Mills stars in Parker's place as Spurs win
DALLAS — Patty Mills is a shooter no matter when he goes into the game.
The San Antonio guard showed it in yet another win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Mills scored 26 points starting in place of Tony Parker and the Spurs moved to the brink of the top seed in the Western Conference while likely forcing the Mavericks into a must-win situation with their playoff hopes by beating Dallas 109-100 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 a pair of steals in the third quarter when the Spurs turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead.
"Whether I start or come off the bench, there's a mentality," said Mills, who fell six points short of his season high on 25 shots — one shy of the most he's taken this season. "Shooting shots is the same."
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, a career-high 16 rebounds and five assists.
Monta Ellis led Dallas with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 19.
Even with Parker back in San Antonio, the Texas rivals looked like the old playoff foes they are in an entertaining game with both teams trying to lock up their postseason plans.
The Spurs are in, and the defending conference champions 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 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.
Dallas is in a virtual tie with the Suns (47-31) and a game ahead of the Grizzlies (46-32).
Nuggets 100, Warriors 99
At Oakland, Calif., Kenneth Faried made a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining, and the Denver Nuggets made Golden State wait at least one more game to secure a playoff berth with a stunning win over the Warriors.
Stephen Curry's floater over Faried put the Warriors up 99-98 with 4.7 seconds to play, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to their feet. Faried quieted fans moments later, backing down Green for the winning shot.