LaMarcus Aldridge had a season-high 33 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs celebrated Tony Parker's first game of the season by beating the Dallas Mavericks 115-108 on Monday night.
Parker had six points and four assists in 14 minutes in his first appearance since tearing his right quadriceps tendon May 3 against Houston in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.
The injury required surgery and led some to speculate Parker could miss significant time, if he came back at all. Instead, the 35-year-old returned quicker than expected to what he calls the "game I love."
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Parker moved confidently, driving to the basket and making hard cuts to get away from defenders while primarily playing in the first half. He made his first two shots on hard drives to the basket.
On his first attempt, Parker made a quick stop under the basket and faked a layup, causing Maxi Kleber to fly past him before making an easy layup. Parker then sped past rookie Dennis Smith Jr. on the left side of the lane and threw in a floater with his right hand that elicited cheers and smiles from the Spurs bench, especially from longtime teammate Manu Ginobili.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich watched much of Parker's return on television after being ejected with 7:25 remaining in the first half. Popovich was assessed a technical foul for pointing to his eyes and screaming at official Josh Tiven after a video replay showed officials were incorrect on an out of bounds call. Popovich was ejected after storming the court and berating Tiven.
After falling behind by 13 points in the first half, the Spurs rallied behind their defense.
Danny Green leapt to steal an entry pass and fed Aldridge for an alley-oop dunk. Kyle Anderson stole the ensuing inbound pass, which led to a dunk by Pau Gasol off a feed from Parker that tied it at 58. After Harrison Barnes missed a layup, Green hit a 3-pointer to give the Spurs their first lead since late in the first quarter at 61-58.
Gasol added 25 points for the Spurs. Anderson, Green and Patty Mills each had 12 points.
Smith and Wesley Matthews each had 19 points to lead the Mavericks, who had won two straight.
Mavericks: Dallas has made at least 10 3-pointers in 16 of 21 games this season, including 14 of 32 against San Antonio. ... Dallas will complete its four-game series against San Antonio before Christmas, with the teams scheduled to play Nov. 27, Dec. 12 and Dec. 16. ... The Mavericks have won consecutive games only once this season.
Spurs: Parker made his 1,131st career start, the most among active point guards. Houston's Chris Paul is second with 839. ... Parker said he expects Kawhi Leonard to return in "two to three weeks" from a right quadriceps injury that has kept him out all season. ... Aldridge has 20 points and 10 rebounds in seven games this season, the most in the team's first 20 contests since Tim Duncan had eight in 2009. ... San Antonio is 10-0 when scoring at least 100 points.
Mavericks: Host Brooklyn on Wednesday night attempting to extend a four-game winning streak against the Nets.
Spurs: Host Memphis on Wednesday night in the Grizzlies' first game since firing coach David Fizdale.