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Neal hit for 21 off the bench to lead the Spurs in the December 30th win. Property Glenn James/NBAE/Getty Images

Game #40 Preview: Mavs at Spurs

Why you hiding your face Mark?  Oh that’s right, your facing the best team in the NBA tonight!!!

The Dallas Mavericks come into tonights game against the best team in the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs at 33-6, to try and snap their three game skid.  The Spurs on the other hand are going for win number five in a row.

Oh and Dallas, may have to do this without their best player…..AGAIN!

More after the jump.

Dirk Nowitzki did workout on Thursday at Trinity University but was limited to running laps and shooting. Head Coach Rick Carlisle says that he is day-to-day.

“Dirk increases his workouts every day and signs are positive,” Carlisle said. “But it’s very important that we focus on the guys we have available at this time and make sure that he gets back absolutely 100 percent healthy. We’ve listed him day to day because we don’t believe this is a serious injury and he is making progress.

Mavs fans are eager for their star to get back as the team has lost six of their last eight games.  He has already missed a career high eight games this season, could be nine tonight.  Tyson Chandler whom is known for his own injuries says he doesn’t want Nowitzki to rush things:

“I want him to be 100 percent before he comes back,” Chandler said. “The thing is you don’t want to rush anything. I’ve been there. I’ve rushed. I’ve been on the sideline and been in the same situation, watched my team lose, watched my team suffer, and then try to jump back out there and before you know it something else is bothering you. We need him for the long haul.

For the San Antonio Spurs, healthy as can be, playing the best basketball in team history, the NBA, and as we saw against the Milwaukee Bucks the other night, everyone gets involved.  Matt Bonner hit for 17 points off the bench and Gary Neal continued his hot shooting with 10.

I am looking for the bench to have another big night against Dallas.  In the last meeting Neal led the team with 21 points.  The  bench combined to go 15-for-27 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line for 42 points.

Head Coach Gregg Popovich on the win back in December:

“Any win is a good win, and on the road, they’re even sweeter. We were fortunate in a lot of ways. I don’t think we were sharp, and I thought Dallas showed a lot of character.”  –San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich.

Also in that game, Jason Terry was lost.  The Mavericks guard, the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, was 3-for-16 from the field for eight points. He was 1-for-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

Though the Mavericks maybe depleted with Nowitzki missing another game, they will also be without Caron Butler whom suffered a season ending injury.  Butler led the team with 30 points on the December 30th game. So the bench will have to be the key, especially Terry for them to have a shot.

Parker, Ginobili and Duncan combined for 46 in the six point win.  Look for them three to be aggressive and show a lot of emotion. Besides we are home at the AT&T Center and playing against our rivals, what more do you need to get up for this game.

The game is going to be televised nationally on ESPN starting at 8:00 PM EST.

Let’s do work!

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