Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs Preview
By Rami Michail
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
January 8th, 2014 @ 6pm CT ESPN
After snapping their 2 game losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks (20-15) travel to face the San Antonio Spurs (27-8).
The Mavericks were also able to snap their 4 game home losing streak with a 110-97 win over the Lakers. Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 27 points (12-20 fg), 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Monta Ellis scored 10 straight Mavericks’ points in the 4th to give him a total of 16 to go with his 9 assists and 5 steals. Jose Calderon added 12 points, 8 assists, and 5 steals. 6th man Vince Carter finished with 19 points. DeJuan Blair added 15 points and 9 rebounds as he got the start at center.
The last time these two teams met Dallas fell 116-107 on their home court. Danny Green lit up the Mavericks for 22 points on 7-7 shooting (5-5 from 3). Tony Parker, as he usually does lit the Mavericks up for 23 points and Tim Duncan added 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, and Vince Carter combined for 68 points. DeJuan Blair got the start against his former team and tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds. Shawn Marion, who will not play (shoulder contusion), had one of his worst performances of the season as he was asked to chase around the speedy and quick Parker. Marion finished with just 4 points on 1-9 shooting.
The Mavericks are coming in with a 4 game road winning streak (8-9).
We all know who the Spurs are. They’re a team that can score (104.5 ppg), defend (96.9 ppg) , and that just know’s how to win (13-5 at home). They have one of the best bigs in Duncan, a point guard who can take over games in Parker, and great role players and shooters in Kawhi Leonard, Green, Marco Belinelli and Manu Ginobili.
The Spurs, like the Mavs will be playing the back-end of a back-to-back. The Spurs squeaked out a 110-108 over time win over the Memphis Grizzlies on a game winning Ginobili layup with just under 2 seconds remaining.
Surprisingly the aged Spurs are 7-2 on the second game of back-to-backs. They average 108.2 points (most for days between games) and allow 97.1 points.
Duncan, who is averaging 14.2 pts, 9.5 rebs, and 1.9 blks on the season, has played in 6 of the 9 back-end of the back to backs. In the 6 games he’s played he’s put up 18.3 pts (57.9%), 10 rebs, and 1.9 blks in just 27 minutes.
Parker is putting up 17.7 pts and 6.2 assists a game, has played in 7 of the games and has averaged 16.6 pts and 6.6 assists.
Of the aged “Big-3” Ginobili has struggled the most in the 2nd game of back to backs. He’s put up just 7.9 pts (8 games) compared to his season averages of 12.6 pts per game.
Greg Popovich has never been hesitated to rest his stars, even if it is Nationally Televised, so we will have to see if he chooses to do so against the Mavericks.
The Spurs are 13-5 at home.
Who will guard Tony Parker!? With Shawn Marion out, the Mavericks will have to figure out any possibility to just try to contain him. Jay Crowder or Wayne Ellington will get the start for Marion and are the most likely to get first crack at Parker. The Mavs have always had problems with Parker, who holds career averages of 17.6 pts and 4.8 assists. Parker’s penetration will be a point of emphasis as much of the Spurs’ offense relies on his ability to break down the defense and create for the shooters.
Just as it is important to cut off the penetration of Parker, it’s just as important to find and close out on shooters. Green (39.4), Belinelli (50%), Matt Bonner (45.5%), and Patty Mills (40.7%) all have the ability to knock down the 3-pt shot.
Duncan had a great game in the first meeting. Wether it be Blair or Samuel Dalembert, or Brandan Wright, The Mavericks’ bigs must be able to somewhat guard Duncan one on one.
The Spurs rank 2nd to last in the NBA in free throws shot per game at just 18.6, yet went 35-42 in the first meeting wight the Mavs.
The Mavs went 24-31 from the line, but average just 20 per game, which is the third fewest in the league.
Brandan Wright Did not play in the first meeting due to the flue.
Taigo Splitter will be out due to a sprained right shoulder (out 3-5 weeks)
Dal: Devin Harris (Out-Toe), Shawn Marion (Out-Shoulder)
SAS: Splitter (Out-Shoulder)
With the Mavericks recent struggles the win against the Lakers was a good vibes, but a win against the Spurs would go a long way in the season.
The Mavericks have shown the ability to compete in stretches, now it’s time to show they can for all 48 minutes and come out with a win.
If Popovich decides to rest some of his stars, the Mavericks must come ready to play, because no matter who the Spurs throw out on, the court they’ll be ready to play.