National Basketball Association
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           === Spurs down Mavericks, close in on West's top seed ===
 Dallas,  TX (  -  Patty  Mills scored  26  points and  Kawhi
 Leonard  finished with  16 points  and a  career-high 16  rebounds as  the San
 Antonio  Spurs took  down the Dallas Mavericks, 109-100, to move a game closer
 towards  clinching  the  best  record  in the  NBA  and  home-court  advantage
 throughout the playoffs.
 Tim  Duncan got  banged up early on,  leaving the game in the first quarter to
 get  his right  knee examined before returning  to the court to post 20 points
 and  15  boards  for the  Spurs,  who  had  lost  two of  three  following  19
 consecutive  wins.
 "When  I landed I kind of twisted my knee and it just scared me basically when
 it  happened," Duncan said.  "I just wanted to get off the court and make sure
 everything was alright."
 Danny  Green  hit five 3-pointers for  15 points, and Tiago Splitter netted 12
 points.  The Spurs moved  to 24-0 on the season when Splitter scores in double
 San  Antonio needs  to win just one  of its final three games or have Oklahoma
 City lose once to clinch the Western Conference's No. 1 seed.
 Dallas,  meanwhile, fell  into a virtual tie with Phoenix for seventh place in
 the Western Conference with the loss. The Mavs have played two more games than
 the Suns, and the two teams are set to do battle in Dallas on Saturday.
 Monta Ellis paced the Mavericks with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 19.
 "Most  of our  problems  were  in transition,"  said  Dallas  head coach  Rick
 Carlisle, referring to San Antonio's 35 transition points. "We just didn't find
 them quick enough."
 The  Spurs won  their eighth straight game against Dallas, completing a second
 straight  season  sweep for the  first time  since earning three straight from
 Green started a perfect 3-of-3 from behind the arc, and the Spurs rode his hot
 hand to a 15-5 start.
 Dallas  trailed 30-22 after one but got a pair of quick jumpers from Nowitzki,
 forced  two Manu  Ginobili turnovers  and tied  the game  on Brandan  Wright's
 alley-oop  slam  on a  touch  pass  from Jae  Crowder.  The  Mavericks used  a
 prolonged  16-2 run against San Antonio's reserves to open the frame and go in
 front, 38-32.
 San  Antonio  didn't blink, however,  running off 11  straight to jump back in
 Nowitzki's  free throws with 17 seconds left in the half gave the Mavs a 51-49
 lead at the break.
 The  second half belonged  to the Spurs. Mills' 3-pointer at 8:26 of the third
 capped  a 14-4  flurry. Leonard  then grabbed  a pair  of offensive  boards in
 traffic  after Mills  missed a semi-contested fastbreak layup and fed Mills on
 the left wing for another 3-pointer and a 66-58 lead.
 "Well,  he  can score.  He's not afraid  to shoot it,  that's for sure," Spurs
 coach Gregg Popovich said about Mills. "He's always aggressive."
 Dallas  never got  closer than five the  rest of the way and trailed by double
 digits for much of the fourth.
 Devin  Harris and  Jose Calderon hit triples  to bookend an 8-0 charge late in
 the  fourth to pull Dallas within six, but with just under a minute remaining,
 Leonard countered with a 3-ball from the left corner that sealed the outcome.
                                   Game Notes
 Tony  Parker (back)  missed his second straight game and is considered day-to-
 day  to return  to the Spurs lineup ...  San Antonio won its 30th road game of
 the  season,  most in franchise  history ...  The loss ended Dallas' four-game
 winning streak ... Calderon scored 14 points ... There were eight lead changes
 and six ties.
 04/11 00:26:38 ET