Answering the call of their coach’s public challenge, the Dallas Mavericks thumped the previously surging San Antonio Spurs at American Airlines Center.
Mavericks 101, Spurs 94
The Mavs (45-27) snapped a two-game skid and ended the Spurs’ three-game winning streak. San Antonio (44-26) lost for just the third time in its last 13 games.
Dallas’ demoralizing defeat on Sunday at Phoenix irked Dallas coach Rick Carlisle to the point that he criticized his team for an inability to compete at a high level at all times and urged reporters to ask the players about the “soul” of the team.
The player who has taken the brunt of the criticism during Dallas’ now 9-8 stretch since the All-Star break has been slumping shooting guard Monta Ellis. He broke out of his funk in a big way on Tuesday, scoring 13 of his game-high 38 points in a momentum-swinging third quarter.
Bucks 89, Heat 88
Khris Middleton’s three-pointer at the buzzer capped off a furious comeback for Milwaukee, who stopped a six-game losing streak with a victory over Miami.
The Bucks struggled for much of the night but came to life in the fourth quarter. Milwaukee (35-36) erased the last portion of a 14-point deficit when center Zaza Pachuila’s layup made it an 85-85 game with 1:09 to play.
Thunder 127, Lakers 117
Center Enes Kanter scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead Oklahoma City to a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was the sixth straight double-double for Kanter.
The win was the fourth in a row and sixth in the last seven games for the Thunder (41-30). They now lead the Phoenix Suns by three games and the New Orleans Pelicans by 3 1/2 for eighth place in the Western Conference standings.
Pistons 108, Raptors 104
Reggie Jackson piled up 28 points, nine assists and five rebounds as Detroit won its third consecutive game by edging Toronto at The Palace.
Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 26 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Pistons (27-44), while center Andre Drummond put in 21 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.
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