How it happened: An incredibly tight game in which neither team led by more than six points -- and for the majority of the night two points separated Dallas and San Antonio -- came down to the same formula the Mavericks have used on the road all season in a 103-94 win for the visitors.
The Spurs led 76-71 when the Mavs' defense bunkered down and the offense found ways to score. Jason Terry hit a 3-pointer. Dirk Nowitzki dropped off a pass that led to an Ian Mahinmi dunk. Shawn Marion got in the act as did Tyson Chandler, who got one to go from the lane for a 93-88 lead with 2:43 to go.
With 1:44 left, Nowitzki (26 points on 12-of-14 shooting) dropped in a 19-foot jumper to complete a 9-0 run for a 95-88 lead. Jason Terry then completed an and-1, and the Mavs had done it again on the road, sucking the life out of the AT&T Center.
The Mavs' defense took away from the Spurs what has made them so successful this season. Dallas forced little ball movement, holding San Antonio to just 13 assists in the game. The Mavs almost recorded another sub-20-point fourth quarter, holding the Spurs to 21 points, and continued to break the 100-point barrier on the road.
What it means: The Mavs snapped their archrival’s 12-game win streak and handed the NBA's hottest team just their second loss of the season. Dallas improved to 11-4 (6-1 on the road) and now has a season-best four-game win streak. Dallas brings its modest streak home Saturday night to face the Miami Heat, which snapped a three-game losing streak with a 99-90 home win over Philadelphia on Friday.
Play of the game: With 8:15 left in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki faced up Matt Bonner on the baseline. Guard Gary Neal slid over to double him, but Nowitzki read it, split the defenders and dropped a pass in the lap of third-string center and former Spurs player Mahinmi, who slammed it home for an 82-73 Mavs lead. It was one of five assists for Nowitzki.
Stat of the night: Everyone likes playing well against their former team. Tyson Chandler did it against the New Orleans Hornets and again against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team he was nearly dealt to from New Orleans. Friday night, it was the unlikely turn of Ian Mahinmi. With Brendan Haywood back in Dallas because of a one-game suspension for violating team rules, Mahinmi fared well in 13 minutes of action. He scored three points -- including the key dunk in the fourth quarter -- grabbed four rebounds and had a blocked shot. While Mahinmi was on the court, the Mavs outscored the Spurs by six points. Only Dirk Nowitzki (plus-15) and Jason Kidd (plus-8) scored higher in the plus-minus category.