By Adam Crouch | 105.3 The Fan,

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle knew exactly what his team needed to do to limit San Antonio’s high-powered offense on Thursday night. They just couldn’t do it.

“I think it starts with transition,” said Carlisle prior to the game. “The threes are a big part of the game too. Somehow you’ve got to keep their three-number reasonable — which is hard to do.”

On Thursday night, it was impossible.

Dallas was unable to limit San Antonio’s perimeter game to anything remotely reasonable, as the Spurs converted 16 of 34 three-point attempts in beating the Mavs 109-100 at the American Airlines Center.

And the transition defense? Non existent, as Patty Mills and the Spurs sprinted their away to 35 fast break points.

“Most of our problems were in transition,” said Carlisle after the game. “We just didn’t find them quick enough. We just weren’t good in that area. It was easily identifiable as one of the big keys for the game. We just came up short there.”

The Spurs jumped out to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter behind a trio of three-pointers from Danny Green, who finished with 15 points — all from behind the arc. That was a preview of things to come.

Filling in for an injured Tony Parker, fifth-year guard Patty Mills, who is averaging just 10 points per game on the season, poured in six three-pointers en route to scoring a game-high 26 points.

“Well he can score,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s not afraid to shoot it, that’s for sure.”

Dallas finished the game a respectable 47 percent from the floor, and nearly 42 percent from behind the arc (5-for-12).

Monta Ellis finished with a team-high 24 points, though he needed 22 shot attempts to reach the mark.

Dirk Nowitzki added 19, including 12 in the second quarter. But it didn’t matter, as the Mavs were unable to consistently limit the Spurs’ offense.

When San Antonio did miss, the team cleaned up on the boards, collecting 15 offensive rebounds, accounting for 18 second-chance points.

“You bust your butt to get a stop. You do everything right to stop them, and you’re not able to get the rebound…it kills us,” said forward Shawn Marion.

That, combined with what Devin Harris called a number of defensive “breakdowns”, helped the Spurs pull out their ninth straight win over Dallas.

“They are a special team. It’s a hard matchup for us. For some reason, we just have a hard time with the Spurs,” said Marion, reflecting on the loss. “It’s like we can be there, and all of a sudden we’re not there.”

With the loss, Dallas falls to 8th in the Western Conference, percentage points behind Phoenix and a game clear of Memphis.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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