3-pointer from the corner with 2:13 to play.
After two empty possessions from both teams, LaMarcus Aldridge brought the Spurs within 96-94 on short jumper with 58.6 seconds left. Aldridge then hit a contested turnaround jumper in the lane with 23.4 seconds left to tie the score.
Dallas’ Wesley Matthews was given the inbounds duty for a final shot but couldn’t find an open teammate while under duress defensively from Ginobili, opting to throw the ball off a defender. The ball bounced back and hit Matthews, giving San Antonio a chance to win.
“It was a miscommunication,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We had a switching lineup in there and we didn’t switch. That’s on the coaching staff as well. We have to make sure that guys know their jobs and that they execute. Again, little mistakes turn into big mistakes.”
Ginobili made good on the opportunity, working outside the arc while the clock wound down before taking the play right at the basket while leaving Matthews in his wake. It was Ginobili’s second game-winning shot in the past eight days.
The Mavericks had a final chance but did not have a timeout. Dallas never got the ball past midcourt against the Spurs’ defense, forcing Matthews into a wild shot that was nowhere close to going in.
The Spurs got 22 points and 14 rebounds from Aldridge, the 25th time in 30 games that he led San Antonio in scoring. He registered his 12th double-double of the season.
Dejounte Murray scored 14 points for San Antonio, Davis Bertans had 13, Ginobili finished with 12 points and Forbes added 11 for the Spurs, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
“I just tried to attack and draw a foul and try to make something happen,” Ginobili said of his final drive. “I tried to use the most seconds possible to try and take the last shot, then I just went hard. When we play with aggressiveness the way we did in the second half, then everything gets easier.”
Maxi Kleber led Dallas with 21 points. Dirk Nowitzki tied a season high with 19 points, Yogi Ferrell had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Harrison Barnes scored 10 for the Mavericks.
Dallas led by as many as 14 points in the first half before settling for a 53-43 advantage at halftime. Ferrell scored 13 points and Kleber had 12 in the half.
San Antonio pulled within 72-68 on a 3-pointer by Bertans with 2:29 left in the third quarter. The Mavericks responded by scoring eight of the final 11 points in the quarter and took an 80-71 lead into the fourth.
“We did everything right to lose,” Nowitzki said. “We missed shots offensively, had a bad turnover, gave them some offensive rebounds and let Ginobili go left down the stretch to lay it in. We literally had to do everything perfect to lose this one, and we did.”
NOTES: Four San Antonio players who have started this season missed the game because of injury or rehab: G Danny Green (tightness, left groin), F Kyle Anderson (left MCL sprain), F Kawhi Leonard (injury management) and PG Tony Parker (injury management). ... Dallas played without rookie PG Dennis Smith Jr. (hip). ... The Saturday contest was the final game of the season series between the Lone Star State rivals. All four of the games have been contested since Nov. 14, with San Antonio going 3-1.