Spurs beat Mavs for 50th win in 14 consecutive years

Danny Sanchez, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN ANTONIO -- In the last 14 years, the San Antonio Spurs have been one of the most consistent teams in the league. Year in and year out they keep on winning and the common denominator on the court is Tim Duncan.
On Thursday, Duncan turned back the clock and played like it was 1999. He had 28 points and 19 rebounds to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 92-91 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night at the AT&T Center.
Duncan was 12 of 20 from the field in recording 26th double-double of the season.
"I wasn't trying to feel anything," said Duncan about his stellar play. "I was just trying to get in there where I fit in, and play as hard as I could. I got some shots to drop and was being aggressive on the boards as best I could."
The effort was good enough to lift them into the record books. The Spurs (50-16) have won 50 games in 14 consecutive seasons, an NBA record.
"Consistency. Which is awesome," Duncan said when asked what the record meant. "We've had guys come in and out of here. Teams have changed year in and year out and we're in this position. Obviously, it's been a while since we've won the championship but we want to get back to that."
Gary Neal had 16 points coming off the bench, Kawhi Leonard added 12, and Tiago Splitter 10 rebounds as they started the first of a four game homestand.
The Spurs got their first season sweep of the Mavericks in 15 years. They have defeated the Mavs by a margin of 23 points in the three games, but this one was much closer.
They had a 13-point second half lead cut to one when Dirk Nowitzki hit a bucket with 28 seconds left to make it 92-91.
A Ginobili jumper bounced off the rim and gave the Mavericks the ball with eight seconds and one last opportunity to for a victory, but a Vince Carter 3-point attempt with a second to play bounced off the rim.
"I thought he (Carter) got a great look and it looked good," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "It looked like it had a chance, it just didn't go in."
San Antonio got 31 assists that turned into 37 field goals, but couldn't put the Mavericks away.
The Spurs set a franchise record for 3-pointers (20) in their Dec 23 game, but this time could only manage 5 of 13 3-pointers, as the Mavericks defense ran them off the line.
Nowitzki, who sat out the first 27 games of the year with a knee injury, also made his return to the court against San Antonio on Dec. 23, kept them in the game offensively. He had eight points back then, and Thursday he poured in 21 with 11 rebounds.
He did it without Shawn Marion, sitting out his fourth game with a left calf contusion. O.J. Mayo, Mike James, Brandon Wright and Carter all had 10 points each. Darren Collison scored 12, as Dallas (30-34) snapped their season high four-game winning streak.
"We had a chance in this building to walk away with a win," said Nowitzki. "It has been a motto of our year. We are right there just cannot get over the hump. You are right there and you walk away with an 'L.' "
The Spurs went on a 9-0 run to close out the half to up on Dallas 50-41. Duncan had nine points and 11 rebounds in the first half to lead San Antonio.
The Spurs out rebounded the Mavericks 31-14 in the first half.
NOTES: Guard Chris Wright, signed by the Mavericks on Wednesday, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last season while playing in Turkey. When he plays, he will be the first known NBA player to have and play with the disease. His MS is currently in remission. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich had positive news concerning point guard Tony Parker, who is out with a sprained left ankle. "I hope I'm not being too hopeful, but I think it will be shorter than two weeks," Popovich said pregame. He indicated that the All-Star is back on the court doing light shooting exercises. ... Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will face Austin Trout in a boxing match at the Alamodome on April 20. Spurs fans got a preview when the boxers faced off at half court to promote the fight during a first-quarter timeout. San Antonio boxer Jesse "James" Leija and former world champion Oscar De La Hoya, who is the fight promoter, joined them on the court.

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