Spurs Dominate Mavericks
Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (10) goes to the basket past Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Pistons won 96-94. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Dallas — Dirk Nowitzki grabbed a loose ball in the backcourt and started the fast break himself, pulling up for a 3-pointer just like the days before his first knee surgery.
The difference this time: The Dallas Mavericks star threw up an airball.
Nowitzki will need more time to work his way back from a surgery that cost him the first 27 games of the season.
Even then, it may not be enough to keep up with the San Antonio Spurs and their Big Three.
Tony Parker had 21 points and nine assists, Manu Ginobili had several key baskets among his 20 points and the Spurs handed the Mavericks their sixth straight loss, 111-86 last night.
Two nights after his second 30-point game of the season, Tim Duncan had 10 in the second quarter before settling in for a more typical outing: 18 points and 10 rebounds for his 16th double-double to go with three blocks.
The Spurs, who snapped a four-game road losing streak, never trailed a week after beating the Mavericks by 38 in San Antonio when Nowitzki made a surprise debut earlier than expected.
“I liked the focus of the team,” Parker said. “It’s never easy to play a team that we beat pretty bad last week. From the get-go, we moved the ball, took good shots and played great defense.”
Nowitzki followed his first-half airball by missing three more in the second half before finally getting a basket on a driving layup.
He finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting — and didn’t come close to trying another 3-pointer. He did have five rebounds and three blocked shots.
“He’s not Dirk Nowitzki, basically, one of the greatest players that’s ever played, so it’s going to take time for him,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s very, very difficult when you have a guy like that out, and then he comes back.”
Darren Collison scored 18 points to lead the Mavericks, whose losing streak is their longest since January of their championship season in 2010-11.
Pistons 96, Bucks 94
Auburn Hills, Mich. — Tayshaun Prince made two free throws with 10.9 seconds left to give Detroit a victory over Milwaukee after the Pistons blew a 14-point lead.
Prince scored 20 points, and Greg Monroe added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit, which had five players in double figures. Charlie Villanueva and Brandon Knight added 11 points apiece, and Jason Maxiell scored 10.
Monta Ellis had 30 points and nine assists, and Erson Ilyasova scored 24 for the Bucks.
Both teams were coming off wins over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.