Neal, Spurs win Texas-sized battle in DallasDec 31, 2010 - 6:33 AM Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Gary Neal scored a team-high 21 points off the bench, helping the San Antonio Spurs to a 99-93 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in a high-powered Southwest Division matchup.
Tim Duncan posted 17 points and 11 rebounds for the division-leading Spurs, who have won three in a row and finished December with a 13-2 record. Manu Ginobili added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Tony Parker had 14 points, six boards and five assists.
"We were fortunate in a lot of ways," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "I don't think we were very sharp and I thought Dallas showed a lot of character, a lot of class, which one would expect. They were very aggressive, fired up and really got after it and played a damn good game, and we were fortunate to get out of here with a win."
Caron Butler posted a season-high 30 points to pace the Mavericks, while Jason Kidd added a triple-double of 12 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.
The efforts helped make up for the absence of star forward Dirk Nowitzki, who is dealing with a right knee sprain and missed a second consecutive game. Dallas, which has the second-best record in the West behind the Spurs, lost both those games.
"In order for us to succeed without Dirk, we're going to have to find a way and we've got a group of awfully talented guys in here and we can win without him," said Mavericks forward Brian Cardinal, who started in Nowitzki's place and finished with nine points.
San Antonio held a 29-27 edge after the first quarter and built a substantial lead in the second.
Shortly into the frame, the Spurs used three-point shooting to fuel a 14-0 run. Ginobili and Neal both drained two shots from beyond the arc during the rally, which gave San Antonio a 45-29 advantage with under nine minutes left.
The Mavericks, however, used a 10-0 run later in the quarter to stay close and were within 53-46 at the break.
Dallas drew within a point several times in the third quarter, including when Tyson Chandler's layup made it a 63-62 contest with 3:24 on the clock. But George Hill and Parker followed with a bucket each for the Spurs, who carried a 71-64 advantage to the fourth.
San Antonio then led by at least two possessions throughout the fourth. Dallas made a final run with about three minutes left, when Butler scored six consecutive points to bring the Mavericks within 88-82. However, the Spurs made 9-of-10 free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win.
Kidd recorded the 106th triple-double of his career...Hill scored 12 off the Spurs bench...Chandler finished with 11 boards and eight points for the Mavs...San Antonio held a 50-35 rebounding edge.
- SAN ANTONIO: 99
Dec 31 12:14 AM
- SAN ANTONIO: 71
End of 3rd
Dec 30 11:30 PM
- SAN ANTONIO: 53
Dec 30 10:47 PM
- SAN ANTONIO: 29
End of 1st
Dec 30 10:13 PM
- SAN ANTONIO: 0
1st Quarter - 15:00
Dec 30 9:50 PM
- The Latest: Cuban: Sure, he'd run with Clinton or Trump May 22
- Mark Cuban tells 'Meet The Press' Thunder are his title pick May 22
- Thunder will try to bounce back after big loss to Warriors May 20
- 24 teams set for NBA Summer League in Las Vegas in July May 18
- Cavs 9-0 in these playoffs, and joining rarefied NBA air May 18
- Defending champion Warriors expect tough task from Thunder May 16
- Capsule preview of the Warriors-Thunder West finals May 15
- Durant, Thunder beat Spurs and return to conference finals May 13
- Spurs unsure if Duncan or Ginobili will return May 13
- Thunder beat Spurs, advance to Western Conference finals May 13
- How many times has your team changed coaches in the Pop era? May 12
- Spurs' Duncan competing with Thunder, Father Time May 12