The Dallas Mavericks (16-12) host division and state rival San Antonio Spurs (22-7) for the first time this season at 7:30 CT.
Dirk Nowitzki (31 points) was able to lead the Mavericks past the Houston Rockets Monday to snap a two game losing streak. During December (9 games) Nowitzki has put up All-star numbers as he’s averaging 23.2 point, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 blocks a game.
The Spurs are coming off a Christmas day loss after facing the Rockets (111-98). Tony Parker struggled and tallied only 6 points and 4. assists. Tim Duncan recorded his 9th double-double of the season with 11 points and 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili added 22 points off of the bench.
The Spurs average 103.1 points a game and allow a Western Conference low 96 points.
Year after year many expect the Spurs to be “too old” to compete and year after year they prove many of the doubters wrong. They currently stand in third place in the Western Conference and fourth overall in the league.
The Spurs are 12-3 on the roadand 12-6 verse the Western Conference (4-2 vs Division).
Though aging the 37-year-old Duncan still has plenty left in the tank. He’s respectable putting up 13.8 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a game. He has had 7 double-double in his last 8 games (15.8 pts & 12.8 reb)
Parker once again is putting up amazing numbers, as he’s averaging 17.6 points and 6 assists per game while shooting 51.5% from the field.
The Spurs also have 9 players averaging at least 7.6 points per game.
The Spurs are 6-2 on the second end of back-tobacks.
The Spurs swept the Mavericks last season in large part to the play of Parker.in three games, Parker averaged 20.7 points and 8.3 assists verse the Mavericks last season while shooting 57% from the field. The Mavericks must find a way to limit Parker from getting to the basket. Much of the Spurs offense relies on Parker creating for the likes of Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, and so on.
Just as important it is to stop Parker from getting to the basket, it will be just as important for the Mavericks defense to be able to recover and close out on shooters. The Spurs as a team are shooting 40.2% from 3-point range (3rd overall in NBA).
Though the Spurs allow only 96 points a game, they have some the ability to give up big scoring nights. In 5 of their 6 losses they have allowed over 110 points. The Mavericks, who are not known for their defense must make sure that their offense shows up. The Mavericks can’t afford to struggle on offense or the Spurs may be able to put the game away early.
The Spurs shot 49.4% (42/85) from 3-pt range last season verse the Mavericks.
DeJuan Blair spent the first four season of his career with the Spurs, averaging just under 8 points and 6 rebounds per game. He is averaging 8.3 points and 7 rebounds for the this season.
With Samuel Dalembert getting the start against Dwight Howard, it is to be seen if his play verse Houston will keep him in the starting lineup. Blair received his first DNP-CD as Brandan Wright received all the backup minutes at center.
On Dec 23rd 2012 of last season, Nowitzki made his anticipated return from knee surgery verse the Spurs. Nowitzki scored 8 points on 3-4 shooting in 20 minutes of action.
This will be the first time Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon face the Spurs as Mavericks. Ellis has averaged 19.4 points in 22 games verse the Spurs. Calderon in 15 career games has averaged 11 points and 6.6 assists.
Though The Mavericks are just 5-9 on the road, they have held court at home as they are 11-3 at home. They are also 9-9 verse the Western Conference but are 5-1 for Division foes.
- Mavericks-Devin Harris (out-toe), Brandan Wright (TBD-Illness), Samuel Dalembert (TBD-Illness)
The Mavericks have gotten wins over the Rockets (twice), Warriors, and Blazers, but a win over the Spurs would mark the biggest win of this early season.