Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dirk Nowitzki's 20 points and seven rebounds led a balanced Dallas attack, as the Mavericks stymied the San Antonio Spurs into a stunning display of futility, embarrassing the Southwest Division champions, 88-67, in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinals series.
Josh Howard added 17 points and eight boards, while Jose Barea chipped in 13 points and seven assists for Dallas, which took a 2-1 lead in the series after splitting the first two games in San Antonio.
Jason Terry and Brandon Bass each netted 10 points for the Mavs, who shot 47.2 percent from the floor compared to San Antonio's putrid 32.1 percent clip en route to a playoff franchise-low scoring output.
Erick Dampier pulled down nine caroms and blocked three shots for the victors, though nothing materialized from his comments after Game 2, vowing to knock Spurs guard Tony Parker to the ground the first time he came into the lane.
"[Dampier] stepped up big," Howard said. "A lot of people gave him flack for what he said, but this is an NBA game, guys go out there and play hard and he didn't mean anything by it and he took that as motivation and we went out there tonight and played great. Damp is the anchor of our defense and we follow our anchor."
Parker, coming off a 16-for-22, 38-point performance in a Spurs victory in Game 2, was held to 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Tim Duncan was also held in check with a grand total of four points on a 2-for-9 effort from the field.
Game 4 is set for Saturday in Dallas, where the Mavs have won 16 of their last 17 games.
"I liked the way we played. The score, at this point, is insignificant. We've got to stay consistent and keep that edge. That's where the challenge is," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "It's a good effort and an important victory for us, but it's just one step."
The rout was on from the opening tip, as San Antonio missed its first five shots and was staring at an 8-0 deficit two minutes into the game. Barea's three-pointer near the halfway point had the Mavs up, 19-7, and the first- quarter margin was 27-16 in favor of the hosts.
Roger Mason's jumper had the visitors within 34-25 with just over eight minutes left in the second, but the Spurs netted just one field goal the rest of the frame.
Terry's jumper capped a 12-0 Dallas run late in the stanza with three minutes left, and even though they were the last Mavericks points of the half, the Mavs still led 46-30 at the break.
Nowitzki and Howard combined on a 9-2 Dallas run to start the third quarter, and Jason Kidd's trey with just under eight minutes to play pushed the lopsided affair to 62-36, causing Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout and have his starters watch the rest of the game from the bench.
"They kicked our [expletive] every which way but loose," Popovich said. "I thought we didn't play well at either end of the court. They had a lot to do with it. Their energy and aggressiveness was great. They executed and did a hell of a job."
From that point the contest became nothing more than an exhibition, as the Mavs had a 75-42 lead heading to the fourth before cruising to the final buzzer.
Fabricio Oberto was the only other Spurs player in double figures with 10 points...San Antonio's Kurt Thomas pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds... The Mavs won the battle on the glass, 51-41...The Spurs shot 2-for-17 from behind the arc, while Dallas hit 8-of-22 from downtown.