The Spurs, who were beginning a stretch of four games in six nights, were without the services of Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dewayne Dedmon, and Nico Laprovittola. The Dallas Mavericks were without some talent of their own, missing Dirk Nowitzki and four other key contributors as the Texas rivals battled it out in San Antonio with depleted rosters. When the undrafted dust settled and the D-League smoke cleared, the Spurs emerged victorious, coming away with a 96-91 home win. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists while Seth Curry had 23 points and 4 assists for the visiting Mavericks.
Rookie Dejounte Murray replaced a resting Tony Parker in the starting lineup to make his first career start, and the 20-year-old's inexperience was evident almost immediately. Though Murray had a pretty teardrop in the lane, reminiscent of a young Tony, he appeared overwhelmed on both ends of the floor, coughing up the ball multiple times and getting abused by Harrison Barnes on defense. Speaking of Barnes, the ex-Warrior scored seemingly at will, exploiting every mismatch on his way to 10 first quarter points. Davis Bertans hit nothing but net on an open three after an offensive board, looking sharp in relief of LaMarcus Aldridge, who was also out due to rest. Kawhi Leonard was his typical silent-assassin self, quietly leaving his mark on the game with a jumper here, a layup there, and a pair of and-1's. The Klaw scored 10 points in the opening frame, while the visitors were paced by Harrison Barnes and 8 points from Seth Curry. The Mavericks led for nearly the entire first quarter, but their advantage never reached higher than 4 points, and the Spurs were down 28-24 after one.
Seth Curry continued to make it rain in the second quarter, taking advantage of the space given to him by the Spurs and drilling three triples in the frame. The H-E-B brand Curry finished the half with 5 threes and a game-high 17 points. The Mavericks lead was pushed to 7 at the start of the frame, but the Spurs bench weathered the storm just long enough to allow Kawow to check back into the game and nail a three-ball, giving the Spurs their first lead since the opening minutes. Bryn Forbes and Manu Ginobili both had threes off the bench for the good guys, but there was just too much Seth Curry and too many turnovers (10 in the half) for the Spurs, who trailed the Mavericks 49-48 going into the break.
Wes Matthews walked off the court gingerly after an awkward fall to end the first half, but he showed no signs of injury to begin the third as he proceeded to go on a personal 9-0 run off the strength of three consecutive shots from downtown. Pau Gasol was able to interrupt the Mavericks' run with a layup, but Harrison Barnes hit a highly-contested jumper over Kawhi just a few minutes later to keep the Dallas lead at 8 points. That must have been when David Lee decided he'd seen enough, because the big man checked in and completely shifted the momentum in the Spurs' favor with a pair of ferocious dunks, with one coming off a beautiful assist from Kawhi and the other on a breakaway steal in transition. The AT&T Center came roaring to life, prompting multiple timeouts from Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle in an attempt to quiet the crowd and reel in his team. Despite Lee's heroics, the Spurs were still unable to end the quarter with the lead as the Texas rivals headed to the final frame all tied up at 73.
The good guys wasted no time recapturing the magic they found in the third as Patty sank a wide-open triple after his defender fell down after flopping and Kyle Anderson tipped-in a miss that was followed by yet another timeout by the visitors. Carlisle is one of the league's best coaches for a reason, and the Mavs always seemed to tighten the screws coming out timeouts, this time with Barnes and Curry sinking difficult jumpers to give Dallas an 84-81 lead with 7 minutes left in the game. From that point on, the Mavericks struggled to find a rhythm offensively, turning the ball over and succumbing to increased pressure from the Spurs defense. Points were few and far between down the stretch for both teams, but key steals led to easy buckets in transition for Patty Mills and Kawhi Leonard, allowing the good guys to hold off an inspired Mavs squad and pick up their 11th win on the season.