Still upset about squandering a dominant start in a loss at Dallas earlier this week, the San Antonio Spurs nearly did it again in the rematch at home.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich made sure the Spurs learned from their history, even if it took him forcefully reminding them to do so.
Boris Diaw scored 19 points, helping San Antonio recover after giving up another big lead and pull away for a 94-76 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
The Spurs (46-26) extended their lead to 1 1/2 games over the Mavericks (45-28) for sixth place in the Western Conference and evened the teams’ season series at 2-2.
San Antonio avoided a second disappointing collapse in four days against the Mavericks and won at home against Dallas for the ninth straight time.
"They did another run, like in Dallas," Spurs center Tiago Splitter said. "Then Pop called timeout and got on us. We can’t play relaxed with them because they are an aggressive team."
Dallas cut a 21-point first-half deficit to four midway through the third quarter but could not get any closer without leading scorer Monta Ellis.
Ellis injured his right knee with 6:43 remaining in the third quarter and did not return. He will be evaluated Saturday morning when the Mavericks practice in San Antonio before departing for Sunday’s game in Indiana.
Ellis and Tyson Chandler had 10 points each to lead the Mavericks.
Danny Green added 14 points for the Spurs, Splitter scored 13 and Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard added 12 each.
Ellis scored 32 points in Dallas’ win over San Antonio on Tuesday night. In that game, the Spurs raced to a 12-point lead in the first quarter before getting outscored 84-65 the rest of the way.
"The fact that it was them (Dallas), sort of helped us to stay in the game," San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. "We know all the things that we did wrong in Dallas. It was a game that hurt. So, we wanted to come back and play very a good game; solid, and move the ball, involve everybody."
In this game, San Antonio didn’t have its collapse until the second half. After taking a 28-18 lead and maintaining a double-digit lead for much of the second quarter, the Spurs scored just four points over a 9-minute, 48-second span bridging the first and second half.
Amare Stoudemire led a 10-2 run by Dallas to close the first half. His energy led to four points, including a dunk, one rebound and one block in a minute.
The Mavericks extended the run to 23-6 in the third quarter. Chandler Parsons’ 3-pointer pulled the Mavs to 58-52 and led to a timeout by Popovich, but it did little to stop Dallas’ momentum or San Antonio’s cold shooting.
Diaw helped change that by scoring seven points in the fourth quarter to quell the rally, helping the Spurs go on a 17-2 run in rebuilding their 21-point advantage.
"It’s like another point guard out there," Parker said. "He can create a lot of offense. He’s been playing very well."
Mavericks: Ellis averaged 34.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals against San Antonio in their three previous meetings this season. … Dallas F Richard Jefferson received his customary jeers from the Spurs fans each he entered the game. Jefferson, who played 2 1/2 seasons for San Antonio beginning in 2009, is regarded as a high-priced disappointment by Spurs fans.
Spurs: Popovich was issued a technical foul by official Eli Roe for arguing a charging call against Leonard. Popovich was still upset over a non-call on the previous possession when Parsons stripped Leonard in mid-air. Popovich had to be restrained from charging at Roe after the technical foul and again had to separated from doing so at halftime. … C Aron Baynes missed his third straight game and fifth in seven. He sprained his ankle in his second game back from a two-game absence due to a bruised rib.
Ellis’ injury was a big blow to Dallas’ chances Friday night and the severity could impact the Mavericks’ postseason hopes, but veteran forward Dirk Nowitzki was hopeful about the injury.
"I didn’t even see the play," Nowitzki said. "I looked over and all I saw was him struggling. I asked him what happened and didn’t really say anything, which certainly isn’t a good sign. We will just have to wait and see what the doctors say and how he feels tomorrow."
San Antonio hosts Memphis, which is second in the Western Conference, on Sunday. It’s another tough game for the Spurs, who are attempting to rise in the standings.
"It’s the West," Parker said. "It never stops, never stops. Another big one. Memphis has been playing well all season long; they’re a great test for us."