Setting the Table: San Antonio Spurs (Game 43)

Posted by Bryan Gutierrez on January 25, 2013 under Previews | Be the First to Comment

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The Dallas Mavericks (18-24) are well-rested and out for revenge as they take on the San Antonio Spurs (34-11). Dallas has been off since Jan. 20 when they defeated the Orlando Magic in Orlando. They are looking to avenge the two previous losses they’ve suffered at the hands of the Spurs this season. San Antonio is riding the league’s longest current winning streak at six games after defeating New Orleans 106-102. Dallas has won five of its last six games. The Mavericks have scored 100-plus points in each of their last six games and are averaging 110.7 points per game in that span.

The Spurs will be without the services of All-Star Tim Duncan and head coach Gregg Popovich. Popovich is ill and assistant Mike Budenholzer is filling in for him. Duncan is bothered by a sore left knee. The Mavericks have to be on alert as the Spurs have been known to beat them when they are short-handed.

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

Series Notes:

The Spurs have won three straight and seven of the last nine meetings with the Mavericks, including both this season. The Mavericks have won five of the last eight matchups in Dallas, but the Spurs took the most recent meeting at American Airlines Center, 111-86, on Dec. 30, 2012.

Darren Collison is averaging a team-high 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, a team-high 5.0 assists, 1.0 steals and 28.5 minutes in two games (one start) against the Spurs this season. Collison has shot 68.2 percent from the field against San Antonio this year. Vince Carter is averaging 13.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 22.0 minutes in two games (one start) against the Spurs in 2012-13.

Dirk Nowitzki is only averaging 8.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 21.5 minutes in two games. Elton Brand is averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 18.5 minutes in two games against San Antonio this year.

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. Bring fresh legs and a tough disposition on defense. The Mavericks have had plenty of time to rest and prepare for the Spurs. They needed it as the Spurs are an incredibly efficient team on offense. The Spurs are one of two teams, including the Thunder to rank in the top-3 in points, field goal and three-point field goal percentage. Spurs rank third averaging 104.1 points, third shooting 48.6 from the floor, second shooting 38.1 from three and third shooting 78.5 from the free throw line.

2. Deliver with depth. All five starters (Marion, Nowitzki, Kaman, Mayo and Collison) scored in double figures for Dallas in the win at Orlando. It marked the fourth time this season that the Mavericks had all five of their starters in double digits, also on Dec. 12 at Boston, Jan. 1 at Washington, Jan. 12 vs. Memphis, including the second time in their last five games. The Mavericks are 3-1 this season when all five of their starters manage 10-plus points. Dallas had only one game with all five starters in double figures in 2011-12, at San Antonio 3/23/12.

Via the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mavericks have had at least six players score in double figures in each of their last five games. The Mavericks have gone 4-1 in those games, with their only loss coming against Oklahoma City in overtime on Jan. 18. It’s only the second time in franchise history that Dallas has had at least six players score 10-plus points in five straight games. Dallas had six-plus players in double figures in six straight games from Apr. 5 through Apr. 13, 1986. Before the streak began, the only time Dallas had six-plus players score in double figures in consecutive games this year was Dec. 10, 2012 vs. Sacramento and Dec. 12, 2012 at Boston. The Mavericks are 9-4 this season when they have at least six players score 10-plus points in a game. Dallas had six-plus players in double figures seven times all of last year (5-2 record). Dallas had a season-high-tying seven players in double figures in its most recent game at Orlando, also had seven in double digits at Boston on Dec. 12, 2012. The Mavericks did not have one game with seven players in double digits all of last season.

3. Build momentum. A win against San Antonio would lead to Dallas winning six of their last seven games. A lot of action has happened at the bottom of the Western Conference playoff picture while the Mavericks were idle. With a playoff spot within their fingertips, Dallas needs to build an impressive run of winning basketball. Whether the head coach and All-Star big man are there or not, it’s still going in the record books. If that’s the case, go win it.

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.