Aldridge, Mills help Spurs down Mavericks
DALLAS -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points and Patty Mills also hit a season high with 19 to lead the San Antonio Spurs past the increasingly desperate Dallas Mavericks 97-91 on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Spurs (9-5), still playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, took a 34-31 lead with about eight minutes to go in the second quarter and managed to hold on the rest of the way, mostly by putting the clamps on Dallas' already struggling offense.
The Mavs, who dropped to 2-13, shot below 35 percent for most of the game and finished just 10 of 34 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Yet even after falling behind by 11 in the third quarter, they still were far from out of it thanks to the Spurs' own shooting struggles. They finished at 44.3 percent and went 6 of 26 from 3-point land.
With J.J. Barea scoring eight of his 16 points in consecutive fashion in the third quarter, the Mavs crept within 62-60 at the end of three. Wesley Matthews had a chance to tie it at 62 to start the fourth, but his second free throw wouldn't drop and that was the closest the Mavs got.
A Mills 3-pointer, his fourth of the game, sparked a Spurs run that led to an 82-71 margin with 5:03 to go.
The Spurs have now won five in a row and nine of the last 11 meetings in Dallas.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to score 13 points for San Antonio and Dejounte Murray had 10. Dallas had five players score in double figures, but only Dirk Nowitzki had an efficient night with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with 27 points thanks to a late surge, and Harris Barnes had 16, but they combined to go 15 of 39 from the floor.
NOTES: Spurs G Danny Green was back in the starting lineup after missing one game with a hamstring injury. ... F Kawhi Leonard, who has yet to play this season due to a quad injury, will be back "sooner rather than later," coach Gregg Popovich said, but then added, "What the hell does that mean?" to leave the all-star's status in the dark. ... Mavs G Devin Harris missed his second consecutive game with a rib injury suffered last Saturday against Cleveland. ... F Dorian Finney-Smith returned to the inactive list with a quad/knee injury that could keep him out "a while," coach Rick Carlisle said. ... The Southwest Division rivals will play all four regular-season games before Christmas.