In what feels like an every other week occurrence, the Dallas Mavericks (8-21) travel to San Antonio to take on the Spurs (19-9) who are playing the second game of a back-to-back. In the last meeting, Dallas was victorious, outscoring San Antonio by eight in the final frame to win 95-89.
J.J. Barea and Dwight Powell played fantastic, as Barea scored 16 points, collected six rebounds and six assists, while Powell recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 12 boards. Additionally, the Mavericks were effective in slowing down LaMarcus Aldridge who shot 9-of-23 from the field.
Here’s what to watch for as the Mavs look take one in enemy territory.
Which Wesley Matthews shows up
With Dennis Smith Jr. out of the lineup again, the burden to score and make plays rests heavily on the backcourt veterans. Against the Warriors, Barea led the charge, while Matthews shot just 3-12 including 1-7 from deep. Tuesday against the Spurs, Yogi Ferrell, Barea and Matthews all chipped in 16 points to propel the Mavs to victory. Matthews added five boards and four assists while shooting 7-15 from the field. Yes, Matthews is allowed a bad night just like everyone else in the NBA. But against the Spurs, who excel at taking away a team’s main option, the Mavs need an efficient Matthews to help absolve the scoring load from other players.
Don’t forget about Aldridge
The Mavericks finally had some success slowing Aldridge on Tuesday, even if he still scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. It wasn’t until the third quarter that the Spurs started to force feed Aldridge and run much of their offense through the five-time all star. It’s not much of a coincidence that the Spurs looked like they’d run away with it until the Mavericks came marching back. All of that is to say, limiting Aldridge might once again be the key to beating San Antonio. There likely won’t be any exotic game plan or matchup for the Mavericks to throw at him, rather it will require digging in and hard-nosed defense to stop the Spurs’ big man.
Dirk being Dirk
Losing is no fun. Not having a real direction is no fun. But Dirk being Dirk is fun and makes everything else worthwhile. In Nowitzki’s last 10 games he’s scoring 13 points on 46/50/96 shooting splits and grabbing five rebounds while owning a team-best plus-six net rating. We’ve seen so many moments of Dirk being the thorn in the Spurs side, and, I’d enjoy nothing more than seeing another vintage Dirk performance against San Antonio. With the Mavs icon saying it’s likely he’ll play one more season, there’s a possibility there are only five games left of Dirk hitting one legged fades against the Spurs. Let’s enjoy them while we can.
How to watch
Tip off is at 7:30 Central and can be watched on FSSW or NBA League Pass.