Saturday March 16, 2013
Streaking Spurs beat Mavs to clinch playoff spot
SAN ANTONIO: Tim Duncan finished with 28 points and 19 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs clinched a playoff spot by edging the Dallas Mavericks 92-91 on Thursday.
Duncan made the most of his return to the line-up as he missed the Spurs’ 107-83 loss on Tuesday to struggling Minnesota with a sore knee.
Gary Neal added 16 points and Kawhi Leonard, who also sat out during Tuesday’s loss, had 12 along with six rebounds for San Antonio, who earned a playoff spot for the 16th straight season.
Dallas came into the game having matched a season high with four consecutive victories.
They appeared to be poised to add their fifth after scoring seven unanswered points to pull within 92-91 in the closing seconds.
The Mavericks got the ball back with a chance to score, but Vince Carter’s three-pointer bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, with Darren Collison scoring 12 points in the loss.
Meanwhile, Portland’s Damian Lillard had 26 points and 10 assists and LaMarcus Aldridge chipped in 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Trail Blazers beat the New York Knicks 105-90.
Nicolas Batum added 18 points for the Trail Blazers.
J.R. Smith had 33 points and Kenyon Martin added 12 to lead New York, who shot just 33% in the second half.
The Knicks lead the Atlantic Division but have lost three straight on their West Coast road trip as injuries have decimated their starting five.
Tyson Chandler suffered a bruised knee in a collision on Wednesday at Denver and was unavailable, joining Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on the sidelines. — Agencies