Posted December 24, 2012 on AP on Fox
Dallas_mavericks_dirk_6153
Dirk Nowitzki wasn't expecting to play much during his season debut Sunday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Still, after missing the Dallas Mavericks' first 27 regular-season games, he didn't expect to take a seat on the bench after 20 minutes with the game completely out of hand. ''In the middle of the third we were down by 80, so I didn't really have to go back in,'' Nowitzki said, exaggerating the Mavs' largest deficit just a bit. Danny Green scored a career-high 25 points and the Spurs spoiled Nowitzki's season debut with a 129-91 rout of the Mavericks. San Antonio's largest lead was actually 46, but the deficit seemed larger to Dallas. ''We got a (butt-kicking), that's it,'' Shawn Marion said. ''No need to explain it . . . it was an old-fashioned (butt-kicking).'' The Spurs set a franchise record with 20 3-pointers, besting the record of 19 they set Dec. 8 in Charlotte. San Antonio also set a season high for largest margin of victory. Tony Parker had 18 points, Kawhi Leonard added 17, Tim Duncan 15 and Stephen Jackson 14 for the Spurs (21-8). Darren Collison scored 15 points to lead Dallas (12-16), which lost its third straight. Vince Carter added 13 points and Chris Kaman had 10. San Antonio also had 33 assists, a season-high 17 steals and forced 20 turnovers. ''We don't create that many turnovers normally,'' Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ''So that's a heck of a night for us as far as steals are concerned. That's not going to happen very often. We were fortunate it was one of those nights when your opponent has a bad night and you have a great night and it ends up like tonight.'' It came on the night Nowitzki returned following surgery on his right knee Oct. 19 after battling soreness the previous season. He entered with 6:28 left in the first quarter to a hearty mix of cheers and boos. The former MVP quickly picked up a rebound for Dallas and finished with eight points -- going 3 for 4 from the field -- and six rebounds in 20 minutes. Nowitzki decided to play less than an hour before tipoff after testing the knee during practice last week. ''Before the game I felt decent, so I said I'm going to give it a go,'' Nowitzki said. ''I felt actually good out there. I thought the wind was OK, but my legs were a little heavy there after a couple of trips up and down but I thought I fought through it OK.'' Nowitzki's presence did little to stifle San Antonio's outside shooting. The Spurs were 20 from 30 from 3-point range and shot 56 percent from the field overall. ''Luckily it felt good tonight,'' Green said. ''Some nights you have it and some nights you don't. Good thing we had it tonight. Not just myself, but everybody else on the team. Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw hit consecutive 3s to push San Antonio's lead to 55-45 with 3:42 left in the first half. Green's seventh 3-pointer gave the Spurs a 77-57 lead with 7 minutes left in the third quarter. The Spurs led by as many as 46, while the Mavs' lone lead came at 4-3 on Kaman's jumper with 10:30 left in the first quarter. Tiago Splitter's dunk gave San Antonio a 100-66 lead at the close of the third. Splitter ran to the sideline after the dunk with a huge a smile, where he was immediately greeted with a low five by an equally happy Duncan. Dallas was outscored 36-14 in the third quarter. San Antonio closed the quarter on a 31-9 run. ''We need to keep on working,'' Nowitzki said. ''We've got a lot of areas to improve. We might not be as talented as some teams on the top, but if we're not, you have to make it up with how you play and compete and it's just not there.'' Every active Spurs player scored and played at least eight minutes. NOTES: Spurs G Gary Neal left the game early in the fourth quarter with a strained right calf. His status is unknown. ...San Antonio has dominated Dallas at home, holding a 51-26 advantage against their intrastate rivals. ... Seven players have led the Spurs in individual scoring this season. ... San Antonio has had 12 players start this season, the most in the NBA. ... The Spurs lead the league in assists at 25.4 per game and the team's bench leads all reserves at 11.3. ... Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle let official Karl Lane know he was not happy with the officiating. ''Does counting fouls lose you the game? It's so lopsided, it's ridiculous.'' The fouls were 8-4 in favor of the Spurs at that point. The Spurs closed the game with 22 fouls compared to 18 for the Mavericks.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Nowitzki makes surprise return to court

Dirk Nowitzki's return to the Dallas Mavericks is complete with his surprising revelation that he is ready to play in Sunday's game at San Antonio. "I'm going to give it a go,'' he said before the game. As of Wednesday, Dirk was still talking of returning after Christmas and not having a firm target date. "Not really,'' he said in a Wednesday...

Dirk Nowitzki Makes Season Debut

Dirk Nowitzki made a surprise return Sunday night, deciding he’d play against the Spurs less than an hour before tip-off after testing the knee during practice last week. Nowitzki, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19, was not expected to return until after Christmas – so this was an early gift for Mavericks’ fans. The All-Star came off the bench, checking into the...

Dirk Nowitzki Makes Season Debut Against Spurs

Dirk Nowitzki warmed up prior to the Dallas Mavericks’ game with San Antonio on Sunday night, preparing to play in a game for the first time this season. He was not in the starting lineup, but was dressed and on the bench. He entered the game with 6:28 left in the first quarter. Nowitzki, who had arthroscopic knee surgery on Oct. 19, went through his first full practice on Wednesday...

Dirk Nowitzki Makes Surprising Return

The Dallas Mavericks shocked everyone last night.  Not because of their performance or because of a big win.  They shocked everyone by playing Dirk Nowitzki.  The Mavericks star has been sidelined the entire season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.  However, shortly before the game it was reported that he would play. Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com had the early report about...

Nowitzki makes season debut

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut Sunday, coming off the bench in the first quarter of the Mavericks' game in San Antonio against the Spurs. The 14-year pro underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19, and he missed the team's first 27 games. In Nowitzki's absence, the Mavericks went 12-15, losing five of their past six prior to Sunday...

Nowitzki's return can't save Mavs at San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO -- With the surprise return of Dirk Nowitzki to the Dallas lineup Sunday night, the Mavericks seemed ready to re-energize their season against their longtime rival, the San Antonio Spurs. However, it was the Spurs who got hot. San Antonio rode a franchise-record long-distance shooting performance to a 129-91 win over the Mavericks at the AT&T Center. The Spurs...

Spurs spoil Nowitzki's return, rain 20 3-pointers in rout

SAN ANTONO--The San Antonio Spurs used a team-record long-distance shooting performance to ruin the return of Dirk Nowitzki in a 129-91 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night at the AT&T Center. The Spurs made 20 of their 30 attempts from 3-point range. Nowitzki, who had surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19, was not expected to return until after Christmas, but announced...

Mavs Donuts: 'We Need Some Work' - Dirk

Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut on Sunday, surprising pretty much everybody with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting in 20 minutes of ease-back-in action. The bad news from San Antonio? "We need some work, because that was obviously embarrassing,' said The UberMan, the only member of the Mavs who didn't humiliate himself in a 129-91 debacle - which we analyze in Monday...

Video: Spurs rain down threes on Mavs, set franchise record

Not even the return of Dirk Nowitzki could have stopped the San Antonio Spurs from blitzing the Dallas Mavericks from the three-point line in their recent tussle. The Spurs set a franchise-record 20 three pointers made in a game eclipsing their previous record of 19 three-pointers made versus the Bobcats earlier this season. The Spurs were led by Danny Green's 7-8 from...

Spurs rout Mavs in Dirk's return from surgery

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Dirk Nowitzki wasn't expecting to play much during his season debut Sunday night against the San Antonio Spurs. Still, after missing the Dallas Mavericks' first 27 regular-season games, he didn't expect to take a seat on the bench after 20 minutes with the game completely out of hand. "In the middle of the third we were down by 80, so I didn...

Nowitzki Scores Eight Points In Surprise Debut

Dirk Nowitzki returned to the Mavericks on Sunday night, earlier than many expected.

"Santa" Dirk Nowitzki gives gag gifts to his Mavericks teammates (Video)

Over the years, the Dallas Mavericks have provided us with some classic holiday videos and their latest featuring players getting gift from "Santa Dirk" is an instant classic to watch on this Christmas Eve.Check out Chris Kaman, O.J. Mayo, Elton Brand and a host of others open their presents to receive some comical gifts.Clearly, Shawn Marion should ask for the receipt...

Starting 5: Unhappy returns

Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day. 1: From downtown Dirk Nowitzki surprised everyone when he came out for pregame warmups and played his first game of the season. At long last the Mavericks were going to have a complete team. Nowitzki played only 20 minutes but scored eight points on 3-for-4 shooting and grabbed...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.