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3 things to watch as the Mavs host the Spurs

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NBA: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

“Why should I live in history, huh? Like, I don’t want to know anything anymore. This is a world where nothing is solved. You know, someone once told me that time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done, or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.”

— Rustin Cohle

And just like that, the San Antonio Spurs return to Dallas. It’s a rivalry, if you can still call it that, dating back two decades. What we know about it doesn’t matter. Saying that its future is a great unknown is a lie. We all know, but we don’t at the same time. We’re all bound to repeat it, game by game, dribble by dribble for the rest of our existence.

Where’s Dennis?

Great question. He’s listed as questionable. If he misses the game with a sore back or illness, then we know why. If he suits up, everyone will be shocked. He might not even be a Maverick by the time the game tips.

Old school ball

The Spurs are bucking the trends of the modern NBA. Instead of taking all their shots at the rim or behind the arc, San Antonio lives for the midrange. MIDRANGE! Pop is a madman! They take the most two-point attempts per game (63.6) and make the second most (32.3). Oddly enough, that makes them only the 22nd best two-point shooting team at 50.8%. Can’t win them all, right?

It makes sense, though. Look at their roster. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are midrange folks. So is Rudy Gay. But the bulk of the two-point work, 32.7 shots per game, come from Aldridge and DeRozan. They combine to average 1.2 three-point attempts.

It should be noted that the Spurs shoot the best three-point percentage (.402) in the league because of course they do.

Luka

It’s Luka Doncic’s team now. It was before, but the effort to move Smith solidified it. How he handles the first game post trade rumors will be important. It’s likely, though, that it won’t phase him. Nothing seems to except when he gets in his own head.

He erupted for 31 points in his first meeting with the Spurs. A repeat performance is something the Mavericks need to get back on track at home.

How to watch

7:30 p.m. CT, FSSW or NBA League Pass