Spurs spoil Dirk’s return
By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
SAN ANTONIO — Danny Green scored a career-high 25 points and the San Antonio Spurs spoiled Dirk Nowitzki’s season debut with a 129-91 rout of the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.
Tony Parker had 18 points, Kawhi Leonard added 17, Tim Duncan 15 and Stephen Jackson 14 for the Spurs (21-8).
After missing the Mavericks’ first 27 regular-season games, Nowitzki entered with 6:28 left in the first quarter to a hearty mix of cheers and boos. Nowitzki underwent surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 after battling soreness the previous season. The former MVP quickly picked up a rebound for Dallas and finished with eight points — going 3 for 4 from the field — and six rebounds in 20 minutes.
Darren Collison scored 15 points to lead Dallas (12-16), which lost its third straight. Vince Carter added 13 points and Chris Kaman had 10.
Nowitzki’s presence did little to stifle San Antonio’s outside shooting. The Spurs were 20 from 30 from 3-point range and shot 56 percent from the field overall.
The Spurs led by as many as 46, while the Mavs’ lone lead came at 4-3 on Kaman’s jumper with 10:30 left in the first quarter.
Every active Spurs player scored and played at least eight minutes.
Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw hit consecutive 3s to push San Antonio’s lead to 55-45 with 3:42 left in the first half.
Green’s seventh 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 77-57 lead with 7 minutes left in the third quarter.
Tiago Splitter’s dunk gave San Antonio a 100-66 lead at the close of the third. Splitter ran to the sideline after the dunk with a huge a smile, where he was immediately greeted with a low five by an equally happy Duncan.
NOTES: Spurs G Gary Neal left the game early in the fourth quarter with a strained right calf. His status is unknown. . San Antonio has dominated Dallas at home, holding a 51-26 advantage against their intrastate rivals. ... The Spurs lead the league in assists at 25.4 per game and the team’s bench leads all reserves at 11.3. ... Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle let official Karl Lane know he was not happy with the officiating. “Does counting fouls lose you the game? It’s so lopsided, it’s ridiculous.” The fouls were 8-4 in favor of the Spurs at that point. The Spurs closed the game with 22 fouls compared to 18 for the Mavericks.
PHOENIX — Blake Griffin scored 23 points, Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers extended a franchise record with their 13th consecutive victory, 103-77 over the Phoenix Suns.
Reserve Jamal Crawford added 22 points for the Clippers, who won in Phoenix for the first time since April 17, 2007. Los Angeles’ overall win streak is an NBA season best and its six straight road victories are also a franchise best.
Jared Dudley scored 19 points, Luis Scola had 11 and Markieff Morris added 10 for the Suns, who have dropped two straight after winning four in a row.
Phoenix kept it close for the first quarter and half of the second. Shannon Brown sank an 11-foot pull-up jumper on a fast break as the Suns trimmed an eight-point deficit to 43-40 with 5:36 left in the first half.
That would be the Suns’ next-to-last field goal of the half.
NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony scored 19 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, rallying New York to a victory over Minnesota.
New York trailed from the opening minutes until Anthony scored eight straight points down the stretch. He had scored just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the first half, but had the final 12 for the Knicks to give them a 4-2 finish on their six-game homestand.
J.R. Smith added 19 points and Tyson Chandler had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who will fly to Los Angeles later Sunday for their Christmas Day game against the Lakers.
Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
NETS 95, 76ERS 92
NEW YORK — Joe Johnson scored 22 points, and Gerald Wallace had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead Brooklyn to a win over Philadelphia.
Deron Williams added 16 points to help the Nets end a six-game skid at home against the 76ers.
Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with 21 points, nine assists and six rebounds, Thadeus Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Evan Turner had 15 points and seven rebounds. The 76ers, opening an eight-game trip, have lost six of their last seven games.
Williams was fouled by Holiday and hit two free throws to make it 94-90 before Turner answered with a layup to make it 94-92. Johnson finished the tight scoring with a free throw.
JAZZ 97, MAGIC 93
ORLANDO, Fla. — Paul Millsap scored 18 points, Gordon Hayward added 17 and Utah survived a fourth-quarter rally to slip past Orlando.
Orlando cut the lead to one in the waning seconds, but came up empty at the foul line.
Utah snapped a two-game losing streak with its fifth consecutive regular-season victory over Orlando. The Jazz played without point guard Mo Williams, out indefinitely with a thumb injury.
Arron Afflalo had 20 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead Orlando, which has dropped back-to-back games since losing starting forward Glen Davis to a shoulder injury.
The loss also ended the Magic’s three-game home winning streak.
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