Duncan leads Spurs to 7th win in a row

Source:ap.org Author:ELIZABETH WHITE Date:03/25/14 Click:

SAN ANTONIO - Tim Duncan had 31 points and 15 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-94 on Thursday night for their seventh straight win.

Manu Ginobili added 17 points for San Antonio and Michael Finley scored 16.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points for the Mavericks and Josh Howard and reserve Brandon Bass each added 16.

The Mavericks are 3-2 with new addition Jason Kidd, who had 10 assists Thursday and scored seven points. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Dallas, which is in a tight race with the Spurs and two other teams for the Southwest Division lead.

The Spurs were up by one, 73-72, heading into the fourth quarter. With the game tied at 94, Erick Dampier fouled Duncan, who sank both shots from the line to put San Antonio up 96-94 with 34.5 seconds to go.

Nowitzki missed two shots with less than 30 seconds on the clock, and Jason Terry's shot was blocked by Bruce Bowen with 3.9 seconds left. The Spurs got the ball back with 3.3 seconds to go, and Dampier fouled Finley with 0.4 left. Finley hit the first of two from the line.

The game was tied four times in the fourth quarter as the teams traded baskets and neither took a lead of more than five points in the period.

Bowen added 14 points for the Spurs and Tony Parker had 10.

After coming out of halftime tied at 47 and staying close more than 5 minutes into the third quarter, each team took turns holding the momentum.

The Mavericks went up by 10 after a 16-4 run that included a 3 from a pumped Nowitzki off a feed from Kidd and ended with a goaltending call against Robert Horry that gave Terry a basket and put Dallas up 67-57 with 3:44 to play.

But the Spurs answered with a 13-1 burst, including two free throws thanks to technicals called on Terry and Dallas coach Avery Johnson in an increasingly testy atmosphere. Finley scored nine points in the surge that gave San Antonio a 70-68 lead with 1:20 to go.

Ime Udoka's last-second corner 3 put the Spurs up 73-72 with one period to play.

In the first half, Kidd, who has brought a passing mentality to the Mavericks since his return to the team that drafted him No. 2 overall in 1994, accounted for seven of the team's 11 assists.

Notes:@ The Spurs retired the No. 6 jersey of former player and now Dallas coach Johnson earlier this season. ... The Spurs lead the season series 2-1. The Mavericks and Spurs meet for the final time on March 23 in Dallas. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich talked a little presidential politics pregame. Texas' pivotal primary is Tuesday, but Popovich wouldn't say who will get his vote. ... Nowitzki went to the line 21 times and hit 17 while the Spurs went to the line 22 times in the game, sinking 16.

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