Spurs hand struggling Mavs 6th straight loss
DEC 30, 2012 7:48p ET
But the diagnosis of a rival Sunday night went to a place beyond even Dirk Nowitzki observing low Basketball IQ.
"They were not very inspired," Manu said matter-of-factly after the San Antonio Spurs rolled through Dallas 111-86 at American Airlines Center.
That's akin to not caring, not trying. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle went so far as to threaten suspensions for guys who don't get their heads out.
"The first thing we've got to do is collectively make a stand and just decide we're going to bust through this thing," he said. "It's got to start defensively and on the boards. From there, the offensive things generally take care of themselves as long as we're not throwing the ball all over the place.
"We're just very disappointed, but we can't make excuses. We've got to stick together and we've got to fight, and we've got to fight harder than we did tonight."
The Spurs didn't win by 40 this time and they didn't need to. The hurtin' they put on Dallas last week wasn't going to be duplicated on the Mavericks' home floor.
Teams don't hit 20 3-pointers every night. San Antonio has only done so once in its history, and that led to a beatdown of ridiculous proportions at AT&T Center.
The Spurs weren't setting long-distance records this time out and the Mavericks weren't, well, helpless. Dallas scrapped at time, sans the brain cramps Dirk routinely witnessed during his long absence.
And while that made a difference on the scoreboard, the outcome was never in doubt. Southwest Division-leading San Antonio (24-8) went wire-to-wire and takes a five-game winning streak into a New Year's Eve date with Brooklyn in the Alamo City.
"We shot the ball well," Spurs skipper Gregg Popovich said, referring to 51-percent shooting and eight 3-pointers. "They had a tough night shooting, and obviously that makes a big difference.
"We were fortunate, obviously Dirk is not ready. He's not Dirk Nowitzki basically, one of the greatest players that's ever played, so it's going to take time for him. Everybody's just trying to figure out their place and work around, and get back into a rotation."
The Spurs have no such issues. They're healthy and clicking, resting and working on the little things. To a man they say their defense can improve. The rotation is still settling out.
The Mavericks would be hard pressed to find much wrong with anything San Antonio did in the latest I-35 clash. Ginobili, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan were the Spurs' three leading scorers — of course — combining for 59 points.
"They're great players and we didn't do a good job on them," Carlisle said. "They made a lot of plays, a lot of shots. Some of them we contested, but a lot of the plays they made, they were just better than us."
The Spurs established their dominance early, toying with Dallas in the early minutes and opening a double-figure lead. San Antonio was up 20-8 when Nowitzki first checked into the game.
The Mavericks made pushes now and again, only to get rebuffed by Duncan 18-footers or a timely 3 or any number of Silver & Black momentum breakers.
"That did happen tonight," Pop said. "They did stay in the game. When they did make the runs, for whatever reason, we ended up making a shot or two or getting a stop or two at the same time and kicking it back up to six or eight or 10. It worked out tonight, but it doesn't always do that. Tonight it did."
The Mavericks (12-19) have dropped six straight and haven't been this far under .500 since the 1999-2000 season. Or Dirk's second year.
"We just didn't get it done, and we haven't gotten it done in a pretty significant stretch of games now," Carlisle said. "It starts with me and then it goes right down the line. There are no excuses."
Some inspiration might be nice.
Follow Art Garcia on Twitter: @ArtGarcia92
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