Game Preview #34: Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs

Ever heard the saying: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? Well, these two teams just loooove to flatter each other. Remember the good ol' days, when the Spurs won games by having an impenetrable defense, and the Mavs won them with an overwhelming offensive attack? To casual fans, those old stereotypes still hold true, but that just hasn't been the case this year. The Mavs currently rank 7th in the league in defensive efficiency, while the Spurs are 9th. Meanwhile, the Spurs are ripping their opponents to shreds with the 4th best offense in the league, and Dallas has fallen to 14th on that side of the floor. What a bizarro season this has been so far.

With those stats in mind, I want to just remind you of something: they're absolutely meaningless to this game.

Spurs-Mavs games are always a dogfight, and the rivalry has only become more intense after last year's Manu-less playoff matchup, and the offseason moves both teams made. It doesn't matter who the better team is on paper(hint: Spurs), this is going to be a close one. Here's to a great game tonight.

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Dallas Mavericks @ San Antonio Spurs
Where: AT&T Center - San Antonio, TX
When: January 8, 2010; 7:30 PM Spurs time
Watch: KENS 5(San Antonio); KTXA(Dallas)


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How They Stack Up
14-5 Home 12-5
6-7 Road 12-6
102.1
Offense 100.7
95.5 Defense 97.2
48.7 FG% 45.8
39.4
3-pt% 35.2
74.5
FT% 80.1
42.1
Rebounds 43.5
14.4
TOs 13.3
8-2 Last 10 6-4
Won 1
Streak Won 1
2nd, Southwest Position 1st, Southwest

Country/Time Zone Game Time
Argentina 10:30 PM
West Coast
5:30 PM
Philippines 9:30 AM
Central Europe 2:30 AM
Palestine/Egypt 3:30 AM
East Coast 8:30 PM
Mountains
6:30 PM
Perth, AUS 9:30 AM
Tokyo, JP 10:30 AM
Sydney, AUS 11:30 AM

Spurs
(21-12)
Matchups

Mavericks
(24-11)

Tony Parker
Wind

Point Guard

Tony finally seems to be regaining last year's form, which has made our offensive even more explosive than it was the first 2 months of the season. The Spurs can't afford for him to take the night off on defense, though - Kidd hasn't really lost anything since last season, and we all remember what happened then.

Advantage: Spurs


Jason Kidd
Still good

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Manu Ginobili
Fire

Shooting Guard

Don't hurt me - remember, Keith Bogans is going to get a lot of minutes here for us. Plus, Manu spends some time every game at SF these days. When Manu is in, it should definitely be to our advantage, but the Mavs might choose to play Howard, Beaubois, and Barea here at different points in the game - those guys all give us trouble. Manu needs to torch the paper airplane when he's out there, though.

Advantage: Tied


Jason Terry
Paper Airplane

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Richard Jefferson
Stampede

Small Forward

RJ seems to be getting much more comfortable with his new teammates lately. He's shooting a high percentage, playing better defense, and committing fewer turnovers. Thanks for that, RJ. Now you just need to attack the rim more often, and you'll be maximizing your Spurs potential. On their side, Marion always sucks against us - always. Howard will spend some time here, too, but RJ and Manu are more than enough to give us the advantage here.

Advantage: Spurs


Shawn Marion
Isn't in Kansas Phoenix Anymore

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Tim Duncan
Flood

Power Forward

Yes, there's a white box around Dirk's ugly mugshot. As dominant as Timmy has been this year, Dirk's been close. And he always kills us, no matter who guards him. It's only fair to call the battle between two of the best big men in the game a tie. Even if Timmy's been a little bit better.

Advantage: Tied


Dirk Nowitzki
Has More Hair Now

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DeJuan Blair
Earthquake

Center

Gooden seemed to have a chip on his shoulder in our last game against the Mavs. He brought a ton of energy, and that caused immense problems for the Spurs. Tonight, he'll be facing off with the textbook definition of "energy player", who can not only match him, but easily surpass him. Be afraid, Drew, be very afraid. As an added bonus, Gooden will take shots away from Dirk, and that's always a good thing. If Dampier plays, the white box goes to the other side, but Carlisle sounded pretty doubtful about that in his media comments yesterday. [Updated: Dampier says he will play]

Advantage: Spurs


Erick Dampier
Back from injury?

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Roger Mason Jr.
Lightning

Bench & Role Players

Roger is kicking ass lately, so he deserves some face time here. The Mavs' bench guards are very good, but the BAM unit is better. It's time to bowl over yet another team with the best bench in the league.

Advantage: Spurs


Josh Howard
Likes, ummm... "recreational" activities

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Gregg Popovich
GOML - yes, that's a force of nature too

Coach

I'll say it again: Carlisle impresses me as a coach. However, his benching of Rodrigue Beaubois is perplexing, especially to Mavs fans. Also, Pop's track record as a coach speaks for itself.

Advantage: Spurs


Rick Carlisle
Unknown Quantity
images via yahoo.com

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Other Factors

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Intangibles

You can pretty much throw all stats and assumptions aside for this game. Both teams are going to be ready, and brining the intensity.

Advantage: Tied

Mojo

Both teams had bounceback wins in their last outings. We have a great home record, Dallas has a great road record.

Advantage: Tied

Winner:

But it won't be easy - it never is against the Cubes brigade.

Keys To The Game

  • Intensity - Dallas is going to bring it. We need to match it.
  • Execution - The Mavs are a good defensive team, so the offense needs to be smooth and seamless.

Strength of Schedule

Thanks to a strange quirk of the schedule, both teams are coming off home wins over Detroit. But their schedules after this are quite different. The Mavs have a SEGABABA against Utah tomorrow, but they'll be at home. Meanwhile, the Spurs have a trap game on Sunday against New Jersey before taking on the Lakers next Tuesday.

Last Time They Met

Oh, I think you remember. Back on November 18, the Spurs played most of the game at a deficit in Dallas, then mounted a great 4th quarter comeback before ultimately losing 99-94 in overtime.

Some Other Reading

Mavericks

Mavs Moneyball - The SBNation home of the Mavericks. They played nice with us last year during the playoffs, so go say hi.
The Two Man Game - The TrueHoop blog for Dallas. 48MoH quotes and links them pretty often, so it can't be all that bad. Some good analysis can be found here.

Spurs

48 Minutes of Hell: The best TrueHoop team blog is now even better, after adding two new writers. Congrats to Jesse and Andrew, who are already doing good work.
Project Spurs: Check out their regular podcasts. I think they love Manu as much as we do, if that's possible.

Twitter Musings

spurs Coach Pop has answered the latest questions for the mailbag, check it out to see if he answered yours!http://bit.ly/4tDoEU #GoSpursGo

George_Hill3 Good afternoon tweetas! Jus got done playing wii fit lol I suck at these games....lol but how is everyone day going

tp9network Hey facebook world! We're back with a win vs Detroit! I hope it's the starting point of a new series of victories...http://bit.ly/7CgsYd

As always, you can always find all the official Spurs Sports & Entertainment Twitter accounts here: http://twitter.com/spurs/official/members

Where to Tune In

TV

This game will be aired on KENS 5 in SA, and KTXA in the metroplex. If you have cable or satellite, you'll have to look up your individual channel. And of course, there's always League Pass for the haves. For the have nots, read on.

Online

As always, NBA League Pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Most Spurs games will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area.

Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate. In fact, nobody can stop you from googling "atdhe". You can also shoot an email to dmenendez@gmail.com for more assistance.

NBA League Pass audio is still free this year, so check it out.

Radio

If you're in the San Antonio area and aren't near a TV, tune in to WOAI (1200 AM).

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