Basketball: San Antonio Spurs kick off title defence by edging out Mavericks

San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) is fouled while shooting by Dallas Mavericks power forward Greg Smith (4) during the first half at AT&T Centre. -- PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS
San Antonio Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (21) is fouled while shooting by Dallas Mavericks power forward Greg Smith (4) during the first half at AT&T Centre. -- PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The San Antonio Spurs raised their championship banner then elevated their game when it mattered to edge out the Dallas Mavericks 101-100 in a National Basketball Association season-opening win on Tuesday.

Tony Parker swished a three-pointer to give the Spurs a one-point lead with about a minute to go and the reigning champions celebrated last season's success with a triumph in front of their home crowd.

Dallas had a chance to crash the San Antonio party but Chandler Parsons missed a three-pointer in the last seconds and their final full-court heave misfired.

Parker led the way with 23 points, Manu Ginobili added 20 off the bench and Tim Duncan tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds as the team's familiar faces helped erase an eight-point half-time deficit.

"We moved the ball much better in the second half," Ginobili said. "It was a close game, anything could've happened."

Monta Ellis had a game-high 26 points for the Mavericks, who pushed San Antonio to seven games during the first round of last season's play-offs.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 18.

The Spurs outscored the Mavs 31-20 in the third quarter and pushed their advantage to 10 in the fourth before being tested down the stretch.

San Antonio won despite playing without NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is out with an eye infection.