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News » Loud 'n clear Cuban's message received: Howard, Dirk ignite resounding win

Loud 'n clear Cuban's message received: Howard, Dirk ignite resounding win

Loud 'n clear Cuban's message received: Howard, Dirk ignite resounding win
It was a classic case of the Titan meeting the Titanic.

But if the Mavericks are the sinking ship, somehow they got the better of the iceberg for one night.

Two nights after putting out such a woeful effort that owner Mark Cuban called out the team, the Mavericks poured heart and soul into a 107-102 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

The Spurs remain one of the legitimate contenders for the NBA title this season. The Mavericks are just trying to prove they are playoff caliber.

The victory padded the Mavs' lead over ninth-place Phoenix to three games.

The game was hotly contested throughout. Josh Howard had 29 points and Dirk Nowitzki canned a 3-pointer with 4:26 left that got the crowd on its feet and put the Mavericks up, 96-88. Erick Dampier had a couple of blocked shots on Tim Duncan and a layup just before Nowitzki's 3. After a Roger Mason miss. Nowitzki canned a 14-footer for a 98-88 advantage, the first time either team led by double figures.

Tony Parker and Mason combined for all the points as the Spurs rallied to 100-98 on Parker's free throws with 1:17 left.

The Mavericks needed solid execution. They moved the ball to Howard, who pump-faked Duncan into the air and took the lane to the rim for a layup.

After Parker countered with a drive, Jason Kidd took a pass from Terry and hit a corner 3-pointer with 31.0 left to make it 105-100. That play featured some of the Mavericks' best ball movement of the game.

Parker then missed twice, including a 3-pointer, and Terry rebounded and was fouled with10.8 seconds left, with his free throws clinching it.

Entertainment value was high as the lead flickered back and forth. The Mavericks were trying to hold off a strong night from Tim Duncan and Parker, who combined for eight consecutive points as the Spurs climbed within 91-88 midway through the fourth. The Spurs were playing without the injured Manu Ginobili.

It was a far cry from Monday, when the Mavericks had been humiliated by a short-handed Oklahoma City team, which drew the wrath of the owner, who said such lame efforts would not be tolerated.

Effort or not, the Mavericks were guilty of shoddy defense in the first half against the Spurs, who threw in 62 percent of their shots in building a 45-37 lead with just over seven minutes left in the half.

The Mavericks started executing better at both ends and drew within 57-56 at the break, but the tone was firmly set. This was going to be a grind-it-out battle, even if both defenses were picking their spots as to when they actually worked up a sweat. Both teams were knocking down more than half their shots.

That didn't change as the third quarter wore on. The Mavericks took a brief lead on two occasions before Parker began asserting himself. He hit five consecutive points, including a 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim, bounced high, then came down through the net.

Down, 72-68, the Mavericks responded in unusual style - they drove to the rim. Not once. Not twice. But three consecutive times.

The last one was a Terry run through the gut of the Spurs' defense for an easy bucket and a 75-72 lead. They went up by seven after three quarters.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: March 7, 2009


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