=== Spurs down Mavericks, close in on West's top seed ===
Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - 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
"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
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.
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