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Spurs Punish Mavericks

Don Nelson hoped his Dallas Mavericks would sneak up on the San Antonio Spurs, but the Toronto Raptors beat them to it.

Tim Duncan, coming off one of his worst games, had 21 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs bounced back from a Friday-night loss to Toronto to rout the Dallas Mavericks 99-77 Saturday night.

Duncan, who scored a career-low five points against Toronto, had 10 in the first quarter against the Mavericks, who lost their seventh straight road game.

The Mavericks coach said the Spurs were obviously stinging from the Raptors loss.

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  • "We figured if anybody could sneak up on this team it would be us," Nelson said. "They were mad as hornets tonight."

    Mario Elie added 14 points for the Spurs, while Steve Kerr had 12. David Robinson, Sean Elliott and Antonio Daniels each had 11 points for San Antonio, which beat Dallas for the ninth consecutive time.

    "After last night, we were a little disappointed," Robinson said. "Getting the win tonight was good. We really used our depth."

    Michael Finley led Dallas with 17 points. Samaki Walker added 16, and Shawn Bradley had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

    Dallas cut San Antonio's lead to 55-53 on Walker's two free throws with 6:23 left in the third quarter, but the Spurs closed the period with a 14-6 run to take a 69-59 lead.

    "We played pretty well for one half, then their dominance took over," Nelson said. "We got away from our game plan a little and they opened us up pretty good. Their strength, power and size caught up with us."

    The Spurs then opened the fourth quarter with a 14-4 run, capped by Daniels' driving layup for a 83-65 lead with 7:11 left.

    San Antonio guard Avery Johnson credited Daniels with triggering the Spurs' late surge.

    "He came in in the second half and gave us a huge lift," Jhnson said. "His confidence is sky-high right now. He's been the difference for us."

    Said Bradley: "When they saw they had a chance to win this game in the second half, I think their adrenaline kicked in and took over. We need to learn to do that." Notes: The Spurs are 13-2 this month, their third-best record ever in March. ... The Mavericks are 8-7 at home but 2-13 on the road. ... A.C. Green of Dallas played his 1,008th consecutive game. ... Mavs forward Gary Trent did not make the trip because of a stomach virus. ... Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was a former assistant to current Mavs coach Don Nelson at Golden State.

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