How it happened: The Dallas Mavericks, minus two starters, responded to the step up in competition by showing up to play.
Going through the motions, as the Mavs did at times during get-well wins this week over the lottery-bound Wizards and Bobcats, wasn’t going to be good enough against the Spurs. The Mavs had to play with passion and energy from the get-go, especially with center Brendan Haywood and small forward Shawn Marion sidelined by sore knees.
The Mavs answered the bell, getting a spark from fill-in starting guard Rodrigue Beaubois en route to a double-digit first-quarter lead that Dallas never let go.
Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 12 of his 27 points during a second-quarter spree, put the Mavs on his back for stretches. But it took a balanced effort to beat a San Antonio squad playing the butt end of a back-to-back after a down-to-the-wire win in Oklahoma City.
Jason Kidd, the 38-year-old point guard, looked 10 years younger while putting up 14 points, 10 assists, five rebounds and only one turnover. Jason Terry scored eight of his 17 points in the final five minutes, including a couple of clutch 3-pointers. Beaubois had 16 points on 8-of-16 shooting and a career-high-tying eight rebounds. And Vince Carter contributed 10 points, eight coming after halftime.
What it means: The Mavs’ miserable 2-7, nine-games-in-12-nights stretch coming out of the All-Star break is a distant memory. They’ve bounced back with a 3-0 week, capped by a win that ranks among their most impressive of the season. The Mavs climbed into a virtual tie with Memphis for fifth in the West standings with the victory over the Spurs.
Bold play of the game: The Mavs’ first possession set the energetic tone for the game. On a called play, Beaubois came off a back pick and caught a lob from Kidd, finishing with a highlight-reel slam to get the AAC crowd fired up. The Mavs never trailed.
Stat of the night: Kidd, who has more career triple-doubles (107) than anybody other than Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, recorded his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 assists. It was the 486th double-double of Kidd’s career.