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Spurs hold off Mavs In Opener


Tony Parker scored 23 points; including what turned out to be the game winning 3 pointer with 42 seconds left as the San Antonio Spurs held off a furious late rally by the Dallas Mavericks 101-100 on Tuesday night.

It came on a night the Spurs celebrated their 5th NBA Championship from last year by receiving their rings and raising their 5th championship banner to the AT&T Center rafters. “I thought they were very professional. They were focused considering everything. I was very proud of them.” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.

In the first matchup between the I-35 rivals since the Mavs pushed the Spurs to 7 games in the first round of last years playoffs, both teams came out cold. Dallas started 2-10, San Antonio began 3-10; as they were without the services of Kawhi Leonard, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills because of injury. But Tony Parker picked up the slack by scoring 6 points and Danny Green provided some offense to give the Spurs a 26-24 lead after one quarter of play.

Dallas turned it on in the second however, as they outscored the Spurs 29-19 in the period thanks to Monta Ellis scoring 10 of his game high 26 points in the quarter and giving Dallas a 53-45 lead at the half. As was during the preseason, the Spurs had problems holding on to the basketball, turning it over 9 times in the first 24 minutes. Even worse, the Mavs opened the 3rd by taking a 55-45 lead and increased it to 57-48 with 9:30 left in the 3rd. San Antonio would need a spark, and they got it from their backcourt. Manu Ginobili came out in the 3rd quarter and sparked a 12-0 Spurs run by scoring 7 points and Tony Parker would score 10 of his 23 in the 3rd as the Spurs railed to take a 76-73 lead going to the 4th.

Ginobili didnt stop there: on the opening possession of the 4th, he hit a stepback 3 over Tyson Chandler to give the Spurs a six point cushion; he finished with 20 points. San Antonio increased it to 9 after a Coery Joseph basket and with a Tim Duncan turnaround jumper the Spurs were up 91-81 with 5 minutes to go. This game looked all but over.

However the Spurs came very close to blowing this game. “We gave up six points to Devin Harris. We didn’t pick him up and he made two threes in a row, which could have cost us the game. We turned it over twice on call, so I thought we were pretty poor down the stretch in execution. What we did do was compete really well in the second half, and that is half or more of the battle, but execution was wanting this evening.” said coach Pop when asked on the Spurs finishing down the stretch.

After the Spurs went up 96-89, Dallas went on an 11-2 run. Dirk Nowitzki; who had a very quiet night(18 points) gave Dallas a 100-98 lead with 1:28 remaining by nailing his trademark fadeaway jumper, but that was followed by Tony Parker hitting his fourth 3 of the night giving the Spurs a 101-100 lead. Dallas got one more chance, but Chandler Parsons; who was the Mavs big free agent acquisition, missed a 3 pointer that would have won it. Parsons debut with Dallas was a disappointment as he was 2-10 for 5 points. After the officials determined that a foul had been called, the Spurs got the ball back with 0.4 seconds left. Devin Harris stole the inbound pass but his 75 foot pray was not answered; even if it had been, it would not have counted since players can’t catch and shoot with 0.4 or less on the clock.


The Spurs will travel to Phoenix on Friday, where Kawhi Leonard could make his season debut, while the Mavs host Utah on Thursday.

Chase Risman


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