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San Antonio's Stars Shine Bright in Texas Shootout

The "Big Three" for the San Antonio Spurs were the difference in the 97-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 33 points; Manu Ginobili added 25 points and Tim Duncan had 22 points. With the loss, the Mavericks have lost five of their last eight games and have lost six straight games to Western Conference teams currently in the top eight seeds. Their last victory over a top eight team was against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 19.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 23 points. Nowitzki was the only starter for the Mavericks to score in double figures. Off the bench, Jason Terry scored 19 points with Shawn Marion and JJ Barea added 13 points apiece. Every time that the Mavericks made a run to get back within striking distance, the Spurs answered back and stomped the momentum the Mavericks were building.

San Antonio took the season series 3-1 with a win in Dallas on Friday. The Mavericks won the season series 3-1 in 2009-10. The Mavericks fell to 3-2 in their last five match-ups with the Spurs at American Airlines Center.

The Mavericks are in the midst of a tough stretch of games and the results are not what they were hoping for. It does not help that they are losing against teams they could potentially see in the playoffs. Dallas needs to use the last 13 games of the season to get things in order or things could be rough when they arrive in the first round.

Did THAT Just Happen?!

- The Mavericks went with their 19th different starting lineup of the season as they started DeShawn Stevenson at the small forward position. The start was Stevenson's first since Feb. 16th. As a small forward (six games), Stevenson averaged 14.8 points per game while shooting 46% from three-point range. Stevenson continues to struggle with his jumper as he finished the game with three points on 1-4 shooting from the field.

- Dirk Nowitzki hit the first basket of the game and it immediately led to Gregg Popovich calling a 20-second timeout. The 2-0 lead was the only time the Mavericks had the lead over the Spurs in the game.

- Initially, Rodrigue Beaubois was unable to build off his impressive defensive performance against the Golden State Warriors as Tony Parker pretty much got whatever he wanted. Beaubois had the speed to keep up with Parker, but the Spurs guard was able to penetrate inside the lane and finish at the rim with little resistance. Beaubois got going in the third quarter as six of his eight points came after the intermission. His defensive performance improved in the second half, but the fouls started to become an issue as he was trying to guard Parker. Beaubois clearly has the potential; he just needs to build consistency from game to game.

- Shawn Marion injured his right wrist in the late moments of the first half. His wrist collided with Rodrigue Beaubois' hand/arm as they were both going for a rebound. He did not return in the game during the second half and finished with 13 points in 13 minutes on 6-8 shooting from the field. X-rays were taken and they came back negative. He is listed as day-to-day.

- The score was knotted at 60 midway through the third quarter, but the Spurs used 9-0 spurt to take a 69-60 lead with 3:06 remaining in the period. The score was 76-66 in favor of the Spurs at the end of the third quarter. It took just over three minutes oin the fourth quarter before Jason Terry got the first basket for either team as his jumper made the score 73-68.

- The critical play of the game was when Rodrigue Beaubois pulled down a defensive rebound but had the ball stolen from him by Manu Ginobili. After stealing the ball, Ginobili fed the ball to Gary Neal who made a three-point basket to make the score 76-71 in favor of the Spurs. Three possessions later, Tony Parker hit a 25-foot bank shot. Dallas never truly recovered from those three-point baskets.


Box Score Revelations

- The Spurs came into the game against the Mavericks shooting 39.9 from the three-point line best in the NBA. They were only 3-10 from beyond the arc. The Mavericks weren't doing much better as they only shot 3-9 from the three-point line at halftime. San Antonio got things back in order as they finished the game shooting 7-17 (41.2%) from beyond the arc while the Mavericks shot only 6-23 (26.1%).

- The turnovers absolutely killed the Mavericks over the course of the game. The Mavericks committed 11 first-half turnovers for 14 San Antonio points. The Spurs turned it over only three times in the opening 24 minutes (for two Dallas points). The Mavericks totaled 19 turnovers in the game, for 25 San Antonio points. The Spurs finished with 13 turnovers (for 12 Dallas points). Jason Terry was the biggest culprit with four turnovers. Jason Kidd, Rodrigue Beaubois and JJ Barea each had three turnovers.

- The big three for the Spurs accounted for 80 of the 97 points for San Antonio. Dirk Nowitzki outscored the rest of his starting lineup members 23-21.

- Dirk Nowitzki finished the game one rebound shot of his fourth consecutive double-double. If he would have grabbed one more rebound, it would have been the first time since Nov. 19-Nov. 28 of the 08-09 season to have four straight games with a double-double.

- Dirk Nowitzki also extended his streak of consecutive free throws made to 56 as he went 3-3 from the free throw line against the Spurs. The 56 free throws made mark the longest streak in the NBA this season. Steve Nash had the league’s longest run with 48 consecutive free throws made from Dec. 15 to Jan. 12, before Nowitzki surpassed it at Golden State. Nowitzki had the NBA’s longest streak of consecutive free throws made last season as well. He finished the 2009-10 regular season with 74 consecutive free throw attempts without a miss (and actually made 82 straight free throws through the first two games of the 2010-11 season). You have to go to the 1:01 mark of the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers on Mar. 4 to find the last time Nowitzki missed a free throw.

- Jason Terry went off in the fourth quarter by scoring 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter. He struggled throughout the first half and could not get going until the third quarter. Terry has scored 10-plus points in the fourth quarter 11 times this season (9-2 record). Coming into Friday, he was averaging 6.2 points in the fourth period.


Tweetings From the Mavs Universe

- "Flopobili sighting."


- "Not to panic or anything, but uhhh, everybody run! The little things are eating the Mavs lunch. As well as the big things..."


- "It absolutely blows my mind that Dallas still allows Ginobili to go left."


- "Those of u who want Cowboys updates, I'm covering the Mavericks-Spurs tonight. We got a lockout, I need something to do."


- "I love how Pop calls time the second he sees something he doesn't like. If Rick did that, Mavs would already be out of timeouts."



If You Don't Like What I Said, Read What They Said

- Rick Carlisle on the problems during the game, "You can't expect to turn it over 19 times for 25 points and be in a position to win; it's just too difficult."

- Rick Carlisle on Rodrigue Beaubois, "I really love his disposition right now. He's becoming one of our best perimeter defenders...He's getting a real feeling for what it means to perform and win in the most difficult circumstances. This experience he's getting is extremely important."

- Jason Kidd on the tough stretch of games, "There's not a big concern. You're going to go through this during the season and you just have to play through it."

- Dirk Nowitzki on the biggest issue in the game, "What killed us all night was penetration. They were living in the lane all night long."

- Dirk Nowitzki on the turnovers issue, "When a team pressures us a little bit, we throw the ball all over the gym and we dribble the ball off our feet."

- Jason Terry on the turnovers, "We had too many careless turnovers...I take responsibility for that because we had 19 and I had four of them."


BG's Baller of the Game:

Baller status has been granted to Dirk Nowitzki. The night would have been even worse if Nowitzki had an off night. Whether it was unexpected double teams or smaller defenders, Nowitzki made the Spurs pay. It's also good to see that he is getting back into a rhythm on the glass as he has really improved his rebounding totals since the All-Star Break. Nowitzki is in playoff form, he just needs the rest of the team to join him.


Dallas has two more games before going on their major six-game West coast road trip. The first of the two home games will be against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. Dallas saw Golden State on Wednesday, March 16 and the Mavericks won the game 112-106. The Mavericks have won five straight against the Warriors, including 10 of the last 13 match-ups. Dallas has gone 6-1 in the last seven match-ups with Golden State at home. The game between the Mavericks and the Warriors on Sunday will tip off at 6:30 pm CST.


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