Spurs top struggling Mavs for 6th straight win
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 24 points and nine rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 96-91 victory over the struggling Dallas Mavericks on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.
Dallas guard Seth Curry matched a career high with 23 points, shooting 5 for 10 on 3-pointers. Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes each had 20 points in the Mavericks' sixth consecutive loss.
With the Mavericks trailing 92-91, Barnes missed a fadeaway 17-footer with 15 seconds left that Manu Ginobili rebounded before being fouled. Ginobili hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 94-91, and Curry missed a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining.
San Antonio has won six straight against Dallas and 12 in a row at home.
The once-heated rivalry between the Texas teams has cooled considerably with the Spurs' sustained success and the Mavericks' injuries and free-agent troubles.
Dallas (2-11) is off to its worst start since 1993-1994, when the Mavericks opened 1-23 in a 13-win season.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker were in uniform but neither played as San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich opted to rest his veterans.
Spurs rookies Dejounte Murray and Davis Bertans made their first starts in place of Parker and Aldridge, respectively, and fellow rookie Bryn Forbes also saw extended playing time.
Barnes took advantage of the inexperience, making all but one of his six attempts in scoring 10 points in the opening quarter.
Dallas shot 8 for 27 on 3s.
The Spurs enjoyed greater success when their veterans took the court.
Leonard drove the lane and dropped a bounce pass between Dwight Powell and Dorian Finney-Smith that David Lee dunked ahead of a foul by Salah Mejri to pare the lead to 63-62. After Ginobili missed a 3-pointer, Lee tipped out the rebound to Patty Mills for a 3 that gave San Antonio a 68-65 lead.
Mills finished with 17 points and Pau Gasol added 16.
Mavericks: Dallas F Dirk Nowitzki (strained right Achilles), G Deron Williams (strained left calf) and G Jose Juan Barrera (strained left calf) did not travel with the team. . The Mavericks have missed 31 games due to injury this season. . The last undrafted player to score 26 points in his first or second game prior to the Mavericks' Jonathan Gibson doing so Saturday in Orlando was Spurs guard and New York playground legend Lloyd Daniels. He had 26 points on Nov. 7, 1992, at Denver. Both players hit the mark in their second game.
Spurs: Leonard has scored in double figures in 48 straight games, the longest streak of his career. . Gasol has played 37,565 career minutes, moving him past Clyde Drexler (37,537) for 49th in NBA history. . G Nico Laprovittola missed the game with what Popovich described as a “tooth-extraction thingy.” . The Spurs have established the longest home winning streak in series history with the Mavericks. Dallas won 11 straight matchups at home from 1986-89.
Mavericks: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
Spurs: At the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
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