Dallas Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle opted to start Elton Brand at center over Chris Kaman in the hopes of shoring up the Dallas defense inside and it mattered not as the San Antonio Spurs carved up the Dallas Mavericks both inside and outside for a 113-107 victory at the AAC Friday night.
Despite playing without Tim Duncan, the Spurs had no problem scoring inside on Brand or anyone else as reserve forward-center DeJuan Blair had a season-high 22 points, including 17 on 8-of-9 shooting in the first half and starting center Tiago Splitter had 13 points and 12 rebounds - more than double his average on the boards.
The deceiving final score reflects a late surge by the Mavericks, who went on an 11-0 run near the end of the game, capping a 39-25 advantage in the fourth quarter, neither of which were enough to overcome a complete dominance by the Spurs for most of the game. The Spurs led by as much as 26 points and Dallas was never close until the end of the game.
Tony Parker also missed a good portion of the game after taking an elbow in the eye requiring stitches but that didn’t stop him from racking up 23 points and dishing out 10 assists. Seven Spurs scored in double figures. The Spurs also played with little help from Coach Greg Popovich, who remains ill and Manu Ginobili, who just came back from injury but rested most of the game.
The Mavericks had a rare strong performance from Rodrigue Beaubois as he led the team with 19 points. Vince Carter scored 17.
Brand grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked a couple of shots but only managed 8 points on 4-of-10 shooting while the Spurs big men had their way around the basket.
The Spurs extended their winning streak to 7 games while the Mavericks have lost 2 of 3 and with a Houston victory over New Orleans, were served a setback in their quest to climb into the playoff race.