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Mavericks Defeat Spurs

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Although much of the external focus on the Dallas Mavericks' regular-season opener was on the expected debut of the NBA of Victor Wembanyama, the result was a 126-119 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Wembanyama Debuts with Victory

After using rookie Dereck Lively II as the starting center in the Mavs' four preseason games, they opted to start Maxi Kleber as the starting five.

Last season, Dallas most often used Dwight Powell in that role, but anticipation had been building around Lively potentially assuming that role.

Despite the Mavericks' goal of being a much better team on defense this season, their personnel choices in the first quarter did not pay off, allowing the Spurs to score 43 points.

San Antonio converted effectively from three-point range and found success using large personnel with Jeremy Sochan at point guard and Wembanyama at the four position to alternate and protect the painted area.

With Doncic on the court early in the second quarter, Dallas began to rally after allowing an explosive opening period on offense by the Spurs. Dallas tied the game 52-52 midway through the second period.

However, after two three-pointers scored by Devin Vassell, the Spurs took a maximum lead of 12 points at the end of the second quarter.

Dallas responded before halftime, with Grant Williams scoring six of the team's next eight points. San Antonio led 68-64 at halftime.

After the break, the Mavericks started with Lively on the court, and he provided a needed boost as a finisher in the paint.

He concluded with a spectacular dunk after a pass from Irving to give Dallas a 75-74 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Mavs Did Not Slow Down

As the two teams traded baskets, the Mavs led 96-91 entering the final period.

Doncic was aggressive in scoring to set the tone for the Mavs early in the final period, scoring in the paint with a drive and converting a jumper from mid-range.

The Slovenian superstar got Wembanyama to commit his fifth foul in the process, but despite that, the Spurs remained in front 101-100 with 8:16 minutes to play.

Irving attacked the paint to execute a three-point play, giving the Mavs a two-point lead, then Williams hit a three-pointer to push the Mavericks' lead to 108-103 over the Spurs with seven minutes left in regulation time.

Wembanyama started some electrifying plays that showed how tempting it can be to take on a 7-foot-4 threat, between finishing an alley-oop despite contact and playing from a post stamp in transition.

Williams once again helped Dallas regain momentum with a three-pointer from the corner with four minutes to play in regulation time, putting the Mavs up 115-113.

After a missed three-pointer by Kleber, the Spurs scored three unanswered points to take a slight lead before Doncic used a three-point play after a slow pass for a three-point basket.

After scoring the free throw, the Mavericks took a 118-117 lead with 2:28 minutes to play.

Doncic continued to make big plays, connecting with Irving for a three-pointer from the corner, then threw a pass in transition for a finish.

The decisive shot came from Doncic on a three-pointer after a step-back with 28.9 seconds left in the game, creating a 126-119 lead for Dallas.

The Mavs return home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Friday at the American Airlines Center.

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