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Mavs hold off Spurs, 95-89

Mavs hold off Spurs, 95-89

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The Dallas Mavericks have had ample opportunity to improve the much-hyped “clutch” metric this season and failed, but broke their streak of losing close games on Tuesday with a 95-89 win over the San Antonio Spurs.

The rating is determined by a team’s record in games determined by five or fewer points and after falling to Minnesota earlier in the week, Dallas refused to let this one slip away.

Dallas picked up its eighth win of the season through a solid defensive performance, limiting San Antonio to just 40% shooting and 25% from deep. The Spurs did themselves no favors from the fould line, shooting just 63%.

The Mavericks had five players score in double figures with Harrison Barnes leading the way (17 points) and Wesley Matthews, Yogi Ferrell and J.J. Barea all finishing with 16. Dwight Powell finished with 12 and was crucial down the stretch for Dallas.

Dallas built a 30-23 lead in the first and weathered a subpar shooting effort in the second quarter to hold a 46-44 advantage at the break.

The Spurs clawed back to take a seven-point lead in the third quarter, but the Mavs held their ground.

“I told them, look, these games are a mental test,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “I said we’ve got to stick with it.”

Ferrell and Barea, despite being the smallest Mavericks on the floor combined for 14 rebounds, a huge factor in helping Dallas match the bigger Spurs on the glass, 49-49.

“When we can stay even or better on the boards and be a plus in the turnover area, it helps the cause,” Carlisle said.

Dallas had just six turnovers in the contest. Barea hit two acrobatic shots down the stretch and Matthews had a key three from the top of the arc as the Spurs were mounting their final run.

Despite being limited by a minutes restriction, Leonard helped the Spurs stay within striking distance early with 13 points in just 15 minutes. Dallas rookie and recent Texas Legends call-up was charged with guarding the rangy superstar and managed to get a block and score five points in seven minutes of action.

The Mavericks travel to play Golden State on Thursday before heading to San Antonio on Saturday to wrap up the season series with the Spurs.

Dennis Smith Jr. sat out with a hip injury. He is expected to miss the next two games for Dallas before being re-evaluated. Seth Curry also did not play and there is no timetable for his return from his stress reaction injury.

I'm Zack Cunningham, a broadcast journalism major from Abilene Christian University's class of 2008. I've lived in Texas for 28 of my 31 years on this Earth and I've followed the Mavericks since 1998. My first memory of them was the 2001 playoffs and being extremely happy when they beat the Jazz, but sad when they lost to the Spurs in five games in the conference semifinals. However, seeing Dirk drop 42 stands out to me, punctuated by his dunk in garbage time. I covered high school sports for the Cleburne Times-Review from 2008-12 before moving into the tech industry. Most recently, in 2015 covered the Mavericks for the Fanatic briefly before moving to work with Mike Fisher at DallasBasketball.com. I am married to my beautiful wife, Jessica, and have been for just over five years now. We live in Carrollton with our dog, Zara, and cat, Drake. I'm looking forward to covering them again this season with the Fanatic!

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