Spurs close on 13-0 run to rally past Mavericks, 98-96
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO (AP) At 40 years old, Manu Ginobili's refusal to slow down in his 16th season with the Spurs has been a source of inspiration to the team's young core.
The man and the mantra helped propel San Antonio to an improbable victory over Dallas on Saturday night.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 14 rebounds and the Spurs scored the final 13 points of the game, rallying for a 98-96 victory over the Mavericks.
Aldridge's fall-away, 11-foot jumper tied the game at 96 with 23.4 seconds remaining and Ginobili's driving layup with 3.1 seconds was the game-winning shot.
"He's our grandpa," 21-year-old Dejounte Murray said, chuckling afterwards. "He's a beast, man. You've all seen what he's done for this organization and he's still around giving his wisdom to all the new guys. To see him coming in every day, I mean there's not one day I've seen Manu not show up at the facility. Being a young guy, I've got to be there every day."
Ginobili's layup off the left side of the glass gave the Spurs their first lead of the game after trailing by as many as 16 points.
"We did a lot of good things, but the ending is unforgiveable," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
Maxi Kleber had 21 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 19 for Dallas in the final regular season matchup between the Southwest Division rivals.
Kleber's 3-pointer gave Dallas a 96-85 lead with 4:11 remaining, but the Spurs held them scoreless the remainder of the game.
The Mavericks drought included a turnover when Wes Matthews was unable to inbound the ball with 23.4 seconds remaining. Mathews threw the ball at Ginobili's legs to avoid a 5-second violation, but the Spurs gained possession when the ball ricocheted off Matthews just as he stepped inbounds.
"We did everything right to lose," Nowitzki said. "We missed shots offensively, bad turnover, gave them some offensive rebounds. Letting Ginobili go left down the stretch to lay it in. We literally had to do everything perfect to lose this one and we did."
Coming off a 15-point blowout in Houston on Friday night, San Antonio was able to avoid its third straight loss.
"We played with everybody in Houston and hoped to play a good game in which we could grow and learn from our mistakes while playing against the best team in the NBA right now and I don't think we got anything out of it," Ginobili said. "So, if after that poor effort we came here and played badly again and lost, it would've been a tough one. We are proud of this win."
The Spurs missed their first five shots, all short jumpers from Aldridge and Pau Gasol, on their way to shooting 30 percent in the opening quarter. The Mavericks took advantage, charging to a 31-18 lead after the first quarter.
San Antonio's reserves reversed the team's fortunes in the third quarter.
Davis Bertans finished with 13 points and Ginobili added 12 off the bench.
Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. missed a fifth straight game with a strained left hip. Also sitting out were Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), Dorian Finney-Smith (left quadriceps tendinitis), Josh McRoberts (low extremity injury), and Nerlens Noel (left thumb). ... Dallas is 2-12 on the road after going 12-29 away from home last season. ... The Mavericks are 5-1 when scoring at least 30 points in the first quarter. ... Dallas has made 10-plus 3-pointers in 22 of their first 30 games this season. ... Dallas has 12 turnovers or less in seven straight games and nine of its last 10.
Spurs: Leonard and Parker sat out the second game of a back-to-back as part of their recovery from quadriceps injuries that kept both out for much of the season. ... Green was scratched from the lineup an hour before the game due to tightness in his left groin. ... San Antonio is 6-7 in back-to-back games this season, losing both games once this season. ... Ginobili has played in 522 games in the AT&T Center, surpassing Tim Duncan for second overall to Parker's 550 games at home. ... Bryn Forbes made his third career start, joining Avery Johnson as only the second undrafted player under 6-foot-4 in Spurs history to start 3-plus games.
LEARNING ON THE JOB
Murray made his 10th start at point guard in place of Parker as the second-year player out of Washington continues to try to find a regular spot in San Antonio's rotation.
"Because I'm a ballplayer," Murray said of adjusting to sporadic minutes. "I love basketball, I love to do this. Coming into the NBA, everybody is good, all you can control is what you need to control and that's just getting better every day and be ready when you're number is called."
Murray is averaging 17.9 minutes while coming off the bench in 20 games.
San Antonio's come-from-behind victory astonished the fans and the Spurs themselves, apparently. The scoreboards that fill the AT&T Center displayed the final score as the Mavericks winning 99-98.
Mavericks: Host Phoenix on Monday night before playing five games against teams from the Eastern Conference.
Spurs: Host Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night before embarking on a three-game trip.
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Updated December 17, 2017