The Dallas Mavericks are fresh off one of their better wins of the season, an 83-77 grind fest in Chicago. Now they take on the hottest team in the NBA, and their most hated rival, division rival San Antonio. We did tell you this was going to be the toughest stretch of the season!
What has San Antonio done lately?
They've won 10 straight games (and 17 of their last 18) and six of those 10 straight wins were by 15 points or more. Though the Warriors have gotten most of the attention from their record start, San Antonio has arguably been the best team in the NBA for a while now, leading the league in point differential and posting a shockingly good defensive efficiency rating thus far. In short, they're the powerhouse we all feared they'd become when they signed LaMarcus Aldridge.
What happened the last time these two teams met?
The Spurs snuck by the Mavs 88-83 on Nov. 25 in a tightly contested game that Kawhi Leonard sealed with a dagger three-pointer with 15 seconds left. Dallas was able to hold the Spurs to just 40 percent shooting from the field (including an uncharacteristically putrid 8-of-28 from deep), and the Mavs got a strong performance from their bench. Dallas is 2-11 in their last 13 regular season meetings against San Antonio. After being swept in 13-14 and 12-13, the Mavs split last year's four games.
What will be the key matchup
San Antonio has become Kawhi Leonard's team. Stopping him would go a long way towards a victory. Wes Matthews has been the defacto "stopper" for Dallas, and should draw that assignment. Prior to his 20-10-5 performance against Cleveland, Kawhi had been a bit of a mini-slump, but he did manage 26 points against the Mavs back in November.
How to watch
The game's at 6 p.m. CT on FSSW, or League Pass for those out of area. Enjoy!