SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 34 points and 16 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-94 on Wednesday night in Dirk Nowitzki’s final game.
Nowitzki finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the finale of his storied 21-season career — all with the Mavericks. Nowitzki announced he was retiring Tuesday night following Dallas’ final home game of the season.
The Spurs couldn’t afford any sentimentality with playoff positioning at stake Wednesday, and they didn’t show any. San Antonio raced to a double-figure lead and led by as many as 22 points.
The Spurs finished seventh in the Western Conference as a result of Oklahoma City’s 127-116 victory over Milwaukee. They will face the No. 2 seed, either Denver or Houston, in the opening round of the playoffs.
Wednesday’s sell-out crowd cheered wildly each time Nowitzki entered the game or touched the ball and let out a collective groan when he missed a shot. He was serenaded with chants of “MVP” throughout the game by the crowd filled with patrons wearing his No. 41 jersey.
It was only fitting that Nowitzki’s final game came against the Spurs, whom he has had many memorable battles against during the regular season and postseason. Perhaps the most memorable was the 2006 Western Conference finals against San Antonio. After the Spurs battled back from a 3-1 series deficit and a 20-point lead in Game 7, Manu Ginobili fouled Nowitzki on a layup with 21.6 seconds remaining. Nowitzki made the free throw to forge a tie and the Mavs went on to win in overtime on the way to the franchise’s first NBA Finals appearance.
DeMar Derozan finished with 19 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Spurs, who finished with a 49-34 record.
Justin Jackson and Courtney Lee added 14 points each for Dallas, which was without Rookie of the Year candidate Luka Doncic.
Mavericks: Nowitzki averaged 15.3 minutes and started 20 games this season, the lowest numbers of his career. He started 24 games as a rookie while playing 20.4 minutes. … Nowitzki has played 38 games in San Antonio, tied for the third-highest total of any player. Utah legends Karl Malone and John Stockton each played 46 games in San Antonio. Denver’s Alex English played 39, and Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon played 38. … Doncic missed three of Dallas’ final four games due to a thigh injury. He missed back-to-back games against Memphis with a bruised right thigh, played 32 minutes against Phoenix, and missed the team’s finale with a bruised left thigh.
Spurs: Bryn Forbes finished with 10 points in 26 minutes. . San Antonio only had four players in double figures.