Dec 30, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs power forward Tiago Splitter (22) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Spurs defeated the Mavericks 111-86. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Preview

 

The bad news is the Spurs are well…the Spurs and they have dominated the Mavericks this season.  The good news is the Mavericks appear to be a different team now than they were at the last meeting.

In addition, Tim Duncan will be out nursing a sore knee and Coach Greg Popovich is ill.  Kawhi Leonard is also a possible scratch and that could be a big plus as he ripped the Mavericks in their last meeting

While the Mavericks have won 5 of their last 6, San Antonio extended their league-leading 6-game winning streak to six games without Duncan and Pops.

Make no mistake, the Spurs are deep and talented and well coached, so they will still be dangerous.  They are 3rd in the league in scoring and 9th in fewest points allowed so they play both ends of the floor and distribute the ball well as the NBA’s assist leader.

The Mavericks will have to work hard on interior defense, which might be a little easier sans Duncan.   Aggressive defense and attention to the passing lanes to force turnovers could be key and as usual, it will be essential that the Mavs continue to play fundamentally sound ball:  take good shots, crash the boards and avoid turnovers.

The Mavericks have also been effective when they are aggressive offensively and work inside instead of settling for jump shots.  Trips to the free throw line in bulk have been valuable when shooting percentages are not where they should be.

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