DALLAS — Patty Mills scored 26 points starting in place of Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs moved to the brink of the top seed in the Western Conference with a 109-100 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
Making his second start of the season and seventh of his career with Parker nursing a bad back, Mills had 11 points and two steals in the third quarter when the Spurs turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks for the ninth straight time in the regular season, a streak that has lasted more than two years.
Tim Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds after leaving briefly in the first quarter because of a hyperextended right knee. Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
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The Spurs are just a win or an Oklahoma City loss away from securing the top seed in the West.
The Mavericks (48-32) are in a three-team scrum with Phoenix and Memphis — their opponents in the final two games — for the final two playoff spots a year after missing the postseason for the first time since 2000.
• Kenneth Faried made a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining as the Denver Nuggets made host Golden State wait at least one more game to secure a playoff berth with a stunning 100-99 victory. Former Cougar Klay Thompson scored 21 points for the Warriors.
• The Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board reportedly has struck a deal to pay about $160 million to the Indiana Pacers to keep the NBA franchise in the city through the 2023-24 season.
• The Pelicans said All-Star forward Anthony Davis (back) will miss New Orleans’ final four games this season. The club also said guard Eric Gordon is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee next week.
• Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao will play an NBA game back home in Brazil for the first time when Cleveland takes on the Miami Heat in an exhibition in October.