Mavericks 92, Spurs 86
DALLAS (AP) _ Rookie Dirk Nowitzki and second-year center Chris Anstey made major contributions down the stretch as the Dallas Mavericks beat one of the top eight teams in the Western Conference for the first time this season with a 92-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
Nowitzki, getting his first start since Feb. 26, had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Anstey came off the bench for eight fourth-quarter points to help the Mavericks stop a three-game losing streak.
Michael Finley’s 25 points and Gary Trent’s 18 paced the Mavericks, who had lost to the Spurs in nine of their last 10 meetings.
Dallas was 0-16 against the top eight teams in the Western Conference entering Tuesday night’s game.
With the Mavericks clinging to an 87-84 lead, Nowitzki came up with a critical rebound off a miss by Finley with 16 seconds left. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws to extend Dallas’ lead to four.
Sean Elliott missed an 18-footer with five seconds left, Trent tracked down the rebound and converted two free throws to give the Mavericks a 90-84 lead.
The Spurs seemed on the verge of pulling away, building an 80-74 lead with six minutes to go.
But Anstey and Finley had four points each while the Mavericks responded with a 12-1 run capped by Anstey’s follow dunk with 1:54 left to give Dallas an 86-81 lead.
David Robinson had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Tim Duncan added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, winners of 19 of their previous 22 games.
Shawn Bradley had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Dallas, but fouled out with 5:35 to play.
The Spurs took a 69-66 lead into the final quarter after leading by as many as nine points in the third.
Notes: With his team out of playoff contention, Mavericks coach Don Nelson says he’ll dole out more minutes to his young players. ... The Spurs missed nine of their first 11 shots. ... San Antonio had won seven of its previous eight.