(The Sports Xchange) - The San Antonio Spurs handed the Dallas Mavericks one of their more humiliating home defeats in franchise history with a 116-90 victory on Friday in front a stunned-silent sellout crowd at American Airlines Center.
The Spurs put on a clinic from the start, reeling off a quick 16-4 run that snowballed into an embarrassing evening for the Mavs, who lost for a third consecutive game. San Antonio led 27-12 after the first quarter and 62-26 at halftime behind the power of a 53-18 run.
"We played very poorly in the first half and they played great," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Obviously we didn't come out with enough force. The majority of the blame should go on me for not getting these guys ready to go. We had a crowd that was ready to get into it, but we didn't respond well at the beginning. The second half was better, but at that point you are fighting out of such a big hole it is just very difficult."
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich predictably downplayed the lopsided victory, especially coming off a recent 30-point loss at Golden State.
"Every game has mistakes, you win by 30 or you lose by 30," Popovich said. "It happens to all of us. I could go watch the film and there would be all kinds of things we could improve, because it is a game of mistakes. There is never a perfect game, so it goes without saying that you can always get better."
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, who will be a starter in his first All-Star Game next weekend, scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the first half while all five of Dallas' starters combined for 16 points in the first 24 minutes.
The loss wound up not challenging the mark for biggest home loss for Dallas, whose worst loss at home was 117-70 to Seattle on Nov. 25, 1989. For the Spurs, their 42nd win of the season was their 34th by a double-digit margin. All 13 players active for the Spurs scored and nine different players hit at least one 3-pointer.
"That's probably the most embarrassing game I've been a part of on any level," said Mavs guard Wesley Matthews said.
San Antonio forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 28 minutes, and reserve guard Patty Mills had 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.
The Spurs (42-8) were eight of 17 from 3-point range after three quarters (12 of 22 for the game), while Dallas was one-for-eight after three quarters and three of 15 overall. It was so bad for the Mavs (28-25) that if San Antonio had gone scoreless in the third quarter, it still would have led by two points entering the fourth.
"I wouldn't say it was easy," Aldridge said. "We had to compete and execute, do things right out there. I wouldn't say it was easy. I thought guys played hard and competed at the highest level."
Mavs center Zaza Pachulia didn't deal with the frustration well. He was ejected five minutes into the third quarter for arguing a no-call on a dunk, believing Spurs guard Danny Green had fouled him.
It came after several earlier incidents and moments after Pachulia and Green got into a skirmish chasing a loose ball. Late in the second quarter Pachulia and Spurs forward David West got into it with both players earning a technical foul and Pachulia getting hit with a flagrant 1.
Dallas actually scored the first six points of the third quarter as the Spurs missed their first five shots, but the Mavs' spurt was quickly short-circuited and San Antonio pulled ahead 79-40 with 5:57 to go.
A few minutes later Mavs coach Rick Carlisle mercifully pulled the plug with a game at streaking Memphis looming Saturday night.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki was the only Mavs player to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds, until rookie forward Justin Anderson and forward Charlie Villanueva each got to 13 points in extended fourth-quarter garbage time. Guard Deron Williams had eight points and forward Chandler Parsons finished with six on three of nine shooting.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)