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Game Thread: Spurs (54-13) at Mavericks (48-20)

WHO: The Dallas Mavericks host the San Antonio Spurs

WHAT: The rivalry to end all rivalries.

WHERE: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

WHEN: 7:30pm, CT


THE STORY: There are all sorts of reasons why this game is a big deal. First and foremost, it's the Spurs. So, duh. Also, they lead the West and we just dropped some big conference games. It would be nice to work our way back up to the top. And finally, it's the Spurs. Brendan Haywood is going to give it a go tonight, but Peja Stojakovic will still be out. If you haven't already, check out the conversation between our two sites. And then check out the links after the jump. And I've said it before but I'll say it again. Be civil. Don't make me drop the banhammer.

Spurs-Mavericks Preview - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
The San Antonio Spurs have lost back-to-back games only once this season, but it's been more than five years since they've been coming off a loss as big as the one they just suffered. Bouncing back against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks won't be easy. The Spurs, who have lost four straight regular-season games to the Mavericks when Nowitzki plays, will try to avoid consecutive defeats Friday night when they visit Dallas.

Shootaround Report: Spurs (54-13) at Mavericks (48-20) - Mavs Fast Break
You could sense the rivalry in the air when the Mavericks left the American Airlines Center floor after their Friday morning walkthrough just in time to see the visiting San Antonio Spurs enter the arena accompanied by the NBA’s best record. Not a lot of words were exchanged as the two teams traded positions, with the Dallas squad leaving the court and the Spurs just beginning their pre-game preparation.

Playoff atmosphere: Mavs-Spurs set for finale - Dallas Mavericks Blog - ESPN Dallas
The Dallas Mavericks (48-20) and San Antonio Spurs (54-13) have played three times this season, but you have to go back to Nov. 26 to find a game with any meaning attached to it, and even that matchup has faded to back of the early-season memory bank.