Dallas surrendered its fifth loss in six games on Saturday night despite leading throughout the contest, including a 10-point lead at the half against fellow division opponent and long-standing rival San Antonio.
The Mavs secured their lone win on Tuesday, Dec. 12 in Dallas against San Antonio on the night of Kawhi Leonard’s return from a right quadriceps injury. Leonard did not play in Saturday’s contest as Rudy Gay received the starting opportunity in his absence.
Yogi Ferrell paced the Mavs early with 9 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in the first quarter on Saturday night. Maxi Kleber added 12 first-half points for the Mavs. Dirk Nowitzki chipped in 12 during the third quarter, which helped Dallas increase their lead by as many as 16 points.
The Mavericks owned an 80-71 lead entering the final quarter over their Southwest division rival. Before the Spurs utilized a run of their own, propelling San Antonio to victory.
Spurs guard Dejounte Murray sparked a 13-0 run with less than 4 minutes remaining with a pair of made free throws. In the final three minutes four different Spurs would contribute to the defining run.
LaMarcus Aldridge netted an 11-foot jumper, tying the game with 23 seconds remaining. Following a Mavs’ turnover, Manu Ginobli found opportunity with three seconds remaining to add an exclamation point to the Spurs’ fourth-quarter rally.
Kleber led the way with 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting with 3 blocks and 3 rebounds in the loss. Nowitzki finished with 19 points in 25 minutes while Ferrell added 17 points, 11 rebounds and six assists. Harrison Barnes and Wes Matthews struggled offensively throughout the contest; the pair shot a combined 6-of-22 from the field in the loss. Dwight Powell added 8 points and 5 rebounds off the bench while J.J. Barea chipped in an all-around effort with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
Devin Harris totaled 2 points in the loss. Salah Mejri capitalized on four minutes of opportunity with four points and three rebounds. Antonius Cleveland saw a minute of action, notching one foul. Jonathan Motley and Jeff Withey both sat out as a coach’s decision.
The loss only further implicates the Mavs ability to secure victories on the road. Dallas is 2-12 in road contests on the year with five more road games leading to New Year’s Day.
The Mavs drop to 8-22 with the loss and continue to demonstrate the importance of a full, healthy lineup. Dallas is 1-6 without Dennis Smith Jr., the team’s 20-year old first round pick who sat out last night’s loss for his fifth-consecutive missed game due to injury.
The rookie sensation continues to remain sidelined because of a left hip strain, although he is getting “closer and closer” to a return according to head coach Rick Carlisle, first reported by Earl K. Sneed of the Mavericks official web site. Smith is currently averaging 14.4 points, 4 assists and four rebounds per game this season.
Dallas returns to action at 7:30 p.m. on Monday when the Mavs host the Phoenix Suns from American Airlines Center.
Tickets are currently available as low as $5 for upper level seating.
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