San Antonio found themselves back in the win column for the second time this month as the Spurs dominated the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. Now sitting at 4-7 on the year, they will again face off with their longtime interstate rival, the Dallas Mavericks, on Friday night.
The previous matchups between the Spurs and the Mavs have been tricky for San Antonio, as their inability to close out games down the stretch has been a massive issue.
The Spurs jumped out to an early 23-3 lead in the first quarter in the first matchup between these two divisional foes. Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold the lead, with a lackluster second quarter signifying the beginning of the end of what ended in a 99-104 loss.
The second contest was similar, as late-game blunders came back to bite the Spurs. The Silver and Black outplayed Dallas by nearly every metric for most of the night. But the Mavericks significantly out-rebounded them while holding their transition offense at bay, which ultimately made the difference for them in a heartbreaking 108-109 defeat.
Now, San Antonio will look to upset the Mavericks for the first time in three tries as they search for back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
San Antonio Spurs (4-7) vs. Dallas Mavericks (7-4)
November 12, 2021 | 7:30 PM CT
Watch: Bally Sports SW | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)
Spurs Injuries: Zach Collins (Out — Ankle), Jakob Poeltl (Out — COVID Protocols), Jock Landale (Out — COVID Protocols), Keita Bates-Diop Questionable — Back)
Mavericks Injuries: Maxi Kleber (Out — Oblique)
Can San Antonio put forth another impressive night from beyond the arc?
Somewhat surprisingly, the Spurs find themselves sitting seventh in the league in three-point percentage through 11 games, hitting 35% of their shots from beyond the arc. While that is a commendable spot compared to preseason expectations, San Antonio has been unable to maintain any momentum from their impressive shooting displays, nailing just 20% and 25% of their threes in the games that immediately followed their wins over the Magic.
The Spurs now face a Mavericks team that has dealt with their fair share of struggles from long-distance, shooting just 32.1% from deep. It should be worth keeping a close eye on whether or not this young team can put together back-to-back strong shooting performances en route to a much-needed victory on Friday night.
How will San Antonio perform on the boards?
In their last matchup, the Mavericks thoroughly outplayed the Spurs on the glass. Since their November 3rd matchup, San Antonio has been out- out-rebounded by ten or more just once.
The Mavericks’ formula for success against San Antonio has predicated on cleaning the glass and capitalizing on turnovers. With Kristaps Porzingis back in the fold and Jakob Poeltl on the sidelines, the Spurs need an all-around team effort to crash the boards if they want to limit second-chance points and secure their first win of the season over Dallas
Will the Spurs show a newfound ability to close out games?
It’s no secret that San Antonio is a young team looking to build towards a bright future for Spurs hoops. That said, they have struggled mightily in crunch time this season. So far, the Spurs are 1-6 in the clutch, sporting a net rating of -23.1 in this specific situation. Their problems become clearer when broken down a bit further, as their 88.9 offensive rating in the clutch highlights their struggles to score the ball. Even when they score, they don’t do so efficiently as their TS% and eFG% rank 25th in the NBA.
San Antonio’s ineffectiveness down the stretch has been particularly apparent versus the Mavericks, as they had a chance to win both of their first two matchups but floundered with the game on the line. If they end up in another neck-and-neck battle, a solid performance in the clutch could be a huge confidence booster.
For the Mavericks fans’ perspective, please visit Mavs Moneyball.
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.