Looking to continue the streak after notching their third win of the season, the Dallas Mavericks play the San Antonio Spurs in the American Airlines Center.
After a rocky 3-13 start, the Dallas Mavericks are trying to get back on track. Sunday night the Mavs pulled off a hard fought win against Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. Dallas looked good in the victory, playing about as good defense as possible on Davis and knocking down shots when they needed to in clutch time.
However, next they have a much tougher opponent. The 14-4 San Antonio Spurs come into town currently sitting at second in the Western Conference. With Dirk Nowitzki sitting out, the Mavs will need to play a near perfect game against their Texas rivals. Here are three keys to beating the Spurs.
Don’t Let Kawhi Leonard Get Hot
As Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and Lamarcus Aldridge age another year, Kawhi Leonard takes up a larger role in the Spurs offense. So far this season San Antonio’s offense has generally gone as far as Leonard will take them, and he has done a solid job. The Claw is averaging 24.8 points on 46% shooting and has been the heart and soul of this team.
The Mavericks need to have a game plan for slowing him down. In all likelihood Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews will spend most of the evening guarding Leonard, however young defensive studs Justin Anderson and Dorian Finney-Smith will need to take up the mantle for periods of time.
Don’t Be Outplayed by the Spurs Bench
In the Mavs last outing versus the Spurs, Popovich choose to sit Aldridge and Parker. In doing so, he relied heavily on his bench unit. They did not disappoint.
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San Antonio’s bench poured in 42 points including big games from Patty Mills and former Maverick David Lee. The Mavs bench had only 14 points. For Dallas to come out victorious, the pressure can’t be on the starters to score 80% or 90% of the teams points.
Justin Anderson had a very good game against New Orleans, receiving some very high praise from Coach Carlisle afterwards. Look for the likes of Anderson, Seth Curry, and Dwight Powell to be called upon to supply solid minutes and production from the bench.
Take Advantage of The Tired Legs of the Spurs
San Antonio is coming into the second night of a back to back after losing to the Orlando Magic 95-83. Dallas has had two days to rest for the game on Monday and Tuesday, and should be ready to play hard all 48 minutes.
Without Dirk in the lineup, the Mavs should be able to run the floor exceptionally well in their small ball group. The Spurs have Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge who will be tired after playing 20 and 30 minutes last night. Look for Rick Carlisle to take advantage and push the pace. Hopefully Dallas can use their youthful and rested players to get out in transition and get some easy buckets.
Tipoff is at 7:30 CT, follow us @thesmokingcuban on twitter for more info and live tweeting every Mavs game.