It’s a glorious feeling. The NBA regular season is back! No more seemingly meaningless preseason matches, only full-fledged meaningful W’s & L’s.
The Dallas Mavericks and, the defending NBA Champion, San Antonio Spurs are set to tip-off the regular season schedule with a nationally televised game on TNT this Tuesday, Oct. 28th at 7PM CST.
For our Mavericks, it’s almost like they’re picking up where they left off last year. Only this time there are different pieces and they’re playing for different stakes. Although, I’d by lying if I didn’t say I hope the Mavs do to the Spurs what the Heat did to us that Christmas after the championship season, but I digress …
The Dallas Mavericks used the preseason to showcase the “Have It All’ offense and roll un-suspecting opponents into the meat-grinder that will eventually become one of the NBA’s most potent offensive starting line-ups. While meaningless, Dallas wrapped the preseason with a 4-4 record while averaging 104 points per game.
Conversely, the Spurs limped through the preseason. With 2 games against foreign, overseas opponents, San Antonio ended preseason play with a 2-5 record while averaging 86 points per game. In fact, the Spurs preseason was so glaringly unsuccessful it prompted coach Gregg Popovich to say, ““We look very poor. We look like we’re not very interested.” To his defense … it is only the preseason.
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Dallas spent Saturday putting the final touches on a roster re-build that gives them a completely new look from the ’13-’14 season. Preseason standout Charlie Villaneuva performed well enough for the Mavericks to exercise waivers on guaranteed contract Bernard James and secure one of the Mavs final roster spots. With the offseason additions, the Mavericks now have one of the most experienced rosters in the NBA – a roster that sports an average of 7.3 NBA seasons played per roster player (2nd behind, surprisingly, the Washington Wizards). With experience also comes age and the Mavericks are flooring the third oldest team in the league. Which leads to the league’s oldest roster …
The San Antonio Spurs roster remains virtually unchanged from last year’s championship roster. The San Antonio Summer was spent dealing contract to Spurs role players that need re-ups. Center Matt Bonner, point guard Patty Mills, and rookie Kyle Anderson were all beneficiaries of summertime Spur signings. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of basketball mileage on the legs of the San Antonio staff (players and coaches included), and the big question for last year’s champs is whether they can stay healthy and interested. The season tip against the Mavs should give a quick, early heat check on whether the team can withstand 82 A+ shots … the type of shots that teams want to deliver to defending champions.
Key Match-Ups WITH Preseason Grades
Tuesday night, two future NBA hall-of-famers will continue their I-35 battle of basketball supremacy. In fact, we should savor these moments. As Tim Duncan & Dirk Nowitzki inch ever closer to retirement, the chances us fans see these one-team superstars square off will dwindle. Lucky for us the two are in the same conference and we’re guaranteed 4 such square-offs this season. Keep an eye on these two legends Tuesday night as it’s sure to be another battle OF the ages.
Dallas Maverick Injuries
Raymond Felton, PG – High Ankle Sprain/Suspension – Felton will begin serving his NBA mandated, 4 game regular season suspension once deemed healthy and recovered from his preseason high ankle sprain.
San Antonio Spurs Injuries
Tiago Splitter, C – Strained Calf – As of Sunday, Splitter has yet to practice as the Spurs like to be cautious with player injuries throughout the season. Accordingly, the center is considered questionable to play in the season opener. If Splitter sits, Matt Bonner & Boris Diaw will pull extra minutes in the middle.
Kawhi Leonard, SF – Eye Infection – Leonard also had not practiced as of Sunday. According to reports from Spurs local media his participation in the season opener is also in doubt.
Patty Mills, PG – Shoulder – Mills is recovering from rotator-cuff surgery and isn’t slated to make his season debut until January. Expect to see Cory Joseph replace Mills time with the second unit.
Mavs take down the spurs 107-97 thanks to a big fourth quarter. Down 67-78, the Mavs would outscore the Spurs 40-19 in the final frame.
Nowitzki would struggle with his shot but would finish 26 points and 13 rebounds. Parsons, in his Mavs debut, would add 26 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. He’d knick down 6 of 8 threes. Ellis and Harris (off the bench) would chip in 16 points. Tyson would join Nowitzki in the double-double club; he tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Danny Green would lead the Spurs with 20 points. Duncan (16pts), Parker (15pts), Splitter (14pts, 12rebs) would have good games. NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, would finish with just 7 points and 3 rebounds.
The Dallas Mavericks will take on the Jazz Thursday, October 30th at America Airlines Center in Dallas with a 7:30 PM start time.