San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas MavericksAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
March 2, 2014, 6:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: FSSW - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
The Spurs are riding a two-game winning-streak into tonight's home contest against the Dallas Mavericks, with the roster looking as healthy as it has been this calendar season. Tony Parker is still a game-time decision for tonight, but the squad has looked crisp with the return of Kawhi Leonard and some stability within the rotation over the past few games. San Antonio appears to have struck out in the buyout market, but it has to feel like the team has picked up some added weapons with the return of so many players from injury, and that feeling will only grow when Parker returns from his.
The Spurs are 2-0 against the Mavericks so far this year, and can clinch the season series with a win tonight. Dallas currently sits at 36-24 on the season, good enough for the seventh seed in the Western Conference, which means if the season ended today, these two old foes would battle it out in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The Mavericks are 7-3 over their last 10 games and are coming off a 100-91 loss Chicago on Friday at home. Monta Ellis led the way in the game, registering 20 points, four rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block. Chicago outscored Dallas by 12 points in the fourth quarter, as the Mavericks only mustered 15 points in the final 12 minutes of action.
Dallas shot just 40 percent from the field and made only 11-of-31 three-point attempts in the loss, but the Mavericks offense is still one of the best in the league when the ball movement and floor spacing are on point. Ellis, Dirk Nowitzki and Jose Calderon can still put up points, and Vince Carter has been pretty solid off of the bench for Dallas. The Mavs are seventh in the league in points per game, scoring 104.4 a night. Dallas is also fourth in the league in assists, but it ranks near the bottom in rebounding and points allowed.
Nowitzki still leads the way for Dallas. He averages a team-high 21.5 points a game and boasts a 24.3 PER to go along with six rebounds per game. Ellis is a sparkplug capable of exploding for over 30 points on any given night, and he also leads the team in steals and assists. He is still a scorer at heart, but he has been willing to embrace the role of distributor at times. When he doesn't, Dallas can become pretty stagnant on offense with him and Dirk taking turns playing 1-on-1 in the half court. Ellis may be at his most dangerous in the open court when he gets out in space and can drive to the basket and create in the lane, either for him or an open teammate.
Carter, Calderon and Shawn Marion all average in double figures for Dallas, so the scoring comes from a lot of different sources. Brandan Wright, DeJuan Blair and Samuel Dalembert have provided quality minutes in the post, but the scoring for Dallas comes from the players on the perimeter. Dallas is eighth in the league in three-point percentage, averaging around eight makes per game. The Spurs lead the league in three-point percentage so far this season.
In the first matchup against Dallas it was Danny Green that carried the offense, scoring 22 points without missing a shot. Dallas was beat up in the frontcourt in that game and Tim Duncan took advantage with a double-double. With Dalembert and Wright out, Duncan took advantage of Blair, a former teammate. The Mavericks made it close late with a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, but San Antonio held on for the win thanks to the sharp-shooting of Green and the workmanlike effort form Duncan.
In the second matchup, San Antonio took a 25-16 lead in the first quarter and never looked back thanks in large part to another strong effort from Duncan and a monster night by Tony Parker. It was the second night of a back-to-back for both teams. Each team will be rested for this one and both are likely to have most of the roster available.
Matchup to watch: The battle on the offensive glass. Dallas is not a very good rebounding team and San Antonio can take advantage of that with a healthy trio of Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. Getting second-chance points will be the key in this game.
Mavericks perspective available at Mavs Moneyball.
Game prediction: Spurs by 7.
Line in Vegas: Spurs by 5 1/2.
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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