Friday , Nov , 03 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Spurs open season with revenge win over Mavericks

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Tony Parker led the way for San Antonio with 19
points, as the Spurs avenged a loss to Dallas in the Western Conference
semifinals last year with a 97-91 win in the season-opener for both teams.

Manu Ginobili tallied 16 points, while Tim Duncan had 13 points and 10
rebounds for the Spurs, who edged Dallas for the Southwest division title last
season before falling to the Mavs in the playoffs in seven games.

“Obviously we both wanted to win,” said Ginobili. “After the great series we
had last year it was obviously a special game.”

Bruce Bowen finished with 13 points for San Antonio, while Francisco Elson
added 12 points and six boards off the bench.

“Francisco has learned the system real quickly,” said Spurs head coach Greg
Popovich. “He provides a lot of energy for us. I was really pleased.”

Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points to go along with 11 rebounds, while Josh Howard
scored 20 points for the Mavericks, who eliminated the Spurs on their way to
the Western Conference title before losing the NBA Championship to the Miami
Heat in six games.

Jason Terry contributed 14 points for Dallas, while Austin Croshere, who was
acquired in an offseason trade, added 12 off the bench.

Trailing 75-72 at the end of the third quarter, San Antonio opened the fourth
with a 8-0 run to go ahead 80-75. Michael Finley’s jumper ignited the scoring
and Parker’s jumper capped the run with 8:28 left to play.

The Spurs held the Mavs at arms length until Howard nailed two free throws
before knocking down a jumper to bring Dallas within one, 85-84, with 2:37
left in regulation.

Bowen responded for San Antonio, draining a three-pointer on the Spurs’ next

Nowitzki’s fade away jumper brought the Mavs back within two, but Dallas then
squandered opportunities on its next two possessions to either tie or regain
the lead.

Nowitzki’s jumper for Dallas rimmed out and Bowen was fouled by Jerry
Stackhouse as he collected the rebound.

Bowen, usually a reliable shooter from the foul line, missed both attempts at
the charity stripe, giving the Mavs yet another chance to respond.

However, Terry’s three-pointer was too strong and at the other end, Duncan’s
put-back off Elson’s failed dunk attempt made it 90-86 with just 50 seconds

After Nowitzki missed another jump shot for Dallas, Ginobili dropped in one of
two free throws to extend the Spurs’ lead to five points.

Stackhouse then turned the ball over on the Mavs’ next possession and San
Antonio made its free throws the rest of the way to ice the game.

“We really lost our rhythm (in the fourth quarter) and that’s about it,” said
Howard. “We just weren’t running the plays that were working at the time and
that’s more of the players fault than the coach. It’s on us as a team to go
out there and do the things that work.”

Dallas held a slim 27-26 lead after the opening quarter and then took a 51-45
advantage into halftime thanks to Erick Dampier’s dunk with two seconds left
in the first half.

San Antonio held a 68-67 lead with 2:33 left in the third quarter after two
free throws from Duncan, but Dampier answered with two free throws of his own,
Devin Harris followed with a layup and the Mavs took a three-point lead into
the final quarter.

“It’s one win but it’s a great start to our season,” said Duncan. “They
(Dallas) are going to a very good team throughout this season; it’s going to
be a division rivalry, so it’s big in many ways and a big start for us.”

Game Notes

Finley finished with 10 points for the Spurs…Dampier had eight points and
six rebounds for Dallas…San Antonio shot 49.3 percent from the floor, while
the Mavs shot 43.2 percent…Both teams finished with 39 rebounds.