Duncan, who was well-rested after staying home for the San Antonio Spurs’ Tuesday trip to Minnesota, had a vintage performance with 28 points and 19 rebounds. He had seven points in the final 6:07, helping the Spurs close the door on the Interstate 35 rivals.
The Mavs still managed to give themselves a chance to win on the final possession, but Vince Carter’s contested 3-pointer didn’t go down.
Dirk Nowitzki, the Mavs’ future Hall of Fame power forward, put up 21 points and 11 rebounds but had an off night shooting. Nowitzki was only 6-of-16 from the floor, although he heated up in the fourth quarter, when he had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting. Nowitzki didn’t touch the ball on the last possession.
Carter, the 36-year-old sixth man who had been spectacular during the Mavs’ four-game winning streak, had only 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
The Mavs led only once during the second half and that lasted for only 19 seconds. San Antonio guard Gary Neal answered Nowitzki’s go-ahead 3-pointer with a lead-changing 3 of his own. The Spurs never relinquished that lead.
What it means: The Mavs wrapped up their best road trip of the season with a loss. Their season-best-matching four-game winning streak, which featured three road wins in a row for the first time this season, is finished. Dallas (30-34) dropped to three games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers. The Spurs (50-16) extended their streak of consecutive 50-win campaigns to 14 seasons.
Play of the game:Kawhi Leonard parted the blue sea to soar for a southpaw tomahawk slam in the second quarter. Leonard blew by a closing-out O.J. Mayo on the left wing and didn’t encounter any resistance en route to the rim, leaping over flat-footed big men Elton Brand and Brandan Wright.
Stat of the night: The Spurs swept the season series against the Mavs for the first time in Nowitzki’s career. The last time the Spurs swept the Mavs was 1997-98, when Duncan was a rookie and a year before Nowitzki arrived in the NBA.