Saturday , Apr , 08 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Mavs move closer to Spurs in Western Conference race

San Antonio, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 of his game-high 30
points in the second half, as the Dallas Mavericks inched closer to San
Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference with a 92-86 victory over
the Spurs at the AT&T Center.

Nowitzki also pulled down 10 rebounds for Dallas, which moved within a game of
the Spurs for the best record in the conference and the Southwest Division.
Josh Howard totaled 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavs, winners of three
in a row after a three-game skid.

“I thought our defense did a great job on Tony Parker and of course Tim
Duncan,” Nowitzki. “If we play defense and get rebounds, that opens up a lot
of opportunities for us in the open court.”

Manu Ginobili tallied 22 points to lead the Spurs, who have dropped back-to-
back contests for the first time since mid-February. Michael Finley and Nick
Van Exel each added 14 points, but San Antonio shot just 37.8 percent and
failed on a few opportunities in the closing two minutes.

A jumper by Tony Parker had the Spurs within 89-86 with 1:42 remaining, but
Ginobili then missed a layup.

DeSagana Diop made one free throw to push Dallas to a four-point lead with
49.4 seconds left, and Duncan traveled on the ensuing possession. Bruce Bowen
missed a three-point try, turning the ball over to the Mavs with 6.7 seconds

“He was great tonight,” Duncan said of Nowitzki. “He made all of the shots
down the stretch and made some great moves. His play down the stretch was the
difference in the game tonight.”

Jerry Stackhouse converted two free throws for the final margin.

The Spurs led by as many as 11 in the second quarter before settling for a
53-51 edge at the half, but Dallas was in front 71-65 going into the fourth.

Game Notes

It marked San Antonio’s first two-game skid since February 13 and 15 with
defeats then at Cleveland and at Philadelphia…Jason Terry scored 14 points
and Stackhouse ended with 12 for Dallas, which shot 51.4 percent…Duncan had
13 points and nine boards, while Parker scored 10.