Nowitzki scores 36 as Mavericks dump Spurs in opener

The Sports Network
4/18/2010 11:50:19 PM
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Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki was 12-of-14 from the field and hit all 12 of his foul shots to finish with 36 points, as the Dallas Mavericks downed rival San Antonio, 100-94, in Game 1 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at American Airlines Center.

Jason Kidd fell just two rebounds shy of a triple-double, scoring 13 points with 11 assists and eight boards.

Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, both of whom were acquired in a February trade with Washington to bolster Dallas' hopes of winning a championship, added 22 and 10 points, respectively.

The additions paid off Sunday, as Jason Terry, who averaged 16.6 points during the regular season, didn't score until there was six minutes left in the game. He ended 2-of-9 for five points for the second-seeded Southwest Division champs, who are in the postseason for a franchise-record 10th straight season.

That's the second-longest streak in the NBA behind the rival Spurs, who are in the playoffs for an NBA-best 13th consecutive year.

"We got off to a really good start tonight but we have our work cut out for us. Tonight was just the beginning and it's going to be a tough series," Kidd said. "We were able to get out a little and run and really eliminate them from double-teaming Dirk or Caron. Everybody pitched in and it was a good win."

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili accounted for 27 and 26 points, respectively, for the Spurs, who lost to the Mavs in five games in last year's quarterfinals.

Tony Parker added 18 points and Antonio McDyess 10 with eight rebounds. The seventh-seeded Spurs shot 50 percent from the floor but had 17 turnovers that led to 20 Dallas points.

"They played better than we did, they played very well. I was very disappointed in us not being very sharp. I think we've got to have a few more people step up and play worth a damn. I thought we had a lot of guys that played like dogs," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Dallas led for most of the first half before San Antonio surged to a slim lead early in the third quarter. The Mavs then responded with a 13-6 run to take control.

Nowitzki went for seven straight points during the stretch and two Erick Dampier free throws had the Dallas lead at 71-65 with 2:17 to go. Kidd added a three in the final minute, and the Mavs were ahead, 76-69, moving to the final period.

Butler had a jumper to open the fourth, then knocked down a three-ball to open up the largest margin of the game at 12 points.

The Spurs wouldn't go quietly, though, as Ginobili came back with a three- point play, and a Matt Bonner three with 7:15 to play made it a five-point game, 85-80.

It remained a five-point game as the teams proceeded to trade scores, but the Mavericks started to pull away following a Duncan jump shot with 5 1/2 minutes to go.

Nowitzki hit two at the line and followed with a jumper to push the lead back to nine, and Kidd's strike from long distance with under three minutes to play brought the margin to 11.

With the clock winding under two minutes left, Terry hit a back-breaking three for a 12-point game, and San Antonio never recovered.

The first quarter opened as a back-and-forth affair before Kidd created some separation with a three and a jumper for a 20-14 edge inside the final minute. The Mavs were ahead 23-18 after 12 minutes.

A Ginobili three tied it two minutes into the second, but Dallas was back in front a short time later on a Haywood putback. His three-point play minutes later provided a 32-27 edge.

Haywood had another putback basket to preserve the lead with 4 1/2 minutes to go, and Dallas was able to hold its advantage after Nowitzki leaned into Roger Mason on a successful jumper with 0.8 seconds left in the half. He converted the three-point play for a 50-45 game at the break.

Nowitzki had 19 first-half points for the Mavericks, who turned 11 Spurs turnovers into 17 points in the opening 24 minutes.

The Spurs surged to begin the second half and went in front on a Richard Jefferson layup, 56-54, to cap an 11-4 opening run. Ginobili buried a three- pointer at the midway point to keep a one-point San Antonio lead.

Game Notes

Dallas went 23-7 after adding Butler and Haywood and closed the regular season by winning eight of 10 and five in a row...These two teams just met on the final day of the regular season, and the Mavs locked up the second seed with a 96-89 victory...San Antonio amassed 50-plus wins for the 11th consecutive time this year...Jefferson took just four shots, making one to end with four points...Both Duncan and McDyess had eight rebounds...Dallas shot 47.3 percent from the field and got nine points from Shawn Marion...Dampier logged a game-high 12 rebounds...It was the 12th 35-point game of Nowitzki's playoff career.

Dirk Nowitzki (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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