SAN ANTONIO — Manu Ginobili helped the San Antonio Spurs secure their fifth NBA championship in June despite playing with a stress fracture in his right leg during the Finals.
The Spurs’ guard rested during the summer, rather than compete with the Argentine national team. He returned to basketball covered in rust, hitting just 2 of 23 shots during preseason games.
But when the games began to matter Tuesday night, Ginobili returned to form. He scored 20 points — 14 in the second half — in the season opener as the Spurs defeated Dallas 101-100 for their 10th straight regular-season victory over the Mavericks.
Guard Tony Parker led the Spurs with 23. Parker hit a 3-point shot — his fourth of the game — to give the Spurs their margin of victory with 1:07 remaining.
Dallas forward Chandler Parsons missed a long 3-pointer with one second left.
Guard Monta Ellis led Dallas with 26 points. Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 18, one more than guard Devin Harris.
San Antonio unveiled its 2014 championship banner in a pre-game ceremony that started with a film clip narrated by the ubiquitous actor Samuel L. Jackson. Al 14 men from the Spurs playoff roster returned this season, each receiving a championship ring from the team’s owner, Peter Holt.
But three of the 14 Spurs were missing due to injury or illness — center Tiago Splitter, forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Patty Mills.
They were missed during much of the game. San Antonio trailed by 10 in the third quarter but forged past Dallas with 15-2 push. Parker scored 10 points in the quarter. Ginobli scored nine, his step-back jump shot giving the Spurs a 76-73 as the period ended.
Dallas has eight new players this season, including three starters. Ellis, one of the returning players for Dallas, scored 10 points in the second quarter as the Mavs took a 53-45 halftime lead. He finished the half with 14.
His backcourt sidekick, newcomer Jameer Nelson, scored nine in the half, converting all three of his 3-point attempts.
At the other end of the court, the Mavs new center, Tyson Chandler, anchored a defense that induced nine turnovers by the Spurs in the first half. Chandler served in that role when Dallas won the 2011 NBA title. He returned after three season in New York.
NOTES: The San Antonio Spurs received their 2014 NBA championship rings in a pre-game ceremony presided over by league commissioner Adam Silver. The Spurs have all 14 players back from their playoff roster with one addition: first-round draft pick F Kyle Anderson. … The Spurs were missing, however, three key players on Tuesday. F Kawhi Leonard (eye infection) and C Tiago Splitter (calf and back) are starters and G Patty Mills (shoulder surgery) is a top reserve. Mills is not expected back until at least mid-January. … The Spurs have until Friday to sign Leonard, the 2014 Finals MVP, to a contract extension or he becomes a restricted free agent next summer. … The Dallas Mavericks have eight new players, including three starters: C Tyson Chandler, F Chandler Parsons and G Jameer Nelson. … First-year Dallas G Raymond Felton will serve a four-game suspension after pleading guilty to a gun charge in New York. But the suspension can’t start until he recovers from a sprained ankle.