San Antonio Spurs Host Dallas Mavericks: Game Preview and Interview

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Jan 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) moves the ball during the first half against the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Manu Ginobili and the San Antonio Spurs host Monta Ellis and the Dallas Mavericks tonight at 8:00 p.m CST.

Tony Parker, who has missed the last six games due to injury, looks to play tonight.

Without their French point guard, the Spurs (42-16) haven’t missed a beat. They’ve gone 5-1 due to the incredible play of Tim Duncan, who continues to deliver night in and night out.

The Mavericks haven’t faired quite as well this season as the Spurs, but are still beating expectations.

Dallas is 36-24 and, on Friday, blew a 16-point lead to Chicago, but, at 25.2 points per, are still ranked in the top one-third of the league in fourth quarter scoring.

The Spurs and Mavs are currently first and third in the Southwest Division, respectively.

Staff writer Rhys T-J got a chance to sit down with fellow Fansided website The Smoking Cuban to discuss all things Spurs-Mavs rivalry.

Jan 8, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker (9) shoots against Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) during the second half at AT&T Center. The Spurs won 112-90. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Rhys T-J: What’s the highest playoff seed are you hoping for? What playoff seed are you expecting?

The Smoking Cuban: Five or six, but expecting sixth.

Mar 17, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) looks to pass over San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

RTJ: The Mavs haven’t quite been on the same level as the Spurs since they won the championship, but this year, it’s getting closer. Do you think their is more fan interest in the rivalry now, or did it never go away?

TSC: I think both sides never lost fans, and if they’re like me, no matter the record, this rivalry is always fun to get hyped about. I know the Spurs have beaten us good in recent games, but I never stop getting excited for a DAL vs SAS game.

Mar 17, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) shoots under the basket as San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard (2) and center Tim Duncan (21) defend during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

RTJ: Talk about how the Texas Triangle—the Southwest division—has been tough for almost a decade. It’s is even tougher this season and has the potential to get better in the future. Do you think this is a serious disadvantage for the teams in the division as compared with, say, the Atlantic division? Why don’t more people talk about this?

TSC: It’s a tough trip when a team has to play the Texas Triangle. I remember those years when more people would talk about it, and say they hate playing in it. It’s gone away for some time now, I really haven’t heard the term for a while. It might start getting back with the Mavs and Rockets playing better ball than last year. I wouldn’t say its a disadvantage, its good to play tough competition in your division, makes you better. I’d rather play the Spurs and Rockets than some of the bad teams. And it makes for a better rivalry and, hopefully, a better game.

Feb 26, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Wayne Ellington (21) drives to the basket past New Orleans Pelicans small forward Tyreke Evans (1) drives to the basket during the second half at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Pelicans 108-89. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

RTJ: Is there anyone under the radar that we should be keeping an eye out for the game on Sunday? Maybe someone unexpected?

TSC: I’d like to say Wayne Ellington. He had a pretty good game, in his terms, a couple of games ago. I saw him play a lot last night, even though he missed a lot of shots, but he’s still a guy who can knock down a three and change a game. Unexpected other than that. I mean, Marion can grab a double-double, Carter’s been playing good ball of late, so no one other than that. You’d expect everyone else to get theirs.

That’s it!

Thanks to The Smoking Cuban for letting us interview their staff and giving us the time to work with them. Check them out TheSmokingCuban.com

*** All stats courtesy of NBA.com

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