The Dallas Mavericks have made the NBA playoffs 12 straight seasons, but they will need to give a Herculean effort over their last 19 regular season games if they want to make it a baker’s dozen. At 30-33 they sit in 10th place in the competitive Western Conference.
To that cause, coach Rick Carlisle’s guys have won their past four games and head into San Antonio tonight hoping to extend their winning ways to a season-high 5 consecutive victories.
Standing in the way will be their instate nemesis, the West-leading 49-16 Spurs. However, when 5X NBA All-Star PG Tony Parker went down with a sprained ankle on March 1st it made San Antonio eminently more beatable.
In two of the last three contests, coach Gregg Popovich’s squad has fallen to the 29-34 Trail Blazers and the 22-40 Timberwolves.
The 107-83 loss at Minnesota on Tuesday was played without starting forwards Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard, who are both battling sore knees.
But the 136-106 shellacking by Portland at home on March 8th with the Spurs’ full compliment of players minus Parker was a true shock.
It’s hard to paint a bleak picture in Silver & Black when the Spurs also went to OKC this past Monday and emerged victorious 105-93. However, Tuesday’s loss to the Wolves allowed the Thunder to get within just one game of their best-in-the-West record.
Dallas last played on Tuesday night at Milwaukee. Behind balanced scoring and Vince Carter’s 23 points off the bench, including 3 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the Mavs came out on top 115-108.
Tonight’s 48 will be the fourth game between these two sides. The Spurs have won all three previous matchups by an average of 23 points, including a 129-91 dismantling on December 23rd at the AT&T Center. In addition, the Alamo City ballers are an impressive 26-4 at home this season.
Both Duncan and Leonard are expected to be back in the Spurs’ starting lineup, while Dallas’s veteran forward Shawn ‘The Matrix’ Marion will miss his fourth game with a left calf contusion.
Tune in to TNT at 8:00 PM ET to see if San Antonio can sweep the season series from Big D for the first time in 15 years.