DeRozan vital for Spurs heading into Mavericks game
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DeMar DeRozan has only played five regular-season games for San Antonio but he's already left an indelible mark on the Spurs' franchise and quickly become one of the team's go-to players.
DeRozan and the Spurs have won three of their five games together and look to improve on that early trend when they host the new-look Dallas Mavericks on Monday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.
DeRozan has racked up 136 points in his first quintet of games with the Spurs, surpassing the franchise record of 115 points set by Hall of Famer David Robinson in his rookie season.
DeRozan, who was acquired by the Spurs from Toronto in the Kawhi Leonard trade, had 30 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists on Saturday in San Antonio's 110-106 home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, marking the second time in six days he's recorded a double-double while scoring 30 or more points.
The Spurs roared back to beat Los Angeles for the second time this season after ceding the Lakers an early advantage and by clamping down on their defense after halftime. San Antonio did not have a lead in Saturday's game until the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter; the Spurs held Los Angeles to 18 points in the final period and just 46 in the second half.
"That sort of thing is what we're used to - that's really the first time this year that we've done that," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "If that can become a habit you have a good opportunity to win a lot of games. We're not there yet - we're not going to be consistent at that right now."
Eight of DeRozan's points came in the pivotal fourth quarter. He repeatedly drove to the basket and was rewarded for his aggressiveness.
"Whenever we're down, it's kind of natural to me to just try to be more aggressive," DeRozan said. "Go out there, whether it's to score or try to find guys and just try to get us going."
Rudy Gay added 16 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points for the Spurs in the win.
The victory allowed Popovich to join Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens, Jerry Sloan and Pat Riley as the only coaches in NBA history with 1,200 career wins. Popovich is the first to reach that milestone with one team.
Dallas heads to the Alamo City after a 113-104 loss at home to Denver on Sunday. The Mavericks, who were outshot 53 percent-42 percent in the defeat, were led by 27 points from Dennis Smith, Jr.
Wesley Matthews added 22 points for Dallas (2-3), with DeAndre Jordan scoring 11 points and ripping down 19 rebounds, 14 of those on the defensive end.
Harrison Barnes, the Mavericks' top scorer the past two seasons, is finding his groove after missing the first four games of the year with a hamstring injury.
Barnes will have to cede some of the scoring load to newcomers Jordan and Luka Doncic but will keep his aggressiveness as he shoots his way back into form.
"My job is to go out there and be aggressive offensively and defensively," Barnes said. "I pretty much am used to adapting, so I don't see my role changing too much. The rhythm will come."
The Spurs went 3-1 against Dallas last season and own a 108-68 edge all-time against the Mavericks, including a 61-27 advantage in games played in San Antonio.
The Spurs franchise was originally located in Dallas as the Chaparrals of the American Basketball Association. The team moved to the Alamo City in 1973 after being sold to a group of local investors.
Updated October 29, 2018