Mark Cuban had to like what he saw this time.
Josh Howard scored 29 points, including a key layup in the final minute, Jason Kidd hit a clutch 3-pointer with 31 seconds left and the Dallas Mavericks -- perhaps inspired by a tongue-lashing from their owner -- beat the San Antonio Spurs 107-102 Wednesday night.
The Mavericks were thumped Monday night in Oklahoma City by a Thunder team missing its two leading scorers. On Tuesday, Cuban questioned his team's effort and commitment, threatening to get rid of anyone he didn't think was trying.
"I don't care what their contract is," he said. "I would rather turn over the roster 100 percent than subject fans to another game like last night."
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Dallas took control of a tight game by holding the Spurs to only two baskets over the final seven minutes of the third quarter, turning a four-point deficit into a seven-point lead. The lead grew to 10 late in the fourth quarter, until Tony Parker led a 10-2 surge that got San Antonio within 100-98.
Howard followed by cutting through the lane, taking a pass from Dirk Nowitzki and scoring his only points of the final period. After Parker scored again, Kidd drilled an open 3-pointer from the corner. He had 15 of his 17 points in the second half; he also had nine assists and seven rebounds.
Parker missed a 3-pointer after that and Jason Terry got the rebound. He dribbled to nearly halfcourt before getting fouled, then made a pair of free throws with 10.8 seconds left to seal the victory. He finished with 17 points and six assists.
Nowitzki had 24 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Erick Dampier had nine points and four blocks, and also pestered Tim Duncan into a 7-for-21 night.
Parker scored 37 points and Roger Mason had 23. Duncan had 19 points and 12 rebounds, but didn't score in the second quarter and had only eight points in the second half as the Spurs lost for the third time in four games.
San Antonio drubbed the Mavs last week without Duncan or Manu Ginobili, who is still out with an ankle injury, and went up 72-68 when Parker hit a 3-pointer with 7:09 left in the third quarter. Dallas called a time out, then responded with an 11-0 run that put it ahead for good.
The Mavericks seemed to have broken the Spurs midway through the fourth, when Dampier blocked Duncan and followed with a dunk on the other end, then San Antonio's Bruce Bowen missed two 3-point tries on one possession and Nowitzki answered by nailing a 3. He then ran back yanking his jersey, sticking out his tongue and holding up three fingers, making the crowd go wild while San Antonio called a time out.
The Spurs still had a push left in them, but it wasn't enough.
"Whether Mark had made comments or not, our players have pride," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said before the game.
Notes:@ In honor of Noche Latina (Latin Night), both teams wore special jerseys. They read, "Los Spurs" and "Los Mavs." ... The undercard of this game was Tim Duncan vs. Joey Crawford. Two years ago, Duncan was laughing on the bench when Crawford tossed him, then Duncan later accused Crawford of challenging him to a fight. Crawford was suspended for five months. In the opening minutes, Duncan was called for a foul, started to complain, realized Crawford made the call, then shook his head and put his arms straight up. ... Both teams made more than 50 percent of their shots in the first half. San Antonio hit 54.1 percent, Dallas was at 51.1