Dallas’ cold-shooting ways continued on Tuesday night as the Mavericks dropped to 2-13, the same as their 15-game mark last year, with a 97-91 loss to the Spurs.
Dennis Smith Jr. finished with a career-high 27 points including a ferocious dunk over Pau Gasol in the first half. The spark did little to help Dallas as the Mavs yet again struggled from the field and shot 40.7%
While the Mavericks had a chance to cut into the lead late, every bucket was met by a response by 40-year old Manu Ginobli and LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge had 32 points and Ginobli finished with 13 including a late lay-in that sealed Dallas’ latest defeat.
The Mavericks got off to a hot start with an opening 9-2 run behind quick baskets by Harrison Barnes, but the Spurs answered back to lead, 17-16, after the first quarter.
The offense picked up a little for both teams in the second quarter and the Spurs rode a 13-point first-half effort from Patty Mills to take a 44-39 lead.
Maxi Kleber, one of two Mavericks who finished with a positive net rating (+1), had a big second quarter with a monstrous dunk over Rudy Gay that resulted in a 3-point play and a big block later in the frame. Dirk Nowitzki was the other Maverick with a positive net rating (also +1) and he finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
With Aldridge rolling, head coach Rick Carlisle again opted to not use Nerlens Noel (0 points in 5 minutes) and used Salah Mejri in large helpings, much to the frustration early on of Aldridge. The two got tangled up and Aldridge drew a technical in the first half, but Aldridge prevailed more times than not on the offensive end.
J.J. Barea finished with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and helped key a Mavericks’ comeback in the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
Dallas takes on Minnesota at 7:30 p.m. Friday at home before returning to the American Airlines-Center at 8 p.m. Saturday to face Milwaukee.
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