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Final score: Spurs' C team falls short late, loses to Mavericks 99-93

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The undermanned Spurs fought valiantly but couldn't get the win.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs visited Dallas on the second game of a back-to-back missing Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and Patty Mills. They were coming off two tough triple overtime losses to the Grizzlies and the Trail Blazers. They were facing a Mavericks team that was fresh of a big time trade that brought Rajon Rondo to Texas and they surely wanted to get a statement win in his debut. Yet the shorthanded Spurs improbably made a game out of it.

The Spurs led for most of this one and fought off comeback attempts by the Mavs time and time again until they couldn't muster up enough buckets to hold off Dallas late in the fourth quarter. The game was tied with two minutes to go but some untimely turnovers cost the Spurs the win. Marco Belinelli led the Spurs, who had five players in double digits, with 21 points. Monta Ellis led all scorers with 38 points on just 23 shots while Rajon Rondo finished his first game as a Maverick with six points (3-11 from the field), seven rebounds and nine assists.

The Spurs are now on a four-game losing streak. At 17-11, they are seventh in the West, 6.5 games behind the Warriors. Yet it's hard to feel dispirited since the losses have been extremely close, against good teams and with the Spurs missing key players. Tonight's defeat in particular should be seen as mostly positive, since the deep bench players showed resilience and the rotation guys looked sharp despite being asked to fill roles that are way too big for them.

The Spurs will face the Clippers in San Antonio on Monday