San Antonio Spurs vs Dallas MavericksAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
March 14, 2013, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: TNT - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
The San Antonio Spurs clash against the Dallas Mavericks in their final season matchup. Unless the Mavericks somehow make the playoffs and draw the Spurs in round 1, this will be the last time either team will see each other.
Speaking of which, this game means different things to the teams involved. Should the Spurs win, their record improves to 50-16. It would make an NBA-record 14 straight seasons with at least 50 wins, and it is also worth noting that the Spurs also had a 50-16 record in last year's lockout shortened season. On the other hand, should the Mavericks win, their record improves to 31-33, and would increase their chances of making the postseason. It wasn't so long ago that the Spurs defeated the Mavs in the 2010 postseason despite not having home court advantage, and the Mavs defeated the Spurs in their 2009 series despite the Ponies not having home court advantage. Not to mention that it's only been 7 years since that epic 7 game series in 2006.
This is where the building philosophies of each team clashed. While both teams had Hall of Famer power forwards as their superstar in Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, both had different methods of building around their superstar. PATFO saw it fit not merely to feature Duncan, but to also develop his lieutenants in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili organically, as both were drafted by the Spurs. Moreover, while the Spurs took on ancillary pieces through free agency (like Bruce Bowen and Robert Horry) or trades (Nazr Mohammed, Matt Bonner), they also ensured a younger core of players would be there to step up as the Big 3 aged (especially Kawhi Leonard. Man, that kid has a bright future!). On the other hand, Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson mortgaged their team's future by trading draft picks for established players (they only struck gold with ONE of their first round picks after trading for Nowitzki on draft day: Josh Howard. who's out of the league due to injuries). While this gamble worked when they managed to build a supporting cast of Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, and Caron Butler (to name a few), the realities of the new collective bargaining agreement meant this core was not to last.
Now the Spurs are still likely to crack 50 wins again (and perhaps even 60) this season, with a young cadre of players to be the franchise's future, while the Mavericks' playoff hopes are in limbo as they tried in vain to swing for the fences in free agency (they couldn't snatch Deron Williams away from the Nets, and I doubt they lure Dwight Howard from Lakerland - if there's a team that could sign Dwight this offseason apart from LA, it's probably Atlanta). While I criticize PATFO from time to time, they have (at the very least) ensured that the Spurs have a strong foundation for years to come.
Mavericks perspective can be found here: Mavs Moneyball
Game Prediction: Spurs by 6. Kawhi Leonard has a big game.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game 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.
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