Aldridge has 32 points, Popovich gets milestone in Spurs win
FILE - OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 12: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs shoots the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 12, 2016 Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr. /NBAE via Getty Images)
By Dave Jackson, Associated Press
DALLAS (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-91 on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).
Gregg Popovich became the fastest NBA coach to 500 road wins. He got there in 835 away games, 41 fewer than Pat Riley.
Aldridge, a product of Dallas' Seagoville High School, scored eight points during a decisive stretch of the fourth quarter. Patty Mills added a season-high 19 points for the Spurs.
Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with a career-high 27 points, and J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes had 16 each. The Mavericks are 2-13 for the second straight season and fifth time overall.
Just like in a loss to Cleveland on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time), the Mavericks cut a double-digit second-half deficit to one point, but couldn't gain the lead.
After Dallas got within 62-61 early in the fourth, Mills hit a long three and a driving layup, then Aldridge scored eight of his team's next 13 points to put the Spurs up 82-71 with 5:03 to play. Dallas never got closer than four points down the stretch.
The Spurs led by 11 during the third quarter, but Barea made back-to-back triples and fed Salah Mejri an alley-oop pass for a layup as Dallas closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to get within 62-60.
San Antonio, which has played short-handed all season without starters Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, got Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne back from injuries. Green had four points and Lauvergne none.
Mills scored 13 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter, including three three's. Aldridge was hit with a technical foul with 3:33 left in the second quarter for shoving the Mavericks' Salah Mejri after a scrap under the Mavericks basket.
The Spurs led 44-39 at the break.
Spurs: Popovich was asked before the game how he handles the rush of letters and emails responding to his political comments: "I do read everything and I try to respond. It takes time because there's a lot of letters. The only ones I don't respond to are the ones are so courageous in their negativity that there's no address, just comments. That's hard to respond to. But there are people who disagree and say why, and it's erudite and intelligible and [I say], 'Yeah, you've got a point.' Those people deserve to be responded to. I probably don't get them all, but I try."
Mavericks: Dallas continues to play without guard Devin Harris, who missed his second straight game with bruised ribs, and Dorian Finney-Smith was also out Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time) with left quad tendinitis.
Spurs: Travel to Minnesota for the second half of a back-to-back Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time). The Spurs have won 12 straight against the Wolves, dating to 2014.
Mavericks: Also face the Timberwolves next, at home Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Minnesota won the team's first meeting on Nov. 4 (Nov. 5, PHL time).