With Tony Parker sitting out because of a strained left hamstring, Manu Ginobili started at the point and delivered 11 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 28 minutes of action, leading the San Antonio Spurs to a 104-87 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.
Danny Green added 18 points, Tim Duncan 15 points and 12 rebounds and Matt Bonner added 14 off the Spurs bench to improve their team record to 31-14 and hold a tight grip at the second-seed on the West.
Parker, missed his third game of the season, but his absence didn’t seem to distract the Spurs, who had seven assists in the first quarter alone and finished with 28 total.
San Antonio led 24-21 after the first quarter and maintained their advantage throughout the game with the exception of a two-minute spurt by Dallas.
Jason Terry’s 18-foot jumper with five minutes remaining in the third quarter gave the Mavericks a 60-58 advantage, their first lead since 4-2 two minutes into the game. The Spurs responded quickly, however, closing the quarter on a 12-3 run to gain a decisive advantage.
Terry led the Mavericks with 18 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 16, Jason Kidd scored 14 and Shawn Marion had 13 points in a losing cause.
Duncan went down three times in the first half, jamming his neck after running into Ian Mahinmi’s chest and falling over some photographers after saving a ball. Duncan also went down in the second quarter when Brian Cardinal attempted to swipe the ball and instead raked Duncan’s right eye. The normally mild-mannered Duncan drove the lane and dunked on the ensuing play, staring at Cardinal with a discontented look.
Boris Diaw, who signed with the Spurs earlier in the day, played 16 minutes and had two points and three rebounds.
More importantly, Diaw helped defend Nowitzki.
Nowitzki did not have any rebounds through the first three quarters and finished with only two boards and shot a woeful 5-of-21 from the field.
Diaw’s arrival was timely as Spurs’ center Tiago Splitter sat out the game with mid-back spasms.
Rookie Kawhi Leonard finished with 12 points and eight boards while Stephen Jackson added 10 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
San Antonio will go back to action tomorrow night, as they visit the New Orleans Hornets.