SAN ANTONIO (AP) ― Sweeping the Dallas Mavericks in the regular season for the first time in 15 years could have been a cause for celebration. Instead, it just raised more concerns for the San Antonio Spurs.
Tim Duncan had 28 points and 19 rebounds and San Antonio escaped with a 92-91 victory over Dallas when Vince Carter’s 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
“Overall I thought (the Mavericks) played better than us,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I thought they executed better than we did. They were more physical and aggressive.”
Playing their sixth straight game without injured point guard Tony Parker, San Antonio had 15 turnovers and shot 44 percent from the field. The Spurs had 31 assists, but missed three shots and had a turnover in the final 3 minutes in nearly losing an eight-point lead.
“We’re going through a section of time here where we’re not playing the greatest of basketball,” Duncan said. “Obviously, with Tony out of here, our offense is a little limited with the guys we have in there. But outside of that, we just don’t have a rhythm right now.”
Parker is expected to miss another two weeks with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain.
Trail Blazers 105, Knicks 90
Gary Neal added 16 points, including eight in the final quarter, and Kawhi Leonard had 12 for San Antonio, which maintained the Western Conference’s top record at 50-16.
It was San Antonio’s second win in four games, but the two losses to Minnesota and Portland were by a combined 54 points.
“We continued to play in mud like we have been for the last two weeks,” Popovich said. “I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but it’s a fact. It shows on the defensive end and it shows in a pretty dead offense. We were really fortunate to win this game.”
Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Darren Collison added 12 points and O.J. Mayo, Mike James, Brandan Wright and Vince Carter had 10 points apiece.