Highlighted by two of the best coaches in the NBA, Gregg Popovich and Rick Carlisle, the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs due battle Wednesday night.
The San Antonio Spurs welcoming in a Dallas Mavericks team that is starting the season off 9-6. With the offseason antics involving DeAndre Jordan and Mavericks face foaming at the mouth on what could of been, the team still has some core players in place.
This is the second of a back-to-back for the Mavericks. For the Spurs, a rest day on Tuesday after their win against the Phoenix Suns on Monday surely gives them an edge.
Or does it.
The Spurs with an off-day in between have come out of the gates, slow. The Mavericks against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday did the same and could not bounce back from it.
Apr 28, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) drives against the Dallas Mavericks in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs are coming off of a game where they had 18 steals as a team and forced 28 turnovers. Length has been the strength for the Spurs. Winning the game without LaMarcus Aldridge patrolling the middle was a good sign.
Aldridge is not expected to start tonight as David West will surely get the nod to start. West is a bruiser and I look for him to be just that against the Mavericks.
As it is for every single game, there are key components that one must achieve in order to win a game. Here are those for the Spurs to continue their streak at home against the Mavericks.
–Contain Dirk NowitzkiNowitzki is averaging 17.7 points per game this season for the Mavericks. He is their leader and their first option on offense. Tim Duncan will have to play big and physical against him to not let him get into a rhythm. Look for the Spurs at times to double-down on him down in the block. What is scary, on back-to-backs, Nowitzki is sizzling. He is averaging 23.5 points while shooting 58-percent from the floor.
–Feed DuncanThe Spurs will possibly be without LaMarcus Aldridge for the third-straight game. Spurs will need to get Duncan going early. When Duncan does get the ball down-low, he needs to make Nowitzki commit on the defensive end and try and draw fouls against him. Getting Nowitzki out of the game will definitely help Duncan on the offensive end.
–Control the BallIn their game on Monday, the Spurs turned the ball over almost as much as the Phoenix Suns. San Antonio can’t get in a hurry. Their passes have to be crisp and they have to know where they are going to go. There have been times when players get ahead of themselves and turn the ball over. As great of a passing team that they are, Spurs can make little mistakes that can hurt them as well.
–Bench Needs To ProduceThis could be a pretty good evening for the Spurs bench. It has to be. Against the Phoenix Suns, the Spurs second unit were not as crisp as recent games. Be ready for a foot race between the Mavericks JJ Barrea and Spurs’ Patty Mills. These two can go up and down the floor in a blink of an eye. Mills will have to be perfect tonight. Barrea is a good defender and will surely match him with speed.