The Dallas Mavericks had no answer for power forward LaMarcus Aldridge on Tuesday night, and that was the difference in the Spurs’ 97-91 victory at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points on 12-of-21 shooting and added five rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 35 minutes on the first night of a back-to-back for the Spurs (9-5). He had 13 points in the fourth quarter to help the Silver and Black outscore the Mavs 35-31 in the period.
Aldridge, San Antonio’s leading scorer with a 21.8 average going into the game, has been the team’s high-point man in 11 of their 14 games.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reached another milestone with his 500th career road victory.
Patty Mills finished with 19 points and hit 4 of 9 three-pointers. Manu Ginobili (13) and Dejounte Murray (10) were the other Spurs scoring in double figures.
Ginobili didn’t check into the game until early in the third quarter, but he gave the team a lift on both ends of the court, making 4 of 7 shots, including 1 of 2 from beyond the arc, in 16 minutes.
Dallas dropped to 2-13 overall and 1-7 at home. Dallas has won only two games in its first 15 games each of the last two seasons.
Dennis Smith led the Mavs’ scoring with 27 points, and Harrison Barnes and J.J. Barea finished with 16 each. Dirk Nowitzki had 12 points.
San Antonio shot 44.3 percent overall (35/79) and 23.1 percent (6/26) from the three-point line, and finished with 12 turnovers.
The Mavs hit 33 of 81 shots (40.7 percent) and 10 of 34 attempts (29.4 percent) from the three-point line. They committed 15 turnovers.
The Spurs play the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Minneapolis, and host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
SPURS GAMEDAY: On the road again after six-game home stand
Spurs (8-5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (2-12)
When, where: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dallas
TV: KENS 5, 7 p.m.
Season series: First meeting
Last meeting: Spurs 102, Mavericks 89, April 7, 2017, Dallas
Spurs’ last game: Beat Bulls 133-94, Saturday, AT&T Center
Mavs’ last game: Lost to Thunder 112-99, Sunday, OKC
Spurs’ last 10 games: 5-5, won last game
Mavs’ last 10 games: 2-8, lost last two
Notable: During a six-game home stand that ended Saturday, the Spurs had two back-to-backs at home in the same month for the first time since they entered the NBA in 1976.
Even with six players out, the Spurs demolished the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
With Pau Gasol leading the way with 21 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs, the Silver and Black capped a six-game home stand with a 39-point blowout of the Bulls.
Granted, Chicago (2-9) has one of the worst records in the NBA this season. Only Atlanta and Dallas, both 2-12, have lost more games than the Bulls.
Still, the Spurs won big despite playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, who have yet to suit up this season as they continue to rehab quad injuries, and veterans Manu Ginobili (rest) and Danny Green (tightness, right hamstring).
Their long home stand behind them, the Silver and Black play the front end of a back-to-back Tuesday night on the road against the Dallas Mavericks.
The game will be the second of nine televised this season on KENS 5, the official station of the Spurs. Tuesday’s pregame show will air on KENS 5 at 7.
The Mavs have had a rough go of it early in the season, falling to last place in the Western Conference and winning only one of seven home games.
They’ll get no sympathy from their I-35 rivals, who have been rocked by injuries since the preseason.
“People don’t feel sympathy for other teams in this league regardless of who’s hurt, who’s not, who’s up and who’s down,” Green said. “We’re missing some players. I’m sure they don’t feel any sympathy for us. Regardless, we’ve got to go out there and compete. We want to win, we want to get better and move in a direction to where we’re playing our best basketball.”
LaMarcus Aldridge, averaging a team-high 21.8 points and 8.5 rebounds, expressed similar sentiments.
“You never want to see anybody struggle, but have to focus on what’s happening here,” Aldridge said. “Got to go in and take care of business, can’t have any sympathy once the game starts. It’s a business and you’ve got to take care of it.”
Backup forward/center Joffrey Lauvergne (sprained ankle) and rookie Derrick White (fractured wrist) also missed the game against the Bulls. Lauvergne has missed the last 10 games with the ankle injury.
Lauvergne and Green are questionable for Tuesday night’s game. Parker could return by the end of November, but Popovich has given no timetable for Leonard’s return. He has battled tendinopathy in his right quadriceps since the preseason.
The rout of the Bulls on Saturday put the spotlight on the Spurs’ depth.
Gasol was among eight San Antonio players who scored in double figures in the dismantling of the Bulls. Dejounte Murray (17), Davis Bertans (16), Rudy Gay (15) and Brandon Paul (15) came off the bench to give the offense a boost with a combined 63 points. The Spurs bench scored 67 points, one more than the starting five.
Aldridge (14), Kyle Anderson (13) and Bryn Forbes (13) were the three other starters besides Gasol in double figures. Forbes started for Green at guard.
“We shot well,” Green said. “That’s a good sign. Still got to do a better job of not turning the ball over as much, and being more disciplined and not as sloppy. I think altogether it was a good win for us. Good team chemistry.
“Offense and defense talking and communicating, and guys kind of picking it up from the night before. We’ve got to continue, we’ve got to keep it going regardless of who’s on the floor and who we’re playing against.”
The Spurs had 18 turnovers in a 94-87 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. They trimmed the turnovers to 14 in the romp over the Bulls, and shot a scorching 60 percent while scoring a season-high 133 points. San Antonio also were red hot from the three-point line, burying 18 of 27 attempts (66.7 percent).
Bertans drained 5 of 6 three-pointers, and Gasol, Forbes and Paul had three each. Murray was 2 of 2 from beyond the arc.
“That’s how it should be,” Aldridge said, referring to players coming off the bench and contributing in a big way. “Guys came out and played with intensity and played like we needed the game. I thought guys came out focused and it paid off for us.”
Mavs perennial All-Star Dirk Nowitzki has struggled to find his rhythm this season, averaging only 10.1 points. Harrison Barnes (19) and J.J. Barea (16.6) lead Dallas in scoring.
Tuesday night’s game will be the first of four meetings in 32 days between the Spurs and Mavs.
Up next for the Spurs after Tuesday’s game: vs. Timberwolves, Wednesday, 7 p.m., Minneapolis