Making his first start of the season, Jason Terry got right into the flow of things.
Terry scored 29 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 30 points and the Dallas Mavericks beat San Antonio 98-81 on Tuesday night to send the Spurs to their first 0-3 record in 35 years.
“It was nice to be back out there and competing at a high level,” said Terry, who shot 13-of-21 and had six assists. “With the guys we have out there, we’ve got a lineup that’s been playing together for four or five years now. We know each other, and we play well with each other.”
Dallas (2-2) also got 14 points from Josh Howard and 10 assists from Jason Kidd. The Mavericks shot 53 percent from the floor compared to 42 for San Antonio. Dallas outrebounded San Antonio 48-38.
The Spurs are off to their worst start since opening the 1973-74 ABA season 0-4. It was their first season in San Antonio after playing in Dallas as the Chaparrals. The Spurs joined the NBA in 1976.
Tony Parker led San Antonio with 22 points and Tim Duncan scored 19 as the Spurs continue to play without Manu Ginobili. He’s not expected back until December after surgery to repair his left ankle.
“Uncharted territory for us,” Duncan said of the 0-3 start. “We’ve played some bad basketball so far, to say he least.”
After trailing by seven at the end of the first quarter, the Spurs cut Dallas’ lead to 30-27 on Parker’s 20-foot jump shot with 8:34 before halftime.
But the Mavericks quickly shot out to a double-digit lead with two jumpers from Terry and a 3-pointer by Antoine Wright.
“Jet (Terry) really came out,” Nowitzki said. “We definitely need his offense in our group. Whether he starts or is off the bench, we need his shooting and we need his scoring.”
Leading 41-31 with 3:33 to go in the second quarter, the Mavericks finished the first half by hitting five of six shots. Nowitzki had three of them, including a 3-pointer, and Dallas went up by 18.
“They came out with a lot of energy, they shot the ball well and executed,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We did the opposite, and that put us in the hole.”
Dallas was 4-of-8 from the 3-point line in the half. San Antonio was 3-of-11.
Combined, Howard, Nowitzki and Terry scored 73 points on 33-of-56 shooting for the game.
It was just one night ago in Dallas that the Mavs lost by 19 to Cleveland. Nowitzki was 3-of-11 in that game.
“I think we didn’t compete hard enough yesterday and got embarrassed in our building,” Nowitzki said. “We had a long meeting this morning, and we just had to get back to playing hard on both ends of the floor. I think today we found a good rhythm.”
Kidd hit a 3-pointer on the first shot of the second half, and the Mavericks were 10-of-19 from the floor in the third quarter. The Mavericks led by 23 points as late as 5:49 left in the third quarter.
But the Spurs cut it to 80-73 with 7:29 left in the game on two free throws by first-round draft pick George Hill. But Nowitzki then scored six points to help Dallas open up an 88-73 lead.