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Game 15 Open Thread: SA @ Dallas Mavericks

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Minor Spurs goings on:

-Earlier this week the Spurs waived Alex Scales who played all of 20 seconds. SA is now back to the same roster it had to start the season.

-The official Spurs site has a nice wallpaper available for download. It depicts Manu's backdoor reverse layup alley-oop from the Lakers game.

Starting lineups:

SA (11-3, 5-2 away)
PG Tony Parker
SG Manu Ginobili (questionable)
SF Bruce Bowen
PF Tim Duncan
C Rasho Nesterovic

DAL (10-4, 5-1 home)
PG Jason Terry
SG Marquis Daniels
SF Josh Powell
PF Dirk Nowitzki
C Erick Dampier

DAL will be without the services of their best perimeter defender Josh Howard who's out three weeks with a sprained ankle. (Three weeks?) Unfortunately the Spurs may not be able to take full advantage because The Sickness may sit as well. He has a "jammed ankle" of unknown cause. Stackhouse is still out due to his trick knee.

The injuries have taken the luster off what could have been a big game (for this time of year anyway). DAL pounded the Spurs earlier this season as Finley went 1-6 in his return. The Mavericks also pummeled SA in a meaningless game at the end of last season. I am going to repost what I had to say back then (when I could actually write worth a damn):

The rest of today's Wilco lyric is "...And it doesn't seem to mean anything" and it goes out to Jerry Stackhouse and the Dallas Mavericks. This past Thursday they won the NBA Championship in decisive fashion, crushing the Spurs by 36 points. Oh wait, that's not it. This past Thursday the Mavericks earned a trip to the NBA finals by sweeping the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. No, that's not right either. The Mavericks, in resounding fashion, locked up a division title by bludgeoning a rival Spurs team. Hmm, that's wrong, too.

On Thursday, the Mavericks beat a Spurs team without its best player on the second game of a back to back. Ginobili and Parker played a combined 40 minutes. The Spurs shot 0-12 from three. For some reason the entire Dallas team whooped it up the whole second half. Darrell Armstrong was waving towels, the bench was standing up most of the time and Stackhouse was talking trash. Afterwards he said, regarding Duncan: "He would've made a difference," Stackhouse said, smiling, "but I don't think he would've made a 40-point difference." He continued on with "I think we were able to put them on their heels with our defense," Stackhouse said and culminated with the following:

"About the only thing that went wrong for the Mavericks was letting Mike Wilks hit a short jumper with 13.3 seconds left, preventing them from giving up their fewest points. Team owner Mark Cuban told the players on the bench how close they were, so they were all standing up and rooting for one last defensive stand.

"They just got a lucky little putback," Stackhouse said."

I just don't get it. This game meant nothing. The only thing the Mavericks could be happy about is not embarassing themselves. They weren't even playing for playoff positioning. San Antonio was without their best player, intentionally limiting the minutes of their other two best players and clearly threw in the towel (in terms of who was playing) with 18 minutes to go. What is Dallas so happy about? And why would they do anything to piss off the Spurs? Which they clearly did: sometime in the second half Duncan ripped up a stat sheet one of the coaches was holding and said "This means nothing."

The Spurs were in a similar position a couple of weeks ago; they played a depleted Sonics team at the SBC center and crushed them. The Sonics never even had a lead. And the game actually meant something in the sense that the #2 seed was in doubt at the time and this particular game determined the tie-breaker. It was just another game to the Spurs. No laughing it up or spouting off incendiary quotes to the reporters afterword.

Needless to say, a post season series between these two teams would have a little something extra.

SA should have that extra motivation that is apparently necessary for them to play at their best.

Tonight's line: SA -3
Tonight's total: 187.5
My pick: SA
Matty da Blade's plays: SA | Over
The Spurs are 6-8 ATS this year. I am 3-11. Da Blade is 8-5-1 ATS | 3-3 TOT.

This is an open thread. I don't know why I keep writing that. They're all open threads.