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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks

The Spurs face their division rivals for the second time this season. Also, a familiar face may be poised for his season debut.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA schedule isn’t without its quirks, and among this season’s is these two teams playing their four games against each other before Christmas, all in basically a month’s span. Considering the Mavs are still likely one of the league’s worse teams, it’s not something to quibble over — especially at a time of the year when the Spurs are still rounding into form and will want to bank as many wins as possible.

Monday will be the second of those meetings, with the Spurs taking the first in Dallas, 97-91. The Mavs have actually won three of their last five since then and are currently riding their first winning streak of the season, but the song remains largely the same, their fortunes still depending on Dirk’s 39-year-old legs, Dennis Smith Jr.’s rookie decision-making, and a middling supporting cast to play above its talent level. It’s a tough parlay to hit on any given night.

The Spurs are returning home after splitting their two-game road trip, winning on Saturday in Charlotte after losing ugly in New Orleans on Wednesday. They’re now 4-5 on the road for the season. The good news? The Spurs will play five of their next seven games at home. The better news? They could be welcoming a key player back into the fold.

San Antonio Spurs (12-7) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5-15)

November 27, 2017 I 7:30 PM CDT

Watch: FSSW, Listen: WOAI

Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (quadriceps), Tony Parker (quadriceps), Derrick White (fractured right wrist)

Mavericks injuries: Seth Curry (leg), Josh McRoberts (knee), Dorian Finney-Smith (knee)

Welcome back, Tony

While we await word on Kawhi Leonard’s status, the change in Parker’s is a great sign for a team that has missed his playmaking and stabilizing presence. While the team merely upgraded him to ‘questionable’ in Sunday’s injury report, Parker himself took to Instagram to announce that he’d indeed be suiting up for the first time since going down in the second round of the 2017 playoffs. It’ll be a joy to see his name announced in the AT&T Center on Monday.

Shoutout to Salah Mejri

Partially because NBA divisions are kind of pointless, and also because the Mavs have been bad the past few years, but mostly because it’s more pressing to simply hate Golden State, the Spurs-Mavs rivalry is not what it once was. But respect to the ever-scowling Mejri for trying to keep the fire burning. After famously barking at Gregg Popovich during a blowout loss two seasons ago, Mejri reprised his role as heel a few weeks back by getting into it with LaMarcus Aldridge. He may not be the player this interstate rivalry deserves, but he’s the one it needs right now.

Score 100, win the game

The Spurs’ 4th-ranked defense should get the job done tonight, and they could themselves some favors by executing on the other end of the floor, too. Things have gone pretty well for them when they’ve hit triple digits:

Vegas Odds: Spurs by 9.5.

Game Prediction: Spurs by 8.

For the Mavericks fan’s perspective, visit Mavs Moneyball.

As always, Tony must dominate Fisher.

PtR's GameThread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action. through PtR's Twitter feed.