Mavericks dig in their spurs, beat San Antonio

DALLAS -- Rodrigue Beaubois got things going with an electrifying alley-oop dunk 17 seconds into Saturday night's big-time shootout against the rival San Antonio Spurs.

By the time Jason Terry ended things with a lights-out 3-pointer, the Dallas Mavericks were skip-hopping merrily across the American Airlines Center court as they showed a lot of gumption in knocking off the Spurs 106-99 before a sellout crowd of 20,528.

The victory enabled the Mavericks (26-20) to finish a 3-0 sweep of their homestand in a game that had playoff implications. Dallas trails the Spurs (29-14) by 4 1/2 games in the Southwest Division going into Monday's game at Denver.

This was the first time in a long time that the Mavs pieced together a solid game against a formidable opponent.

"I think everybody stepped up," said Jason Kidd, who had 14 points and 10 assists. "Everybody came to play tonight.

"We knew how important this game is; the season is getting closer to the end, so we've got to play better basketball. Tonight is a perfect example of that."

The Mavericks put five players in double-figure scoring, outrebounded the Spurs by 13, and converted as many 3-pointers (11) as the Spurs. It was the kind of victory that could give the defending NBA champs that warm and fuzzy feeling they need to defend their title.

Dallas mounted a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter before the Spurs whittled it to 100-94. But with a chance to slice the deficit to three, Manu Ginobili misfired on a 3-point try with 1:29 remaining.

Vince Carter banged in a 3-pointer for Dallas, Tim Duncan scored inside for San Antonio, and then Terry drilled 3-pointer to seal the game and give the Mavericks a 106-96 cushion with 41.9 seconds remaining.

"We just need to be at a certain level and with the right kind of presence on the court," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Tonight, there was no lag.

"We've had lag in other games, but tonight there couldn't be a lag, and there wasn't.''

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavs with 27 points, including the team's final 12 points of the first half, which ended with Dallas clinging to a 46-44 lead. Terry poured in eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter; Beaubois had 16 points and a career-high-tying eight rebounds; and Carter added 10 points and six rebounds.

The Mavs, who were slumping as recently as two weeks ago, looked like a determined team. They were hustling for loose balls, banging the boards, and zipping up and down the floor.

"We were trying to be aggressive, penetrate, make the extra pass, and guys were knocking down shots," Kidd said of the game plan. "Defensively, we wanted to take away the 3."

Nowitzki, meanwhile, overcame a tough challenge from a bevy of defenders. He also struck a Michael Jordan-like pose after he made a 3-pointer that pushed the Mavs ahead 90-77 midway through the final quarter.

Also, Beaubois played his fellow Frenchman, Tony Parker, to a virtual standstill. Parker finished with 13 points and 11 assists, but wasn't the huge factor he's usually been when matched against Beaubois.

"He's really figuring some things out and he's really doing a great job both pushing tempo and then playing under control,"' Carlisle said. "And that's really key for us.

"He was terrific all night long."

Dwain Price, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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