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Aldridge scores 32, Popovich gets milestone in Spurs win

DALLAS — LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points in his hometown and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 97-91 on Tuesday night (Wednesday Manila time).

Gregg Popovich became the fastest NBA coach to 500 road wins. He got there in 835 away games, 41 fewer than Pat Riley.

Aldridge, a product of Dallas' Seagoville High School, scored eight points during a decisive stretch of the fourth quarter. Patty Mills added a season-high 19 points for the Spurs.

Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with a career-high 27 points, and J.J. Barea and Harrison Barnes had 16 each. The Mavericks are 2-13 for the second straight season and fifth time overall.

Just like in a loss to Cleveland on Saturday, the Mavericks cut a double-digit second-half deficit to one point, but couldn't gain the lead.

After Dallas got within 62-61 early in the fourth, Mills hit a long 3 and a driving layup, then Aldridge scored eight of his team's next 13 points to put the Spurs up 82-71 with 5:03 to play. Dallas never got closer than four points down the stretch.

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The Spurs led by 11 during the third quarter, but Barea made back-to-back 3s and fed Salah Mejri an alley-oop pass for a layup as Dallas closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to get within 62-60.

San Antonio, which has played short-handed all season without starters Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, got Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne back from injuries. Green had four points and Lauvergne none.

Mills scored 13 points in the first six minutes of the second quarter, including three 3s. Aldridge was hit with a technical foul with 3:33 left in the second quarter for shoving the Mavericks' Salah Mejri after a scrap under the Mavericks basket.

The Spurs led 44-39 at the break.

Tip-ins

Spurs: Popovich was asked before the game how he handles the rush of letters and emails responding to his political comments: "I do read everything and I try to respond. It takes time because there's a lot of letters. The only ones I don't respond to are the ones are so courageous in their negativity that there's no address, just comments. That's hard to respond to. But there are people who disagree and say why, and it's erudite and intelligible and (I say), 'Yeah, you've got a point.' Those people deserve to be responded to. I probably don't get them all, but I try."

Mavericks: Dallas continues to play without guard Devin Harris, who missed his second straight game with bruised ribs, and Dorian Finney-Smith was also out Tuesday with left quad tendinitis.

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