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San Antonio Spurs wallop Dallas Mavericks to stay perfect at home

By Steve Habel, The Sports Xchange   |   Jan. 18, 2016 at 12:47 AM
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SAN ANTONIO -- It seems like the uglier a game gets, the better it plays into the hands of forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the San Antonio Spurs' prized free-agent signee in this past offseason.

Aldridge scored 23 points, 13 of them in the pivotal third quarter, helping San Antonio overcome its worst first quarter of the season as the Spurs walloped the Dallas Mavericks 112-83 Sunday to win their 11th consecutive game and remain undefeated at home this season.

Aldridge's work on the offensive end, most of it done in the paint and on the baseline in the second and third quarters, was critical when the game got continuous.

His length -- Aldridge is 6-foot-11 but has a 7-foot-5 wingspan -- was the last line of defense for San Antonio's defense, which held Dallas to 35.8 percent shooting, the Mavericks' lowest field goal percentage of the season. San Antonio outscored Dallas by 31 points after trailing by two points at the end of the first quarter.

"We were just trying to play inside-out more," Aldridge said. "In the first half, we took more jump shots than usual, so I was just trying to be on the block and be more aggressive. I am feeling more comfortable in my role in this offense and we are getting better and better."

San Antonio (36-6) improved to 24-0 at home this season, the best start by a Western Conference team since the Portland Trail Blazers won their initial 26 home games in 1977-78. The Golden State Warriors are 19-0 at home this season.

The victory also allowed the Spurs to extend their regular-season home victory streak to 33 games, dating back to an overtime loss to Cleveland last March. They also tied their best-ever start in franchise history after 42 games.

San Antonio also got 16 points from reserve forward Boris Diaw and 15 from forward Kawhi Leonard, who didn't play in the fourth quarter. Reserve guard Jonathon Simmons added 14 points for the Spurs.

Two of the Spurs' starters, forward Tim Duncan and point guard Tony Parker, scored just two points each, with Parker going 0-for-4 from the floor.

Parker left the game midway through the third quarter with soreness in his right hip and did not return.

The Mavericks (23-19) were led by reserve forward/center Dwight Powell's 15 points and got 12 points from guard Wesley Matthews. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki had just four points, his lowest output in a game since Feb. 29, 2012, when he scored one point at Memphis.

"Both LA (Aldridge) and Boris (Diaw) were great in the pick-and-roll defense getting back to Dirk (Nowitzki)," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "Obviously, he's a tough cover, so both of them deserve a lot of credit."

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said Nowitzki's poor shooting night was his fault. "I have to get Dirk better looks -- we have to run some things to put him into better positions," Carlisle said. "I take the blame for that."

Both teams struggled from the floor in the first quarter, which went to the Mavericks 16-14 thanks to a jumper from reserve guard Raymond Felton with 36.9 seconds to play. It was the Spurs' lowest-scoring quarter of the season, as they shot just 22.7 percent (5-for-22). Dallas was not much better, hitting just seven of 23 (30.4 percent), and the two teams combined to go 0-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

"Neither one of us could make a basket, so it was tit for tat, so to speak," Popovich said.

Diaw's 3-pointer early in the second quarter tied the game at 21-21. Then back-to-back 3-pointers by Simmons, the second one was just ahead of the shot clock, gave the Spurs a 27-26 lead.

From there, San Antonio found its stride as Leonard worked the baseline for a pair of turnaround jumpers and a 3-pointer, Aldridge took the ball to the hole for a layup and Spurs guard Many Ginobili swooped in for a breakaway finger roll after a steal as part of a 13-0 run.

The Spurs led 46-36 at halftime behind Aldridge's 10 points and a 23-16 advantage over Dallas in bench scoring.

"We were right there with the lead in the second quarter and just weren't able to finish that quarter the way we wanted to," Nowitzki said. "Things just kind of steamrolled from there."

Aldridge put the Spurs on his back in the third quarter, scoring 11 of San Antonio's first 12 points, helping to push the lead to 58-44 with 6:45 to play. San Antonio outscored the Mavericks 8-3 in the final 1:54 of the quarter and had a 78-56 heading into the final period.

"We just didn't finish quarters as well as we wanted to, and when they made the run there in the third quarter we just weren't able to respond," Matthews said. "As players we didn't do the things we needed to against a championship team."

Carlisle was ejected from the game with 11:17 to play in the fourth quarter after coming far onto the court and gesturing at one of the officials. By that time, the Spurs were up by 23 points and cruising to their 11th straight win over the Mavericks in the AT&T Center.

"There was a level of frustration tonight but everyone was trying to do the right thing," Carlisle said. "San Antonio goes hard and they can make you look bad. We got beat and that's the name of that tune."

NOTES: The Spurs are 2-0 against Dallas this season. San Antonio beat the Mavericks 88-83 at the AT&T Center on Nov. 25, and the Spurs own 17 wins in the teams' past 21 regular-season meetings. ... The Spurs set an NBA record by shooting 70.7 percent (53-for-75) from the field in a 132-120 win over the Mavericks on April 16, 1983. ... The Spurs produced a plus-564 point-differential during their first 40 games this season, the largest in NBA history during the time span. ... The Mavericks have not defeated the Spurs in San Antonio in the regular season since Nov. 26, 2010 (when they won 103-94). ... Dallas held the Chicago Bulls to a season-low 77 points on 36 percent (31-of-86) shooting Friday in an 83-77 victory. The Bulls had scored 100-plus points in 13 straight games prior to being held to 77 against the Mavericks.

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