NBA: Mavericks beat mistake-prone Spurs to level series

SAN ANTONIO (AFP) - Monta Ellis tallied 21 points and Shawn Marion scored 20, as the Dallas Mavericks routed the error-prone San Antonio Spurs 113-92 to level their opening round National Basketball Association play-off series at 1-1 on Wednesday.

Dallas took advantage of some sloppy play by the Spurs and could easily be ahead two games to none in the Western Conference series. They led by double digits in the fourth quarter of the first game but ended up losing 90-85.

San Antonio turned the ball over 24 times on Wednesday, leading to 33 Dallas points.

"That's the been the weak link for us throughout the year and it showed up tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It's a bad combination when you play bad defence at one end and give up the ball at the other end."

In the other West contest on Wednesday, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 40-plus points for the second game in a row, as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the host Houston Rockets 112-105 to seize a commanding 2-0 series lead.

Dallas snapped a 10-game losing streak against the Spurs and posted their first post-season victory since June 12, 2011 when they beat Miami to win the NBA championship.

Dirk Nowitzki finished with 16 points while teammate Devin Harris scored 18. Jose Calderon scored all 12 of his points in the third quarter.

"I like our intensity right now," Nowitzki said. "We can't take the foot off the gas." Manu Ginobili finished with 27 points off the bench for San Antonio, while Tony Parker had 12 points and Tim Duncan 11 points and seven boards.

"Such a poor performance in the playoffs really bugs me," Ginobili said.

Dallas will host game three of the best-of-seven series on Saturday.

"They are such a dangerous team and have such great players," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of the Spurs. "We are mixing things up a lot and doing things we frankly don't want to do.

"It's a monumental task, but we're in this thing to win. We can't let up. Going back home, this is where he have to avoid any let-up."

Aldridge scored a Portland play-off record 46 points in Sunday's overtime win, then scored 43 on 18-of-28 shooting on Wednesday at the Toyota Center arena.

"These two games are as well as I've seen him play. He's very determined and focused," Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said of Aldridge.

Damian Lillard tallied 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Blazers, whose bench outscored Houston's reserves 30-13.

Dwight Howard led Houston with 32 points and 14 rebounds but was limited to seven points after half-time. James Harden netted 18 points, but needed 19 shots to get there. Through the first two games, Harden has shot just 29.8 per cent from the field.

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