The Dallas Mavericks take their recent momentum swing to San Antonio as Tony Parker makes his season debut for the Spurs.
After a sluggish start to the season, the Mavericks have played well as of late, winning three of their last four and you could make the argument that they should have beat the Celtics to make that four straight wins. Tonight, the Mavs take their momentum just south to face off with the Spurs.
Dallas brings their two-game winning streak to San Antonio, who is getting one of the faces of the franchise back tonight. No, not Kawhi Leonard, but Tony Parker! The 16-year veteran is returning from a torn quad that he suffered late last season. Though Tony and Kawhi have yet to play this season, the Spurs just keep on trucking along, as they currently sit with the third best record in the West.
For the Mavs, they’re looking to keep up their recent hot streak. Over the last four games, the Mavs have allowed only 91 points per game, while winning three of those four games. Dirk has also found a recent rhythm, as he’s shooting 56% over the last three games, including a season-high 19 points on Saturday against the Thunder.
The big matchup for the Mavs tonight will be how to stop LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s looking like the Portland version of himself with Leonard out of the lineup. Aldridge scored 32 points in a Spurs victory when the two teams met just under two weeks ago. I’d expect to see more Mejri tonight to defend the former Texas Longhorn.
It will be interesting to see what changes Popovich makes defensively on Dennis Smith Jr, who scored his early career-high of 27 points against the Spurs on November 14th. With Parker back in the lineup with a probable minutes restriction, look for DSJ to be matched up with a trio between Patty Mills, Dejounte Murray, and Danny Green for most of the game. Though for us Mavs fans, we hope to see plenty of switches with Pau Gasol guarding the Mavs rookie.
The Mavs will also need more out of Harrison Barnes tonight, who shot just 5-16 in the first Spurs matchup. Attacking the Spurs big men in efforts to create foul trouble will be huge for Barnes and DSJ.
Tip-off is at 7:30pm central time in San Antonio. Go Mavs!