The Spurs are coming off an impressive comeback victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. DeMar DeRozan led the way and helped San Antonio take their first lead of the game with under 10 minutes to go, and the Spurs never looked back.
Dallas is playing on the second night of a back-to-back after a tough loss to the Jazz. The Mavs were able to keep the game competitive led by Dennis Smith Jr.’s 27 points could not get completely over the hump.
The Mavericks went 1-3 last season against the Spurs but will look to steal the first of four games against the Spurs in San Antonio Monday night. Here’s what to watch for.
DeMar DeRozan fitting in quite nicely
After a tumultuous off season, the Spurs are finally playing basketball, and their big acquisition is filling up the stat sheet early in the season. Through five games DeRozan is averaging 27 points, six rebounds and eight assists per night. Absurd numbers. DeRozan isn’t much of an outside threat, but he’s a midrange technician and is dishing the ball at a career-best rate. Wesley Matthews and Dorian Finney-Smith will probably get the assignment, but it will be a team effort to slow down the new Spur.
Harrison Barnes needs to find his legs in a hurry
Barnes gets some slack after missing all of the preseason and the first four games of the regular season, but if the Mavericks want to tack on some early season victories, Barnes is going to have to get going quick. Through two games he’s 8-of-30 from the field and 1-of-9 from deep. Again, Barnes deserves some time to get into game shape, but the Mavericks won’t be anything more than a tough out until Barnes rounds into form.
Can Dennis Smith Jr. put together a couple of good games?
Smith looked fantastic last night after sitting out Friday against Toronto due to a sore ankle. He scored 27 points, connecting on 63 percent of his shots and knocking down three of his four triples. His shot looked pure, hitting some tough midrange jumpers and putting pressure on the defense by attacking the paint. As a rookie Smith showed some inconsistency, though that’s expected for a teenage playing in the NBA. Moving forward Smith needs to string together consecutive good games and build off of each successful night. With Dejounte Murray out, the Spurs’ guards are exploitable. Let’s see if Smith can keep the momentum going.
How to watch
The game tips at 7:30 CT and can be watched on Fox Sports Southwest and NBA League Pass.