The Mavericks, still winless in March through six contests, look to bounce back after nearly stealing one against the Houston Rockets on Sunday. The Spurs enter American Airlines Center riding a five game win streak, gearing up for the playoffs at just the right time.
Here’s what to think about prior and during the game:
Will Luka Doncic play?
As of midnight on Monday, he’s listed as questionable with a knee strain suffered against the Rockets when jumping for an uncontested rebound. With Doncic, the Mavericks are in a tough spot because he most likely wants to play. If there’s any risk of further injury, the question as to whether he’ll play could be decided by the time you’re reading this.
Who scores points for Dallas if Doncic sits?
San Antonio is such a strange team this season, riding a recent win streak to hold on to a tenuous spot in the back half of the Western conference playoff team. Their team numbers are mediocre at best, suggesting Dallas has a chance whether Doncic plays or not. Yet with two prior wins against the Mavericks already, the Spurs should be confident in shutting down a Dallas offense devoid of substantive talent past Luka.
A bounce back game from Tim Hardaway Jr. would be nice, or perhaps a strong shooting performance from Jalen Brunson could surprise the Spurs.
Who does Maxi Kleber guard?
This might seem stupidly specific, but I’m reaching for things too, since I fear a Spurs blowout is on the horizon.
After a really excellent performance against the Rockets, it’s worth keeping an eye on who Kleber guards. The obvious and probable match up is All-Star and super boring forward LaMarcus Aldridge, but perhaps the Mavericks might try him on DeMar DeRozan as well. The Mavericks have few other players capable of guarding DeRozan either. At least with Aldridge you know he’s going to play like a bad fax of Dirk Nowitzki.
How to Watch
Tip off is set for 7 pm CT, and can be watched on TNT.