Ginobili's 37-point ouburst helps Spurs edge MavsDec 6, 2007 - 5:47 AM By Brian Guerra PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) - In his first start of the season, Manu Ginobili scored a season-high 37 points as the San Antonio Spurs survived a late scare from the Dallas Mavericks with a 97-95 victory on Wednesday.
With perennial All-Star Tim Duncan in street clothes on the bench due to a leg injury, it looked early like the Mavericks could hand the Spurs their first home loss of the season.
"They're still a good team without Duncan," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said. "They have good, solid veterans. And Ginobili, give him all the credit. He had a heck of a ballgame."
But Ginobili had other plans.
In the fourth quarter, DeSagana Diop made a pair of free throws and Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 89-85 with 2:59 remaining.
But there was Ginobili again, answering with an acrobatic layup that created a six-point edge on the ensuing possession.
"It was a great team effort against a (heck) of a team," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Obviously, Manu had a tremendous game. He was wonderful."
"It's a good to thing to witness it and see (Ginobili) in the zone, but you can't get complacent and watch him do everything," said Spurs swingman Michael Finley, who scored 14 points. "We have to ride him when he's hot, and when he's not, everyone else needs to pick it up."
However, Terry converted an easy dunk after intercepting a pass intended for Tony Parker to slice it to 97-93 with less than a minute left in the game.
Terry, who finished with 20 points, then drove to the rim for a layup and was fouled with 33 seconds left, but he missed the free throw.
Dallas put the ball - and the game - in Terry's hands again with less than five seconds remaining. He found his way to the rim again, but Francisco Elson came up with a huge block that went out of bounds with just two seconds to go.
The Mavericks had one last chance to win it or force overtime, but Nowitzki misfired on a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner.
"I thought it was good," Terry said. "I was running back to the locker room. I bet nine times out of 10 he's going to make that shot."
Ginobili admitted he may have held his breath for just a moment.
"After the big effort we made, the great game we played, losing the game like that would have been really tough to swallow," he said. "So, it's a great thing that (Nowitzki) missed that one."
Josh Howard had 22 points and nine boards and Nowitzki added 15 and nine for the Mavericks, who defeated the reigning champions 105-92 at home on November 15.
SAN ANTONIO 97 FINAL
Dec 5 11:11 PM
SAN ANTONIO 73 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 5 10:28 PM
SAN ANTONIO 42 HALFTIME
Dec 5 9:42 PM
SAN ANTONIO 18 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 5 9:07 PM
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