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NBA: Mavericks smack Spurs

By Jaime Aron
Associated PressDALLAS ó Erick Dampier never messed with Tony Parker. He didn’t have to.
Instead of delivering his guaranteed hard foul, Dampier and the Dallas Mavericks slapped around the San Antonio Spurs with tight defense, the return of Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting touch and the energy of their home crowd, turning it into an 88-67 victory Thursday night and a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Dampier drew the scrutiny of the league office for saying he would pop Parker on his first drive of this game. Dampier ended up going the whole game without colliding with Parker ó although he did swat away a shot during a frenzied first-half defensive performance by the Mavericks.
“This is how we have to play as far as tempo goes,” Mavs guard Jason Terry said. “Defensively, we were there with great energy.”
San Antonio finished with its fewest points in a playoff game, and it was the fewest Dallas ever allowed in the postseason.
It was so ugly that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich playfully shoved aside the final stats at the start of his postgame news conference.
“Have some mercy will ya?” Popovich said, laughing. “It’s bad enough I had to watch this. Now you’re going to make me look at the stat sheet?”
Dallas allowed only 30 points over the first two quarters. When the Mavs hit a series of jumpers to start the third quarter, swelling a 16-point halftime lead to 26, Popovich decided this was a lost cause. He pulled Parker, Tim Duncan and the rest of his starters with 7:42 left in the third quarter to save them for Game 4 on Saturday.
“I didn’t see where we were going to get back in that one,” Popovich said.
The Mavericks improved to 16-1 at home since the All-Star break and to 7-1 in games following 20-point losses. Now Dallas will have to show it can handle success.
“The challenge is to maintain same kind of edge heading into Saturday,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s a good effort and an important victory for us, but it’s only one step.”Jazz 88, Lakers 86
SALT LAKE CITY ó Deron Williams made a tiebreaking jumper with 2.2 seconds left.

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