Setting the Table: San Antonio Spurs (Game 31)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on December 30, 2012 under Previews | Read the First Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (12-18) are looking to get back on the winning track as they take on the San Antonio Spurs (23-8). The Mavericks are currently on a five-game losing streak. There have only been two occasions in the Mark Cuban era where Dallas has lost at least six games. They lost six games from Feb 29, 2000 through Mar. 9, 2000 in his inaugural season, and from Jan. 6, 2011 thru Jan. 17, 2011 in the year the team won their first NBA championship.

The Mavericks only need to look back at the last game against the Spurs for motivation for this game.

Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Spurs.

Series Notes:

The Mavericks and the Spurs enter the game ranked tied for second in the NBA in bench scoring with 41.6 bench points per game, the L.A. Clippers lead the league with 42.5 bench points per game. The Spurs took the first meeting between the two teams this season (129-91) at San Antonio on Dec. 23. Darren Collison (15), Vince Carter (13) and Chris Kaman (10) were the only Mavericks that scored in double figures in that game. The Spurs have now won six of the last eight regular-season meetings with the Mavericks. Dallas and San Antonio split the 2011-12 season series (2-2), with the home team winning all four games. The Mavericks have won five of the last seven meetings in Dallas, including the last two.

Dirk Nowitzki averaged 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 33.8 minutes in four starts against the Spurs last season. Rodrigue Beaubois averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.5 blocks and 30.0 minutes in four games (three starts) against San Antonio in 2011-12. Vince Carter averaged 10.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 26.3 minutes in four games (two starts). Shawn Marion averaged 8.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.7 blocks and 30.0 minutes in three starts against the Spurs in 2011-12.

It’s a Small World:

Spurs guard Danny Green was a college teammate of Mavericks big man Brandan Wright at the University of North Carolina in 2006-07. Wright also played with Spurs forward Stephen Jackson on the Golden State Warriors from 2007-09. Spurs guard Tony Parker (1997-2001), Spurs forward Boris Diaw (1998-2003), Spurs guard Nando de Colo (2006-09) and Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois (2006-09) all played in France before beginning their NBA careers. Beaubois was a teammate of De Colo’s on Cholet Basket from 2006-09. Corey Crowder, the father of Mavericks forward Jae Crowder, played in seven games for the Spurs in 1994-95. The San Antonio Spurs franchise began as the Dallas Chaparrals of the ABA in 1967.

Three Keys:

1. Guard the 3-point line. Danny Green had a career-high 25 points and tied a career-high with 7 three-pointers against the Mavericks on Dec. 23. In addition, the Spurs set a new franchise record, connecting on 20 three’s in the game against the Mavericks. The 20 three’s ranks tied fifth in the NBA for the most 3-pointers in a game since 1986-87. San Antonio’s previous record was earlier this season with 19 three-pointers at Charlotte on Dec. 8, 2012. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Spurs were 66.7 percent from 3-point range in that win against the Mavericks. That’s the best 3-point shooting percentage by a team that made at least 20 3-pointers in a game in NBA history. The previous mark was set by the Suns against the Nuggets in 2008 (20-31, 64.5 percent). Needless to say, the Mavericks need to protect the 3-point line.

2. Be cognizant of San Antonio’s theivery. Protecting the ball has been a major issue for the Mavericks, and the Spurs are a team that can make you pay in that area. The Spurs are causing opponents to 15.3 turnovers per game, which ranks 10th best in the NBA this season. It is the most for a San Antonio team since the 2004-05 season when that group forced 15.1 turnovers per game. The Spurs defense has forced over 15 turnovers in 19 games and is 15-4 in those games. San Antonio’s defense forced a season-high 24 turnovers vs. Houston on Dec. 28.

3. Play inspired. The Mavericks simply have to rise to the occasion. Everyone is doubting them with the losing streak they’ve been on. One win can change the course of the season, especially against a team as good as San Antonio. They need to remember the embarrassing loss they suffered in the Alamo City and use that for motivation for this game.

Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.