DALLAS (Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks responded to a stern warning from their owner with an impressive 107-102 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Josh Howard scored a team-high 29 points and All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki added 24 and 12 rebounds to help the Mavericks overcome their Western Conference Southwest Division rivals.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had earlier criticized the team’s effort and threatened to make personnel changes following a 96-87 loss to the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Dallas (37-24) showed renewed purpose against San Antonio (40-20) and a late three-pointer from Jason Kidd gave the Mavericks a 105-100 edge with 31 seconds remaining.
“We know Mark is very vocal and has the right (to be)... he’s the owner,” Nowitzki told reporters, after scoring seven points in the final quarter. “Cuban can do whatever he wants.”
Point guard Tony Parker had 37 points while Roger Mason added 23 for the Spurs, who lost for the third time in four games.
Tim Duncan, playing in his third game back since missing three contests through injury, tallied 19 points and 12 rebounds but finished just 7-for-21 from the field.
The Mavericks took control of the contest in the third quarter where they closed with a 15-4 run and took a 83-76 advantage heading into the fourth.
Parker kept San Antonio close with 15 points in the final quarter but Dallas made plays down the stretch to finish things off.
Jason Terry, playing in his third game since returning from a hand injury, scored six of his 17 points in the fourth.
Kidd chipped in 17 points and nine assists for the Mavericks, who are currently holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
“This is the time to make that last push for the playoffs,” Nowitzki said. “Things are tight, Phoenix is right behind us. Me, being the best player and leader, I have to step up and make plays.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien and Peter Rutherford