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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks

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With just a game separating the two Texas teams in the Western Conference standings, San Antonio brings its three-game winning streak into Dallas, losers of two straight.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks

America Airlines Arena, Dallas, Texas
March 24, 2015, 7:00 PM Spurs Time
TV: TNT - RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI

When these two last met, the Spurs rolled a skeleton crew into Dallas, who was excitedly welcoming disgruntled Celtic Rajon Rondo into their planet-destroying Death Star of an offense. San Antonio meanwhile was going through its hellish December stretch, which included back-to-back triple OT losses. All five starters, as well as Manu, watched the Spurs supporting cast -- led by Marco Belinelli and Aron Baynes -- hang tough against the Mavs, only to let the game slip in the final period.

The Spurs are as healthy now as they've been all season, while the Rondo experiment continues to leave a cloud of doubt over the Mavs' postseason potential. The addition of a second ball-dominant guard has taken the wind out of the sails of star guard Monta Ellis, who's averaged 14.8 and 16.8 points per game over February and March, respectively. His shooting from both two- and three-point range has dropped considerably and, more worryingly, the team's identity has faded.

Offense isn't this team's problem, though. While it fell off a bit with the roster shakeup, the Mavs still rank third in the league in scoring. Even with the lack of backcourt cohesion between Rondo and Ellis, the starting lineup is simply too talented to not score, and they can regularly pick-and-roll their way to great looks for guys like Chandler Parsons, or find Tyson Chandler over the top for the alley oop.

Rick Carlisle's rotation remains a question mark, however. The Amar'e Stoudemire signing has proven to be important, shoring up the hole left behind when they traded away Brandan Wright, but they also received meaningful minutes from Jae Crowder, who was also sent off to Boston. Their lack of depth has helped extend the careers of guys like Charlie Villanueva and Richard Jefferson, and it should be something the Spurs can use to their advantage.

As potent as the Mavs offense is, I like the way the Spurs match up. They'll be able to go under every Rajon Rondo screen and may be tempted to force Ellis to shoot as well, considering his struggles -- especially with how easily he's been able to get to the hoop against the Spurs in the past. A rejuvenated Tiago Splitter should be able to stay in front of the big German as well as anyone, as he continues to prove how valuable he is to this team. Of course, he'll probably blow a layup, which'll probably be what most casual viewers remember in the end. Some day, Tiago:

vs.

Dallas Mavericks (44-27)

San Antonio Spurs (44-25)

March 24, 2015

America Airlines, Dallas, Texas

7:00 PM CDT

TV: TNT

Radio: WOAI 1200AM

Starters

Rajon Rondo

PG

Tony Parker

Monta Ellis

SG

Danny Green

Chandler Parsons

SF

Kawhi Leonard

Dirk Nowitzki

PF

Tiago Splitter

Tyson Chandler

C

Tim Duncan


For the Mavericks perspective, please visit Mavs Moneyball.

Game prediction: Spurs by 7.

As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and you can get your San Antonio Spurs tickets from Daniel Farias with Spurs Sports & Entertainment: Tel: 210-444-5607 | dfarias@attcenter.com