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Four-Pointer: Previewing the San Antonio Spurs

We take a closer look at the dreaded Spurs.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What have the Spurs done lately?

Last we checked in, the Spurs were rolling at 22-7, looking every bit the ageless powerhouse the national media annually ignores and skeptical pundits annually write off as too old.  Since then EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED.

Ok, so very little has changed in the last 13 days, or 13 years, for that matter.  The Spurs continue to be the team that most of us Mavs fans would just like to...well, just go away, or something.  I mean, really.  OK, we get it: you're great.  Jeez.

What stat about the Spurs may surprise you?

There probably aren't too many stats about the Spurs that can surprise, at this point, given that they are the annoying model of consistency of excellence, much like the Patriots in the NFL.  San Antonio and OKC are the only teams in the top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency.  They currently lead the league in assist ratio.  There just isn't a whole lot they don't do well.

They don't grab a large number of offensive rebounds(Dallas actually has a slight edge there, believe it or not), but it's primarily a function of them not missing a ton of shots.  They rank second in the league in field goal percentage.  Dallas ranks fifth.

The closest thing to an achilles heel is probably the lack of free throws.  San Antonio is worse than Dallas at 29th in free throw attempts per game(before you celebrate: Dallas is 28th).

What Maverick is poised for a big game?

This is less a belief than a karmic choice, but I'll pick Jae Crowder.  With Marion out after injuring his shoulder, I'm expecting to see a good bit of Crowder, with perhaps even a start.  Crowder games tend to either be pretty good or disastrous, at least offensively.  So let's get some positive reinforcement on his side.

What does Dallas have to do to win?

Since the Spurs are also coming off a back to back, there is a chance the minute-conscious Popovich may sit some players.  That may make the picture a little brighter.  San Antonio has beaten Dallas while undermanned in the past, however.  They are a poor matchup for a Mavs team that has trouble guarding pick and roll and can be burned by open three-point looks created from dribble penetration.  These are Spurs staples.  Danny Green went a perfect 7-7 last time around and has become King of Maverick-Killing Role Players.

Rotations will be supremely important, as how well Dallas can contest the Spurs spot up looks will have a major impact on the game's outcome.